If you were like me in your 20’s (or maybe you’re in your 20’s now) you had little use for health insurance. I remember thinking I’ll pay the $33 a week deduction from my paycheck just in case, but if they ever raise the price much more than that I’m not giving them another dime. It just so happened that I worked for a major bank and they were able to keep premiums pretty level for my whole 6 year career with them. Still I paid in more (and they paid in much much more) over the years than I got out of it. I honestly do not believe that I went 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 was going to sell health insurance on my own. I knew I was going to need health insurance, “just in case”, heck, that was my primary product now. However, given my past experiences with health insurance I was not in any 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 typically took 1 to 3 weeks to get approved for new health insurance. About a week after applying I was in a terrible accident. The only thing I remember in the ambulance is the medic asking if I had health insurance. After saying no they took me to the county 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 start working again with a story to warn others about the dangers of not having health insurance. The one time I really needed health insurance and I didn’t have it.
I may not have had my medical bills covered, but one thing I always mention to my customers is how well my accident plan paid off for me. I had made one payment of $4.80 on the policy. Two weeks after getting out of the hospital I received a check for over $10,000. Had my health policy been approved I would have been able to pay off my deductible and leave several thousand in my pocket to continue to “put food on the table” and pay the everyday bills. I’m very grateful for the accident policy, but the moral of the story is a good health plan is something that will both pay you and the doctor. Don’t wait too long to apply for health coverage, you don’t want any gaps in coverage.
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 a lot. It can be a high deductible $60 term plan. I’d rather have to work out payments for a 7,500 deductible term plan than a $72,000 hospital bill. Don’t go one day without health coverage.