Tuesday this upcoming week is a big day for my eyesight, my aching elbow, my colon—the colonoscopy may now be just around the corner, oh joy!—and maybe even my left front tooth, which could use a fix on the bad ceramic job performed fifteen years ago. The California Health Exchange finally goes on line, and I‘ll get a chance to see how much I have to fork out to get me and my daughter covered.
As a part-time faculty at a California Community College, my own health care has been spotty over the years. My current community college offers to pay the percentage of a premium equal to the equivalence of my workload. In other words, they will pay about sixty percent of a premium on me because I work there sixty percent of a full course load. But they offer nothing for my daughter. Between the two of us and with the college’s help, decent coverage in the past would have worked out to around eight hundred dollars a month. Too much for my meager budget. And since I am one of those in that lucky space where I make too much to qualify for state assistance and too little to actually pay for coverage on my own, I have tended to rely on catastrophic health care policies to get by.
Fellow part-timers have pointed out that we work full-time for the state of California, even though we are part-time in particular districts. So why not buck up and offer full coverage? This makes sense to me, but of course the whole point of limiting our workload is to keep us from getting benefits, right? It’s not the sort of inspiring leadership one would hope for from a state with the twelfth largest economy in the world. But who said we should expect inspiration from government?
Some of this may change on Tuesday. But it still feels like the people who are making the least are paying the most (e.g., me). In the meantime, I am hearing rumors about some community college districts offering better plans than others. Maybe I’ll make the switch to a different district. Maybe the CPFA might even keep a list of districts that ranks them according to the benefits they offer. Maybe part-timers can play the capitalist game too.
About Dennis Selder
Dennis Selder teaches English as a contingent faculty member at Southwestern College and Cuyamaca College in San Diego. He tweets @erasmusonline (in honor of the great rhetorician Erasmus). He believes Joan Rivers’ latest round of face-lifts deserve praise as high art, and he thinks that the most advanced life form on the planet is probably a Shih tzu
You can follow Dennis Selder on twitter at @erasmusonline