Knocked Up

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.

12 thoughts on “Knocked Up

  1. Amen to that. I had my son while we were living in the Czech Republic, and it cost me all of $100 for the 5-day stay. (Private room.) Almost four years (and a return to the U.S.) later, we are “insured” and it would still cost us in excess of $8,000 out of pocket to have a child. That is insane. I’d love to have another baby, but between that and the cost of child care X2, I really don’t know if we can afford it. And that makes me sad.

  2. I know this is totally horrible, but Seth Rogan and Paul Rudd are absolutely amazing when they ask, “Do you know how I know you’re gay…?” while playing video games in 40 YO Virgin.

    That’s when I fell in love.

  3. I think Seth Rogan is very cute too, albeit much too young for me. But I get annoyed that female equivalents to him and Jack Black are nonexistent in movies. You do see them on TV now and then, there was a darling TVM a few years ago with Marisa Jaret Winokur playing a plus-size-and-proud chick who enters a beauty contest to win a honeymoon trip for herself and her hottie fiance.

    But when is Winokur or someone like her going to be given a big-screen movie role, other than being the girl-Greek-chorus sidekick for the Drew Barrymores of the world? Movies are still very much about male fantasy. Still, Knocked Up sounds like it’s better than most, and I do love F&G so I’ll probably see it.

    And the insurance thing is an outrage. I’ve been a benefits slave all my adult life and I hate it, and really envy anyone who doesn’t have to work at anything that’s not her vision. But knowing that as a fat chick I can’t even get private insurance and it doesn’t look likely that I’ll be able to “marry into” health care either given my BF’s situation, makes me think I’ll have to be a sellout my whole damn life. Fuckity fuck fuck fuck.

  4. Eek! I never even thought to check whether my US medical insurance would have covered maternity. I suppose if I’d inadvertently found myself pregnant I would have had to leave my job and go back to the UK. Which is scary enough, but thank your preferred thankee I had that option.

  5. Insurance is absolutely insane in this country. Try this on for size — different shoe, same foot.

    I have a condition that would threaten my life if and only if I became pregnant. But insurance wouldn’t help me to not get pregnant.

    I could not afford insurance through my husband’s employer (the cost of insurance + deductible was more than three times what I spend on health care in a year, and I couldn’t suck that up).

    Because I WAS NOT a parent, I was not eligible for public/state health care to help me manage the OTHER life-threatening condition I live with, that I have to take medication for every day. If not for my doctor giving me free samples and finessing a massive bout of labwork through just before my benefits ended, I would have been in an ugly place.

    Worse, because we DID have jobs and access to insurance, no reputable public-health place would cut us a deal we could afford on birth control so I could not get pregnant and not maybe die.

    I wound up having not a whole lot of sex for a year, and praying not to get sick.

    Insurance hates women, and it hates women who are trying NOT to have kids, too. We ALL get screwed by the system. And it sucks beyond the telling of it.

    The question is, what the hell can we do about it?

    I wound up writing a strongly-worded letter to my husband’s employer protesting the rate hike on their plan, and they lowered it the next year. Yay! Though it was STILL too much for me to afford (because of course, by then I had lots of medical bills to pay off).

    It’s absurd and offensive that insurance doesn’t always pay for childbirth. And equally absurd and offensive that it doesn’t always pay for birth control. And the fact that it’s all so expensive? That’s an outrage. As is the fact that public health care, at least where I live, is so notoriously terrible it’s like the setup for a joke.

    (Here from The Rotund, by the way, and delurking.)

  6. I feel your health insurance pain. My husband and I have been without insurance since moving to a different stat over a year ago. My job right now is temporary so no benefits and all the plans we have checked cost way too much and still have a high deductible. So we figure why give the insurance company $250+/month and still have to pay out of pocket for doctor visits.

    We had a bit of a health scare last week, though, and now are going to look into catastrophic health insurance because we would be seriously fucked if we had to pay for a major procedure.

    Thanks for pointing out the maternity rider, I hadn’t thought about needing to add something like that. At my husband’s last job the plan offered to him didn’t cover maternity either, and this was the basic plan for a family.

  7. And if the insurance isn’t enough to discourage you, let’s talk about the workplace and its ambivalence towards families. I’m afraid to get pregnant because I can’t be sure my job will be here when I get back! Or that my boss won’t decide to hire someone non child-bearing. (hell, he hired my predecessor because she was blonde and thin!)

  8. Count me in as someone else who had no idea that regular insurance policies don’t cover maternity care. Damn, that’s scary. You’d think that all the fundies trying to encourage single women to carry their pregnancies to term wouldn’t allow that, but then again, that would require actually caring about the health of the baby once it’s born.

    Just wanted to throw out two movies where the cool but not hot chick gets the babe of a guy – Muriel’s Wedding and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Of course, they reinforce the standard patriarchal expecation of women in other ways, namely the fact that the word “wedding” is in both titles. And, Muriel was an Australian movie, not Hollywood by any stretch of the imagination. She even ends up DUMPING her hot babe of a hubby, though it takes a lot of interesting personal growth to get to where she understands that being single and happy with herself is preferable to having a trophy husband for the sake of being married.

  9. Er, should have used “not hawt chick” instead of “not hot chick,” as there’s a big difference, as everyone who reads this blog would understand. Sorry about that.

  10. my son and his wife are both musicians, and pay for their insurance. they would love to have another baby, so they also have to have the maternity rider. last month, their ins. premiums went up $72 a month…jason was SO pissed that he wrote this song…turned his anger into art. check it out.

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