May 25, 2012 - Healthcare and Wellness - I've been covered by my husband's employer's group health insurance plan for almost twenty-five years. When we were first married, not only was I added to his plan but also my three children were. What a deal! All I had to say was "I do" and the four of us had insurance. We paid no premiums, it was a benefit of his employment. That was a pretty good deal for me and my kids. Love, a new husband, a fantastic step-dad and health insurance! My children aged out of "dependent status" as they individually turned 23 years of age. In 2003 when my husband took an early retirement his pension package included continued healthcare coverage for himself until he turned Medicare age. That left me without insurance, but under COBRA I was allowed to remain on his policy by paying the monthly difference premiums from a single plan to a two-person plan. Since I am younger than him by a few years I was also assured I wouldn't be dropped from the policy when he turned 65.
Last month we were informed by his past employer that the two-person plan was no longer an option but I would now be covered under the family plan... but here's the catch. My premiums would go up 60%. Say What?!? Without going into specifics, that is a whole lot of moolah. Fortunately in the Fall of 2013 when my husband celebrates his 65th birthday my monthly premiums will drop back to their single policy rate. Still, that left me with some decision making... should I continue with the same policy or go shopping for a cheaper policy elsewhere?
I reached out to some friends and colleagues asking for advice and possible suggestions about insurance options for freelancers. I asked "Who do you buy private insurance from?" "What kind of premiums do you pay?"... etc. Everyone was helpful and sympathetic to my plight. Well, not everyone... one work associate threw out a sucker punch. Her response was to forgo having insurance. What? She doesn't see the need for health insurance and informs me she only sees alternative medicine doctors. She is very strong in her conviction against paying for health insurance. Her suggestion to me and everyone in the conversation was to live a holistic lifestyle... WOW! Did she know who she was talking to? I write about holistic healing. Basically, she has taken an angry stance against the heathcare system in general here in the United States, specifically the big pharma companies.
Without taking any sides politically I will say that I agree with her that the healthcare system in this country isn't perfect, it is a big eyesore no matter which angle you look at it from. But, even me, a holistic-centered person, doesn't want to be at risk without health insurance coverage. It would be nice if everyone had the option of having a physician who practices alternative medicine. What if you don't have that option in the region where you live?
I do wish my current policy covered options like acupuncture, energy medicine, massage therapy, etc. It doesn't... those are out-of-pocket expenses for me. It would be really cool if my health insurance would cover the annual fee for my fitness membership at the Y too! It does cover chiropractic care, physical therapy, and mental health, so that is something.
The woman who sees no reason for paying for health insurance reasons that since she lives a healthy lifestyle (eats right, exercises, etc.) that will preclude her from getting chronic conditions or health issues that demand healthcare at rising costs. That's good reasoning, but that is not the whole picture. I don't believe she is being realistic.
My point is that a person can be holistic-minded and still see the importance of mainstream healthcare (I am that person). I depend on my doctors to diagnosis my ailments and monitor my overall health. Getting a diagnosis is step-two of my Six Steps from Dis-ease to Living Better. It can be really hard to approach treatment from an ailment when you aren't sure what is really happening. I don't want to be treating headaches with stress management treatments when I really have a brain tumor. An xray, CAT scan, or MRI would be needed to determine that. Also, if I am injured in a car crash or get hit by a bus I will likely end up on a gurney and driven to an emergency room to mend my bleeding or broken body. What if I need emergency surgery due to those injuries? That hospital bill could likely set me back or even bankrupt me if I didn't have insurance coverage.
Also, how do birth defects and congenital disorders fit into the justification that a proper lifestyle is the answer, not health insurance? What if a child is born prematurely needing extensive neonatal care or has a cleft palate that will require multiple surgeries throughout his growth years? Sorry, but alternative medicine is a complementary treatment at best in these situations.
Taking care of my health needs includes having an an insurance policy to protect me against financial harm. I get an annual checkup from a medical doctor and also routinely have my holistic health evaluated--How to Evaluate Your Holistic Health
I am grateful that I have the means to pay for the rising costs of health insurance, I know not everyone does.
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