‘Great opportunity’ for young part-timer
Work is part time so there are no benefits, and health insurance is too expensive to purchase.
Who: Jocelyn Sanchez, 25, single
Circumstance: In spring 2012, Jocelyn graduated with a master’s degree in education in school counseling from CUNY Queens College. Shortly after, she left her hometown of New York City and moved to Seattle with her boyfriend.
She has applied for jobs as a guidance or school counselor, but nothing has come together yet. In the meantime, she’s working 55 hours a week as a barista in Shoreline and as a Montessori school assistant in Ballard.
Challenge: Because Jocelyn’s work is part time, neither job has benefits and she can’t afford to buy her own health insurance. When she developed a rash on her hand over the summer, she went to an urgent-care clinic near her home in Ballard. It cost $90 for a roughly five-minute appointment with a doctor who was unable to diagnose the cause and sent her off with a prescription for a $70 steroid ointment. The rash went away, but Jocelyn worries about getting sick with something worse.
Current coverage: For women’s health issues, Jocelyn goes to Planned Parenthood, which offers birth control and routine exams at a discount or even free. For other health care, Jocelyn pays out of pocket. “I don’t know anyone who buys insurance,” she says. “A few of my friends from grad school, they have jobs where they get insurance.”
Options: Despite belonging to the age demographic that historically has been least likely to sign up for health insurance, Jocelyn is eager to get coverage. “It’s a great opportunity for everyone,” she says. Based on Jocelyn’s age and modest income, she would be eligible for more than $80 in tax credits per month.
That would bring a “silver” level health-insurance plan down to about $150 a month, and if she opted for a plan with higher deductibles or co-pays, the plan could cost even less. Another option would be a “catastrophic plan” available only to people under age 30 that covers less care, but kicks in for a health crisis.
— Lisa Stiffler