October 23, 2007

Health Insurance

When I turned 23 in February, I was booted from my parents health insurance coverage. In those 23 years, I mooched off dad's insurance as I battled chicken pox, numerous colds, allergies, several bouts with bronchitis, a spat with scarlet fever, an outpatient sinus thing, and zero broken bones. (Actually, I think I broke my coccyx falling off a trampoline in the sixth grade, but it never got treated. Still sore. It's probably out of whack, growing into a tail or something, but I'll deal with that when I'm sixty.) In the eight months since then, I've lived a care-free insurance-free life. There are good things and bad things about this.

1. For starters, I don't have any dental coverage. This means I don't have to go to the dentist. I hate the dentist. Actually, I like my dentist. He's a righteous dude. I just don't like the several minutes I spend with his assistant beforehand. Always asking you questions with their fingers in your mouth while they stab your gums... I digress.

2. The second and final pro is that I'm not having money garnished from my paycheck. This means more money for thrilling, life-threatening, and all around bad-for-health activities like skydiving and smoking (I've devoted equal amounts of money and time to each), and less money wasted on keeping myself alive and kicking.

I guess now that you mention it (and you did, I heard you), both of those are cons. My teeth, I assume, are slowly decaying into near-british disarray, and I don't have any funds to keep myself out of debt while I battle sprained ankles and lung cancer (You know, from the skydiving and smoking, sometimes simultaneously.) I'm just a bad dive away from a life of debt. Or a car accident. There are a lot of bad drivers out there.

And so it goes that I'm on the hunt for health coverage, and I have some sympathies for anyone who goes through this process. It's not fun. The system isn't set up for you to understand it. The system is set up for, well, the system to understand it.

I'm in the position where I have asthma prescriptions that run at least $100 a month. (That's cable, internet, and phone service with the Comcast Triple Play! But only for a year. This is a whole different rant - or is it?) And so I'm trying to find a way to get prescriptions covered. This, I'm discovering, isn't an economical possibility.

They ask you questions - you a dude? You sick? You smoke? (I really don't, so don't go telling your parents or mine that I do) Ever had malaria? Ever dated someone with malaria? Any cousins with Scoliosis? That kind of thing. Every time you say yes, you'll pay another $10 a month. They need to make money, and you being sick all the time isn't going to help that. Sorry guys, insurance companies aren't there to help you, they exist to make money. Which is why they have a deductible. Your deductible is basically the number where the insurance company says, "Well, we've let them do our job long enough, and I guess we can start doing what they pay us for now." They don't cover a thing until you've paid your deductible's worth in medical expenses. Then, they often still don't cover everything. Seriously. I didn't know this until someone explained it to me last week.

My point: They don't make this easy. I can see why so many people live without health insurance. Lots of people can't afford it, and lots of people can't justify it. More and more, I think I'm one of the latter. People choose to live without it. And for now, that's what I'm doing. For people who genuinely need help, it's there.

Unfortunately, I have a job, so I don't qualify


Craig said...

Whats up Jim! This be Craig. I dont know if you've heard of this website, but ehealthinsurance.com is where I go to get mine. You can usually find a plan thats cheap enough, with a low enough deductible that covers scrips. Anyway, now that I've got that plug in (I am getting paid by the way) I can ask, how's it going? I'm gonna give you a call sometime, I still want to plan that trip out west. Peace!

Mabel said...

Great work.