Well……a few reasons. For the past 8 months or so, we’ve been waiting for word when the hospital will close. Finally a couple of weeks ago we found out that our last day will be on July 3, 2018. A few of my coworkers have found new jobs, while some are still hunting. As for me, I applied for a position of records clerk earlier this year which I thought was in one of Long Beach Memorial Medical Center’s units, but which turned out to be the OB/GYN clinic! It was only when I set up an appointment for an interview when I found out about it. But I went to the interview anyway and despite communicating well with the Nurse Manager and a couple of the Medical Assistants, I didn’t get a call back. I guess I wasn’t a good fit for them. If I was hired, it would have meant getting up so early in the morning again and going to work 5 days a week. Somehow my body doesn’t function well during day shifts anymore after having worked nights for more than 30 years. So in a way, it’s good I wasn’t hired.
That was the only job I applied for and right now my strategy is to wait until the company kicks us out on July 3rd, then look at my options. California now has a 4.2% unemployment rate which means there are a lot of jobs available. So why haven’t I applied for anything yet? If I applied now and got accepted by another company, they may require me to start as soon as possible. After all no company in their right mind would be so accommodating and wait till July 3rd when they need someone who can start right away.
There are a few reasons and incentives for waiting to find another job. If I stay till July 3rd, the hospital will pay us an extra 20% for all hours worked since last November, and we will get severance pay equal to one week’s pay for every year of employment in the hospital, which for me would be 3 years. Besides, I have also accumulated more than 330 hours of vacation time. With that, I should be able to survive for a couple of months.
My main concern is losing medical and dental insurance coverage which come with a full time job. When I got laid off 4 years ago, at least I qualified for Medicaid under the newly started Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), because I met the income guidelines. That meant that I didn’t earn more than $16,000 that year. This year the income guidelines say that I cannot earn more than $16,395 (which is 138% of the federal poverty level) so I can qualify for Medicaid. With all the incentives and vacation time I’m accruing from my current job, I don’t foresee myself qualifying for Medicaid.
So my only option is to buy my own medical and dental insurance from Covered California, which is the government entity administering Obamacare in California. I’ll have to do that while job hunting after July 3rd. On July 3rd, it would be 3 years and 11 months before I qualify for Medicare.
Another downside is that I can’t plan for any vacations this year and most likely, I’ll deal with that before applying for any job.
The main strategy now is not to get fired before the hospital closes. In the meantime, I’ve been practicing saying “Welcome to McDonald’s, may I take your order?”