No, this is not another review of the Judd Apatow movie, although I saw it last night and loved it. If you want to read some great reviews, try here, here, and here. (The last two are full of spoilers.) I would watch Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd in anything, especially anything that involves them calling each other names and trying not to crack up, so I knew I was going to love it just for that. Sara, Melissa, and Amanda pretty much covered the other reasons why I did.
Oh wait, I do have one thing to add: I totally get the objections to yet another fucking movie in which a doofy, immature, unambitious guy who’s only Hollywood average-looking lands a smart, together, stunningly beautiful woman. I’m absolutely waiting to see the movie where a female character who looks like me and is a jobless slob who needs a ton of therapy (okay, let’s just say a female character who IS like me) hooks up with a successful, professional, well-adjusted character played by Paul Rudd — just because she’s so nice to him, and she tries really hard. However, I have trouble hearing the looks-focused version of that argument with regard to Knocked Up, because I think Seth Rogen is completely hot, and he and Katherine Heigl are adorable together. Am I the only one?
Anyway. Believe it or not, this was supposed to be a serious post about health coverage.
So, since I moved back to the States, I’ve been one of the 46 million Americans living without health insurance. Mostly, this has been a matter of laziness on my part. When I was going to DePaul, I could have gotten insurance through the school but just never got around to it, even after I cut my finger on a soup can and was charged $900 for the pleasure of having it stitched up. Even now, I can afford private health insurance — although it will sting — but I still haven’t gotten to it. I’ve just gone to Planned Parenthood for birth control and well woman exams, paid for my own dental cleanings, and ignored the fact that I’m about 2 years overdue for a physical. Apart from laziness, the two main reasons I haven’t gotten insurance yet are 1) I furiously fucking resent the fact that I have to, after living in Canada for most of my adult life, and 2) to be able to afford private insurance, I’ll have to take a deductible so high that I’ll end up paying for $900 ER visits anyway.
But if I’m in an accident or my appendix bursts or I’m diagnosed with a chronic disease, I’m fucked. I need insurance. So yesterday, I started looking into getting some.
Before I started comparing quotes, I read an article on what I should be looking for in an insurance package. And that article recommended something that wouldn’t have occurred to me otherwise: a maternity rider. I’m not planning to have kids any time soon, and if I ever do plan to have them, it will most likely be after I’m married to Al (if all continues to go well), at which point I can be added to his insurance. But at the same time, I’m a 32-year-old, sexually active woman, and accidents happen. And I’m pretty sure that at this point in my life, if an accident happened (please please please no no no), I would keep the baby. Which means I’d be on the hook for pre- and post-natal care, delivery, and the post-delivery hospital stay, at the very least; if there were complications, who knows how much I’d owe? (Note that well baby care is included in most standard packages, because obviously, the health of the baby is paramount, and the health of the mother has absolutely nothing to do with that.) So, among the many, many reasons why I’d rather not get knocked up, I can’t fucking afford it. And I literally never thought about that before yesterday.
So when I get insurance, I’m going to want a maternity rider — naturally, maternity coverage doesn’t come standard, even in the most comprehensive packages. Know why? IT DOUBLES THE FUCKING COST. I mean, it doesn’t have to — if you’re willing to take a $10,000 deductible. But if you actually want to be, you know, covered, you’re looking at paying twice as much for insurance as a man of your age and health.
I feel like a complete idiot — and a ridiculously privileged one — for never having realized or considered this before, especially after having just attended two reproductive justice conferences. I knew insurance was ungodly expensive, I knew millions of women were uninsured, I knew this was a huge problem… but I just didn’t process the real magnitude of it. Because, I’m ashamed to admit, I didn’t have to. Or at least, I thought I didn’t have to. I’m a middle-class white woman with savings and a reliable partner who’s got a great job, and not only would I be well and truly fucked if I got pregnant right now, but getting the insurance to avoid becoming well and truly fucked will be a significant financial burden on me. And I am a very fortunate person, even among fortunate people. WHAT THE FUCK?
I was already completely in favor of universal health coverage — even being well-acquainted with the limitations of it — but if there were no other argument for it, pregnancy would be enough of one. I honestly just had no fucking idea that insurance costs twice as much if you’re a woman of childbearing age and would rather not remain abstinent or be forced into having an abortion because you simply can’t afford to be pregnant, let alone raise a child. Again, I feel like an idiot admitting I didn’t realize that, but… TWICE AS MUCH.
And that’s on top of the fact that, if I hadn’t read that article, I would have just gotten myself a “comprehensive plan” and not realized it didn’t cover maternity. Because how could it not cover maternity? How is that even possible?
Man, I’m dumb and privileged and Canadian sometimes.
And now I’m dumb and privileged and Canadian and pissed.