As some of you may know, I recently quit my job in San Francisco to pursue personal projects, freedom (sort of) from our collective capitalist nightmare, and self-determination. But I’ll write more on that later. This post is about dealing with health care as an independent software developer in the United States.
Because I left my employer, in the US, that means I no longer have the privilege of being easily insured. The quality of and ease of access to your health insurance is directly proportional to your economic output, what a novel idea. There’s COBRA, which continues the insurance you had from your employer for 18 months. But that would have cost nearly $800 per month for me. That’s absurd — but especially considering I’m no longer employed. I don’t understand how any normal person in this country could afford this.
I went through the process of applying for insurance through the Affordable Care Act (“ObamaCare”) via Covered California. Aside from being a dumpster fire of bureaucracy, that process was mostly straight-forward. Now I’m covered.
Here’s what’s ridiculous though — when you apply for health insurance online through the state, they need to verify your identity, which seems reasonable — but they do that through the predatory credit reporting agencies like Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. Yes, that Equifax, the one that had a fucking data breach that affected 143 million people. (To be clear, this is only identity verification, not a query into your credit worthiness.)
These credit reporting agencies are the definition of scum. They mine and collect troves of data, personal and financial, surreptitiously and non-consensually. And then they are too incompetent and irresponsible to protect it. But I digress, just follow those links above.
The point is, the US government uses these shitty agencies to verify your identity when you apply for health insurance online. And the only reason I know this is because after the Equifax disaster, I froze all of my credit reports permanently. Covered California was unable to automatically verify my identity, so someone had to call me instead to verify my identity over the phone. That is how I discovered this. If my reports had not been frozen, this verification would have happened behind the scenes.
This is absolutely ridiculous to me. The government should have the ability to automatically verify your identity online without having to use these predatory agencies. Yet, here we are. The corruption-affair between neoliberal capitalist democracy and the American corporation is far-reaching.