From My Experience During Last Month – Why You Need Health Insurance.

Trust me on this, if you are not carrying health insurance of any kind, you are playing a very dangerous game. Most of us go through life not thinking anything could ever happen to us; I think it is a coping mechanism of the human spirit because if we worried about everything that COULD happen we would never leave the house. But leaving that alone for a second, anything could happen to you at any time – and you better have health insurance to help you cope. The reason I am writing this is because of a personal experience I am going through right now – I am 35 years old and from the outside, a very healthy guy. I am thin, I eat organic food, I barely ever eat fast food, I don’t smoke, I barely drink – in all appearances you would think that my health is good. However, in the last month or so I have been undergoing all sorts of exams, blood tests, CT scans, etc. – all in an effort to see why the platelets in my blood and bone marrow are dangerously low. The bad news? It could be some sort of cancer or leukemia, we don’t know yet. We are now waiting on some DNA /genetic blood tests to come back. The good news? It might just be some hereditary issue that can be taken care of with drugs and or time. But either way, there is something wrong…but you would never know it from looking at me. It is looking more and more like it is not a cancer issue and rather something else, but until we know for sure we have to keep looking.

Now on to the health insurance aspect. If I did not have health insurance, I would owe doctors, labs and hospitals over $13,000 at this point…and we have not even started any treatment (if i need any) yet. That’s a lot of money to come up with. The amount of paperwork and bills coming in the door is astounding, as I get letters every day from some lab or Blue Cross that I dread opening. But seriously – if I did not have insurance I would have had to shell out over $2,000 for an ultrasound last month…and instead I have to pay $200. And although I have always hated paying for health insurance as I felt like I was healthy, now I know that nothing could be outwardly wrong with you when your insides are “sick”. I feel fine, luckily…I just spend a lot of time at the doctor, that’s all. Between doctors and my job, there has been less time for blogging lately, but I do my best to try to keep up. If I let all this get to me I probably would not be doing much of anything!

I don’t write this post for sympathy of any kind – I write it to tell you, the reader – if you do not have health insurance, you need to get it now. Just because you are young and seemingly healthy it does not mean that things cannot change at the drop of a hat. Get yourself a high deductible or catastrophic policy if you cannot afford a regular one…but get yourself something. Trust me, you might need it someday even if you think you won’t.

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Comments (26)

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  1. I’m so glad it’s looking like it’s not cancer. I’ve been wondering how you were doing.

    You’re right on about needing insurance. We’ve been without for almost 9 months now. We’ve tried and tried to get insurance, but insurance companies will not cover me, due to migraines that I treat with over-the-counter medicine. My daughter can’t get covered, because a psychologist said he “thought” she might have ADD. Ridiculous.

    Anyway, we’re still working on it, and if all else fails, we’ll be eligible for insurance through my husband’s job in 88 days. It scares me to live on the edge like this.

  2. Clare says:

    I was without coverage for one month last year and it was the most frightening 4-5 weeks of my life. Knowing that I was one bad car accident or unhappy appendix away from utter financial ruin (despite all frugal practices) was just awful.

    But at least it made me a careful driver 😉

  3. david says:

    Thanks Lynnae, we shall see! And can you at least get catastrophe insurance in the meantime?

  4. […] My Two Dollars reminds us of the importance of health insurance. […]

  5. guinness416 says:

    David, I’m sorry you’re going through this and hope it’s resolved soon. You’re dead right – the last thing you want to worry about when dealing with health issues is the stress of paying an extra bill, let alone the huge bills medical care generates. While no health system anywhere is perfect, I will say that after a few years living in the States we are very grateful to now have to worry about healthcare only as a service-related stress, rather than a work-related stress. The freedom I feel is quite remarkable.

  6. You’re absolutely right, David! Health insurance is critical. Even if you are generally healthy and want to minimize your costs because you rarely go to the doctor, you should at least have a high-deductible plan for situations like you describe, unexpected problems that turn out to be serious. I’m sorry you’re going through what must be a tough situation, and I hope you get a diagnosis soon and that you’re feeling 100% in no time!

  7. It’s a very sobering thing. I talked with someone from eastern Montana who just dropped their health insurance and then their 16 year-old rolled their car and 50k later he was better.

    Even if you go with a high deductible of 5 or 10k it will protect you from huge loss.

  8. tranquil says:

    You are right about getting at least a high deductible or catastrophic policy, and many assume all health insurance is expensive, but these are much better priced, and something everyone without health insurance should look into.

