top of page

Former Small Business Owner, age 55 (aka The Sweater)

Theresa BrownGold's painting "Small Business Owner Health Insurance" for her art project, Art As Social Inquiry.

(Interview 2009. il on canvas 40 ins. x30 ins.)

Update 2021

I value this painting as a marker in this painter's development. There are elements to it that work for me. I can see how the marks coming off the brushes are gruff. That's not necessarily a bad thing. I added the flowers later. I always felt the painting needed something.

In all of my early paintings, I relied on instinct and grit to tease out a painting's heart. Today, I no longer feel like I'm in a free-fall trying to snatch a piece of the sitter's soul to implant into the painting. I am familiar with the dance steps that move me from seeing and feeling to an image on the canvas. I will get what I want even if I don't know what that is when I start out. And I won't stop until have it even if I have to start over 25 times. There is peace in knowing the outcome before I start.

The portrait story below is very short. I did not know enough yet to understand my circumstances in the greater context of how access to care works (or doesn't) in the US.

In my 2017 Artist Note I start to suss out what was going on with our insurance. I offer more details here.

We organized our business as an "S Corporation." This meant that my husband and I were owners but also considered employees because we were hands-on in running the business. The employee designation still would not have helped us get health insurance coverage through COBRA, a law that gives employees the right to buy insurance through their employers' health plans even after leaving their jobs.

We cancelled our group health insurance plan when we sold our business. The buyer bought our business assets. He was was not continuing our business operations that included our group health plan. The COBRA provision that would have allowed us to keep our group health plan as employees ended when we terminated our business's group policy.

Sometimes I think we survive on pure luck. Did we sell the business and have insurance coverage until the end of the month in which the sale occurred? Did I really not have insurance coverage lined up before we sold? I don't remember. Knowing what I know now, I would NOT have made a move in any direction without a health insurance policy in place.

I wanted to explore painting the sweater's pattern.

Artist’s Note (3/2017)

The easiest model to book is one's self. I painted this portrait of myself in 2009. I had a health insurance story to tell.

After my business partner/husband and I sold our business, we terminated our group health insurance plan.

We had no business around which to form a group of employees for insurance purposes.

My husband and I were individuals in need of health insurance coverage.

I honestly do not remember what we did. We did not get into an employer group plan until 5 months later when my husband got a job with health benefits.

We must have bought individual policies. This was a time when an insurer could look at an individual's health history before deciding to sell her a single health insurance policy. It's called medical underwriting. The Affordable Care Act banned this practice.

We never had any claims other than the odd accident or check-up. If we had had a serious medical problem or chronic condition, we would have had preexisting conditions, and been charged more or denied coverage by the insurance companies. Insurance changes the course of one’s life. In my family’s case, we were able to move into the next phase of our lives because we were healthy and insurable.


(from 2009)

Former Small Business Owner, age 55 (aka The Sweater)

Group coverage will end with the corporation’s dissolution. The subject is searching for an alternative to the group health plan she enjoyed as a business owner.

A self-portrait I did in art school


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page