If you were like me in your twenties (or maybe you’re in your twenties now), health insurance was of little use to you. I remember thinking I’d pay the $33 a week deduction from my paycheck just in case, but if they ever raise the price much more I won’t give them a penny more. Coincidentally, I worked for a large bank and they were able to keep premiums at a reasonable level throughout my 6-year career with them. Yet over the years I have paid more (and they have paid much more) than I made. I honestly don’t believe I’ve gone to the doctor more than twice in my six years of group coverage.
When I was 30, I decided I wanted more freedom in my work schedule and instead of selling investments and insurance through the bank, I started selling health insurance myself. I knew I would need health insurance, “just in case,” well, that was now my primary product. However, given my past experiences with health insurance, I was in no rush to get a new policy. After about 2 weeks in my new job I applied for health insurance. This was before Obama Care (ACA) and it usually took 1 to 3 weeks to get approved for new health insurance. About a week after I signed up, I had a terrible accident. All I remember in the ambulance is the doctor asking if I had health insurance. After saying no, they took me to the district hospital where I stayed for 4 and a half days. 2 months later, lost commissions and a $72,000 hospital bill, I was ready to go back to work with a story to warn others of the dangers of not having health insurance. One time I really needed health insurance and I didn’t have it.
I might not have covered my medical bills, but one thing I always tell my clients is how well my accident plan has paid off for me. I had made a $4.80 payment on the policy. Two weeks after I was released from the hospital, I received a check for over $10,000. If my health policy had been approved, I could have paid off my deductible and left several thousand in my pocket to “put food on the table” and pay the daily bills. I am very grateful for the accident policy, but the moral of the story is that a good health plan is something that will pay for both you and the doctor. Don’t wait too long to apply for health insurance, you don’t want any gaps in the coverage.
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Even if you’re just between jobs, waiting for group coverage to kick in or just haven’t been responsible on that front in the past, get something. It doesn’t have to cost much. It can be a $60 high deductible installment plan. I would rather work out payments for a 7,500 deductible term plan than a $72,000 hospital bill. Don’t go a day without health coverage.