  9. Two Nickels says:

    I’ve been paying for my own insurance for the past four months and still have a month to go before my employer’s insurance kicks in. While I could have saved $500 by not being insured, I couldn’t be comfortable without any coverage. Just the thought of hurting my wrist (recurring ganglion cyst) or a knee injury (chronic knee pain) when I start running (if ever) is too much to deal with while waiting for my employer’s insurance to kick in.

  10. forHealth says:

    It would be nice to have health insurance. I am self-employed so that means a private plan. Guess what? The insurance company won’t take my money. They denied me for taking an infertility medication over four years ago, despite my general good health. I have no other affordable option. I now set aside a monthly “premium” in a savings account. It is all I can do.

  11. Kelly says:

    I’m glad to haer that it’s probably not serious. I’m an American, living in France, and I think the state of the US medical and insurance situation is shocking. Needing to pay 13,000$ if you didn’t have insurance? Scandalous.
    I’m not saying that the French system is perfect, and we do pay a lot of money for it, through employer contributions and pretax payroll deductions, but I haven’t paid a cent for any of my three childbirths, nor the pre or postnatal care. When I go to the MD, it costs 27€, and I’m almost 100% reimboursed. And it’s the same for all, whether you’re poor or not.
    This needs to be a huge issue in the campaign- we have to find a solution. I remember (as a single, healthy student) choosing to go without insurance. Well, I was lucky, I didn’t need it- instead I got 60 000$ in student loans! (sorry for the digression).

  12. oaidtwice says:

    I’m glad to hear the diagnosis is leaning away from cancer and I hope that you continue to get good news!!

  13. Patrick says:

    David, I’m glad to hear that it may not be cancer. I hope the doctors are able to determine the cause and you can defeat this quickly.

  14. […] Last up is one of my favorites. My Two Dollars outlines the financial risk of being without health insurance. […]

  15. david says:

    Thanks guys, I appreciate the concern!

  16. […] capable of taking care of ourselves on our own. But health insurance is a huge priority, and I recently wrote about my personal experience with needing and using it – and saving myself thousands of dollars in medical care. Even if all you […]

  17. Rosa says:

    I, too, am going through this exact same issue. I hope it’s not lukemia. Mine has turned out to be ITP (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idiopathic_thrombocytopenic_purpura)…no known cause. I am very grateful I have insurance – on blood draws alone I’ve racked up quite a bit.

    Best of luck to you!!

  18. david says:

    That’s what it is looking like Rosa, thanks for the kind words, and best of luck to you as well!

  19. Tina Benitez says:

    Hoping the best for you. I got insured in January of ’07 had to have a bunch of test done on a huge cyst, surgery (wasn’t cancer) in March, The after insurance bills hurt but I couldn’t imagine what they would be without. Then in May my 11 yr. old broke his arm and had to have surgery! The second surgery would have sunk us for sure financially. Yes, get insurance.

  20. […] From My Experience During Last Month – Why You Need Health Insurance. | My Two Dollars […]

  21. […] wrote a little while ago about why I was so glad I had health insurance because I was undergoing all sorts of tests for what […]

  22. […] of tests I had been getting are astronomical. I thought the bills were bad back when I wrote about being thankful for having insurance, but that was only the beginning – before the really expensive tests started. It’s not so […]

  23. Laura says:

    It’s not always that easy – I’ve applied to 4 different carriers and also have low platelets …. I have a condition called ITP – nowhere near the danger zone, requiring no treatment, I only have to monitor my platelets every 6 months. I agree, everyone NEEDS health insurance. But, because this system is so twisted and broken, those of us who really need it are denied.

  24. David says:

    Of course it’s not that easy, but the point is that everyone who should get it, should get it. Some people don’t carry insurance because they think they are healthy, but that can change in the blink of an eye.

  25. […] *This is a great post that shows what it’s like in the US for healthcare. Share and Enjoy: […]

  26. DebraM says:

    I have been dealing with ITP for 4 years. Being a student at USF i can have it monitored but I do not have health care and because they have no clue what the problem could be it can get frustrating. Being a massage therapist I have looked into programs for insurance but at the same time other than a couple hospital visits being a student I am mostly ok with paying a few hundred dollars once or twice a year versus monthly for a pre-existing condition when I dont make enough money to pay the insurance plus a copay.
    It will be interesting.
    Best of luck that everything has worked out!