'Diana,' (real name withheld) is a middle aged mother living in a major Midwest city with a grown son. She recently lost her health coverage and made a choice that might surprise you- she got married for the health insurance. Below is our interview with her:
HeadCount: So, you had good healthcare, but you lost it and then were looking for an alternative plan. What factors did you consider in making your decision?
Diana: Cost was a major consideration. I spoke with an insurance broker and after doing the math, the best we could do was $10,000 per year for health care – and that did not include dental coverage. This was not affordable to me.
I was lucky in that I found a job very quickly after my termination but my new position did not include health benefits.
What did you end up deciding?
I was lucky enough to have some very good friends who offered to marry me so that I could utilize their health insurance as “spouse.” This started to look like a viable option since I did not want to spend $10k per year on healthcare premiums.
I had to look at the policies that each person “proposing marriage” had to offer and how much each would cost. One of them came close to the $700 per month figure that I was already contemplating so that choice made little sense.
The other plan included a good medical plan, a dental plan and a prescription drug card for a mere $140 per month. It didn’t seem like much of a choice when comparing the costs involved.
So, you decided to marry the second friend. How did the decision mesh with your morals and values?
It didn’t. I always taught my son to “fight the system from within the system” – meaning – don’t break the law, don’t bend the rules. Join the establishment and fight for new laws and new rules.
I have never been and never wanted to be a hypocrite. I am who I am and I take full responsibility for my choices and my actions. I am an extraordinarily honest person who believes that honestly IS the best policy. The idea of a marriage of convenience went against all of my principles. I don’t believe in marriage. I have been married several times and it didn’t work for me. Now I was agreeing to get married, which I loathed to do so that I could buck the system and be granted “the right” to affordable health care!
Did it impact anyone in your life?
Frankly, probably no one but myself. Either friend I chose understood that it was to be a marriage of convenience only. It impacted me because I would rather not have participated in this type of hypocrisy just to insure my physical well-being.
How would things have been different if you just would have had healthcare?
I most definitely would NOT have gotten married.
Overall, what is it like to go outside the box to get your healthcare needs met?
It’s lousy and I feel like a fraud. I’m reassured by many of my friends that I’m doing nothing wrong. I couldn’t get what I needed in health care coverage by conventionally agreeing to purchase it. Therefore, I did what I had to do to make sure that my needs were met. Basic survival. In a country like the United States, it’s sinful that health care coverage isn’t considered a “right” like “freedom of speech”.