The fact is that although nearly 250 million Americans do have health insurance, according to a monthly survey of about 50,000 households done by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau, an estimated 46 million Americans do not.
Listed below you’ll find arguments for not having health insurance that I hear on a regular basis. As a broker, I’ve provided a reality check for individuals to consider before making their final decision.
1. It costs too much.
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The reality: Should a catastrophic illness or injury occur, it would likely bankrupt most people who do not have health insurance. It’s the terrible fact of life in 2009. Medical care is incredibly expensive, and employers are increasingly less likely to be able to support an injured or ill employee. So if something happens to you, and you have not saved enough money to support yourself if you are unable to work, odds are good that you will be in debt for astronomic health care bills and, unfortunately, many of us would be hard pressed to ever climb out of that financial hole. Don’t be scared. Just think long and hard about that.
2. It does not cover all of the health care needs that I have now, or might have in the future
The reality: The truth of the matter is that a good health insurance broker can usually find a policy that covers most every medical problem that is likely to arise. There are also resources that can be used to supplement your plan. For instance, if you need discount drugs, it is possible to fill your prescription at Wal-Mart or in Canada. Need a flu shot? You can get one at your local pharmacy. My mother always told me, “where there is a will, there is a way.” I believe that to my core. You just need to be clever and work at solving your own problems.
3. The drug benefit is insufficient on most health care plans.
The reality: See above. And do remember, you are your own best health care advocate. The health insurance plans cover many things, but you need to do some legwork to get everything you want and need for your own care.
4. The process of finding the right health insurance is too complicated.
The reality: Honestly, it really is not. Think about the old adage — “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” The same applies to health insurance. People think that the process of understanding a policy is just too difficult, so they tend to shut down before they even try to take the time to comprehend it. Don’t give up too soon.
5. I have a specific health issue that was not covered satisfactorily in the past, so I’m not inclined to buy health insurance again.
The reality: Please realize that not all policies are the same. There is definitely one that is right for each individual. Plus, there are often state-run programs that can address most insurance needs. If you had an issue it is likely that someone else did too, so take solace in the fact that you are not alone.
6. I am healthy and do not need health insurance today.
The reality: That’s true. Until, of course, you do need it. You will. You are human. Humans get sick and often need to see a doctor. So please, do not be stupid. Protect yourself against what is more than likely to come. In the case of a catastrophic incident, this ignorant assumption cannot be undone.
7. Obama will help me get free insurance.
The reality: I cannot believe how many times I have heard this in the last few months. I am the first to admit that President Obama is doing his best, but please stay grounded in the facts. The U.S. government is not going to give everyone a free health insurance policy. Unless you are very poor, forget this as an option. Take care of yourself today and buy an affordable health insurance policy.
8. I want to wait until health insurance is cheaper.
Having been in this industry for more than two decades I can speak from experience that health insurance companies are not in business to help you. Insurance is not going to get any cheaper — at least, not any time soon. It is heretic to admit, but insurance companies do not make billions for their shareholders by helping the little guy. We are easy targets. We have no lobbying power, and they know it.
The bottom line: Be smart. Buy a health insurance policy that will at least cover you in case of a catastrophic event. Health Savings Plans are a good option, and more solutions are coming on the market. The bottom line is that if you take care of yourself, you won’t regret it.
Stephanie Cohen blogs regularly at Disruptive Women in Health Care.