Everyday Living, Good Reading, Inane articles, Relationships

What people will do for health insurance …

Before my husband and I were married, he went without health insurance for seven months. He had switched jobs the summer before we got married and although it was anticipation of greater things (more chance of advancement, higher pay, a more stable future, less office politics), it was a temporary to permanent thing that didn’t have benefits attached while my then fiance was in “temporary” status.

At one point prior to this insurance-less limbo, I voiced my fears that after hubby’s COBRA ran out, he would be screwed if something adverse happened to him medically.

“Well, I already had my appendix out,” he’d tease. And yes, that was true. But my husband still had his tonsils, he also has limbs and vital organs. And since I am a worst-case scenarist, I found myself convinced that the next time he walked out the doorway he’d be clipped by a garbage truck, or T-boned by some idiot driver while he was out on the highway or that he would just simply fall off of our ladder and break an arm. A medical catastrophe doesn’t need to be anything fatal … you could sneeze in an ER and be charged a year’s salary.

The day we got married was one of the happiest days of my life. And that Tuesday after our wedding when I signed my newly minted husband onto my health insurance plan marked another happy day – the breath I had been holding for seven months was exhaled in relief.

So when I saw this article in CNN, I had to smile. The gist of the story is that the author and her boyfriend had been living together for eight months, the insurance at his university was prohibitively expensive and since they were straight, they didn’t qualify as a “domestic partnership” under Illinois law, so they got married. And now the boyfriend – now husband – has health insurance.

Now don’t get me wrong … I can see the flaws in this plan and as a somewhat newlywed who still has stars in her eyes after nine months of marriage, I smile wanly and hope for the best for this couple who might find out that it’s cheap to get married, not so much to get divorced. But health insurance … most people can barely afford it, but most of us can’t afford to live without it. What would you do for health insurance?

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3 thoughts on “What people will do for health insurance …

  1. We make health insurance a priority. I was just having a discussion about this last night with dh, since he has a benign brain tumor (Recently diagnosed). I had a young client – about same age – who had a cancerous brain tumor – full insurance coverage – but somewhere along the line there was a mix up and they received over $1 million medical bills!!! Whenever anyone used to say “I’m healthy and I don’t need insurance” I would point out that I drive on California highways everyday. If my family were in an accident – it could be financially devastating. After my client’s experience I have often said – “You never know – you might get a brain tumor tomorrow.” Kind of eery how that has come back to haunt us! But he is perfectly healthy otherwise. Just as my similarly aged client was.

    I think for us, it’s easy. We may pay $15k next year for our private insurance (+ deductible), BUT we have the best/most affordable care available to us (I never settled for the crap offered by my employers), our insurance is not tied to employment, etc., etc. I have been telling myself the last few years that we probably come ahead with 2 pregnancies. BUT, this will probably be about $500k in treatments – so yeah – I’d rather pay the insurance than have a $500k medical bill.

    I am quite sure it is more frustrating for healthy people to pay that bill. But then again, how many people do you know go through life perfectly healthy? Without something like this? We were just talking how my 90-year-old great-aunt who never had a health problem in her life was hit by a car. She might have come out ahead financially by self insuring. But, stuff happens to everyone. Medically, it doesn’t take much to end up financially devastated.

    Sorry so wordy, but a subject that we have talked about a lot recently in my house!

  2. I quit my early retirement and went back to work mostly in order to get affordable health insurance. Even though I retired with insurance benefits, the premium was too high, and my income too low, to sustain it. The economic problems of the past year raised the premium and lowered my income even more. I eventually had to go a few months without any insurance until I found a job.

    Now I’m working full-time AND laid up with a broken ankle. I am so thankful I have insurance!!!!

  3. I used to think if everyone who has medical insurance just married someone who doesn’t that would solve the whole problem but I don’t think there are enough people left with medical insurance to make it work any more.

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