Over a year ago, I had asked on the Dexterity forums, now the Indie Gamer forums, about health insurance. I was planning on researching the topic, but getting feedback from people who actually deal with the issue would be valuable. What coverage should I expect to need? How much should I expect to pay? What type should I get? I got a number of responses, and someone suggested I go to eHealth Insurance. It’s a great site, and I found my current insurance through it.
Some of the comments were about not getting insurance at all. The thinking was that if I was young, fairly healthy, and almost never go to the doctor’s office, the cost of health insurance would be too much. Others argued that emergencies can cost a lot more, and having to pay a few thousand dollars is preferrable to paying $10,000.
I haven’t had to worry about medical expenses before, but shortly after I was approved for my current insurance plan, I started getting a pain under my jaw. I didn’t know if it was a lymph node or salivary gland, but I did what I always did: drink plenty of water and try to get a good night’s sleep. It didn’t get better, and by the third day the pain was on my right side as well.
I made an appointment with my doctor, went through some hassle to get my insurance ID number as I had not received my insurance cards yet, and discovered I had an infection of some sort involving my tonsils. The doctor prescribed some medicine, and I only had to pay $30 for the visit.
The drug store didn’t take so kindly to the lack of insurance cards and so I had to pay full price. A small bottle of generic brand medicine cost me almost $90. Ouch! It’s a one-time purchase, and so I don’t have to worry about it much afterwards, but I can’t begin to comprehend the costs for people who need regular refills on their prescriptions and don’t have insurance.
If you are contemplating the benefits of health insurance or think that it costs too much with little benefit, I would strongly urge you to reconsider. I’m paying about $65 per month. $780 per year might sound like a lot of money, and people with families can expect to pay a bit less than that amount per month, but it is definitely worth it. Best case scenario is I pay almost $800. Worst-case: $5,000. Still a lot of money, but it is definitely a lot better than having to pay the full cost of emergency rooms, surgery, or doctor visits. Even the healthy people can get into car accidents.