COLUMBIA – When Amy Crousore decided to become a full-time musician 3 years ago, she never imagined a pandemic would dry up her business.
Now, 8 months into the global health crisis, Crousore is reflecting on the struggles of the gig industry.
“Everything shut down and there was just no back up for us,” she said.
She said many of her colleagues were already taking day jobs before the pandemic just so they could receive health insurance.
Crousore has also taken up a job as a caretaker to make ends meet until venues reopen.
“We compared about 12 different healthcare plans,” she said. “I considered whether I would have to take a loan to pay for a more expensive plan.”
Health insurance is a headache Jason Gruender and Jen Wheeler know well.
Gruender manages Liberty Family Medicine with his wife, a doctor.
Wheeler manages Big Tree Medical Home with her husband, also a doctor.
Both clinics operate through unconventional business models that are less reliant on traditional insurance plans. Instead, you pay for a membership or one-time fees.
“We believe in our model, and it’s working well across the nation, and it’s working well here in Columbia,” Wheeler said.
Gruender is also confident in his clinic.
“I think we have a broken health care system,” he said. “The clinic is not a complete solution to that problem, but it’s a step in the right direction.”
As the world navigates a pandemic, the path to affordable health care has been riddled with troubles.
Crousore worries necessities like health care will alter the landscape of the music industry.
“Do you want there to be nobody you can call to play for your wedding because everybody is working 40 hours a week to get insurance,” Crousore asked. “What kind of world do you want?”
Gruender and Wheeler also said choosing a health insurance plan is an important decision that should be given lots of thought.
Enrollment through the Affordable Care Act is open right now and closes Dec. 15. There are other enrollment periods for special life events, such as getting married.