I do not have health insurance. In fact, I have not had health insurance for exactly one year. (Yes, I did apply once, but in Colorado where I no longer live) Why? Because insurance companies would not let me buy it from them due to me having had skin cancer in the past. I did have insurance when I was married through my wife’s work, and I always had it through my previous employees, but now that I am self-employed and with a pre-existing condition, I go without health insurance. I have paid through the nose for small surgeries and usually visit health clinics for smaller issues, and will be applying for the new California pre-existing condition health plan (unless Republicans in Congress repeal it, which I hope for my sake and others they don’t) starting next month. But for the past 12 months, I have been without health insurance — not by choice, mind you — and it’s quite scary. Before I found out that a plan will be in place for people like me, I had been trying to come up with ways to get insurance, and one of those ways included finding a small part-time job that offers insurance.
One of the companies I hear mentioned most often by those looking for health insurance is Starbucks. Starbucks offers benefits for employees and dependents alike, including domestic partners of the same sex and unmarried heterosexual couples. Employees (or Partners, as Starbucks calls them) are eligible for these benefits as long as they are paid a for a minimum of 240 hours of work in each calendar quarter. That’s 80 hours a month, which is definitely a part-time job, and believe me I have considered it several times. Granted I would have been about 15 years older than their average employee is, but being without insurance is a little unnerving. Due to some circumstances and two moves, I never applied for a job there, but it is a good place to look if you are in need of insurance and a part-time job. Plus, I think you get some free coffee if I am not mistaken.
Starbucks is not alone in offering insurance to part-timers though. Barnes & Noble, UPS, Whole Foods, Target, Trader Joe’s, IKEA and REI are just a few other companies offering pretty decent benefit packages to part-time employees. (I would love to work at REI, personally) While the eligibility requirements are different for each, most companies require a minimum amount of hours each month and a waiting period before benefits go into effect. For self-employed people like myself who probably have some hours every week they could work at an extra job, the benefits could be quite valuable – especially if you either cannot afford private insurance or have a pre-existing condition.
So, this leads me to you guys; do you work at an extra part-time job just for the health insurance? If your main source of income doesn’t offer insurance in some form, how do you get it? Maybe some of your tips/ideas will help others get the insurance they need. Or do you go without? With over 40 million Americans without insurance, it wouldn’t surprise me if several readers have to go without due to a pre-existing condition or some other reason. Let us all know in the comments!
photo credit: D. Sharon Pruitt