Monday, July 07, 2008


Boy, I wish I was rich again. In the past few weeks I took the time between Stargate SG-1 episodes and did some number crunching. Unless we keep getting little presents like the one from Uncle Sam a few months ago, we're going to be spending about $100 more than we take in each month. Getting a raise from Yoyodyne doesn't seem likely, and for various reasons I'm reluctant to go out searching for a different employer. I thought about trying to get a second job to make up the shortfall, but when I mentioned the idea to Noodles, she nixed it in no uncertain terms. Um, perhaps I should instead say that she strongly requested that I not pursue that course of action, lest I give you the impression that I'm not lord and master of my household or something like that.

Then today I had to deal with another low-income irritation. Ever since coming back home, we've been taking advantage of the health insurance that Washington State offers. It seems like what we save in dollars and cents we make up for in paperwork. Like a good steward of the taxpayers' money, the folks at Basic Health insist that we document our income in order to prove our need for assistance. That might work fine for a lot of folks, but it seems like the system wasn't designed for us. The requirement is that, if we have a significant change in monthly income, we document the change and send it in to them. Well, when we applied for Basic Health, we were unemployed, though receiving a rental income. Then I got a job and the renters moved out. Then Noodles got a one time writing assignment. Then Noodles got a part time music teaching gig. A few months later, after we began to realize that my salary wasn't cutting it, she managed to rouse up a second client for her music class. Each time that meant I needed to send in an income adjustment form. What fun!

But it appears that Basic Health was doing their own number crunching. In December, they announced that we were making too much money and no longer qualified for the program. I booted up Quicken and ran the reports. Much as I would have liked to have made too much money, we hadn't. So I sent my data in and they cancelled our cancellation. The other day, I got another notice that we were too rich for the program. Once again I did the math and once again I found out that we were as poor as I thought. This time, however, Noodles called down to Olympia and talked to a real, live, somewhat snippy human being. According to her, the folks down there were using last year's tax return for their calculations. By figuring in our rental and Noodles' writing income, we would be making too much money to qualify. So now I'm sending another note explaining why they shouldn't cancel our health insurance. But this time I'm light on the documentation. I mean, how do you document that we're not making money?

Part of me longs to just do without health insurance. The rationale goes, "Hey, we're poor*, so lets just live like poor people do." But then all I have to do is think about the friends who've had to deal with catastrophic illnesses and I know that paying off the insurance man is worth whatever scrimping and saving we might have to do. Ah, well. At least blogging's free.
*I use this term jokingly. I don't think we're close to real poverty, even by American standards.

Labels: , , ,