Kit is a successful software developer and landed a corporate job with good pay and health benefits right out of college. Despite her gratitude for her position, Kit has found herself curious about exploring other employment options that more align with her values and creative strengths. In one instance, a start-up company approached her wanting to hire her. Kit was excited by the prospect and considered taking the position but when she sat down to weigh out the benefits and risks of changing employment, she had to stay in her current position.
“The start-up, while exciting, was unable to provide health insurance. Kit states that she didn’t have a large savings account and can’t afford marketplace insurance without a job. So if she were to take this position and the company went under, as is common among start ups, she would have had to move to Illinois where they expanded Medicaid.”
. Kit turned down the position because as she says, “I need to know if things go sideways, I have health insurance no matter what”.
Despite making conservative employment choices for herself, Kit lost her job in a downsizing effort and found herself unemployed from February-April 2020. Kit has asthma and luckily had refilled her three-month asthma medication right before she lost her job. Still, Kit had to miss a preventative health checkup during this time which caused her unease. During her brief unemployment, Kit applied for the marketplace but her paperwork got lost in the mail and she was unable to enroll. Fortunately, Kit found another job before she ran out of asthma medication which would have been about $225 per month without insurance.
Kit is living the reality of what it means for health care to be dependent on employment. If this was not the case, Kit states her life and career would be totally different. She dreams of developing her own app and would freelance or work with more innovative companies if her health care was secure outside of employment. As Kit states, “the state of American health care stifles creativity”. Because of the current state of our health care system, Kit does not know if or when she will be able to branch out and pursue the career she truly wants.