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Think You Don’t Need Health Insurance? Think Again

The younger we are the more we tend to think that we are invincible and do not need health insurance. Cancer, broken bones, and weird illnesses with names that we can’t pronounce are all things that happen to other people and never to us—right? Wrong!

Probability of Developing Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society and their studies showcasing the probability of developing invasive cancers over selected age intervals there is a one in 70 chance of developing cancer before the age of 39 for men and a one in 48 chance for women. If we stretch it out even further then over ones entire lifetime there is a one in two chance of developing cancer for a male and a one in three chance for a female.

If the above statistics don’t scare you and shock you to some degree then consider that these are just cancer statistics! There are any other myriad number of different things that can and often do go wrong from a simple broken bone in a sports injury to an illness that you had never even heard of until the doctor sits you down to give you the diagnosis.

I’m not just rattling off these statistics to paint a doom and gloom picture, but to set the stage for three reasons I believe you need adequate health insurance benefits.

My Three Reasons

  1. Very bad medical problems can and do happen to many of us—maybe even you.
  2. Those very bad medical problems can be very expensive and potentially ruin one’s financial future if they do not have adequate health insurance.
  3. It is a smart thing to purchase comprehensive health insurance coverage to protect not only your health but also your financial future.

The Cost of Common Health Procedures

According to the cost of these common procedures at Tampa General Hospital close by where I live is somewhere in these ranges (keep in mind that these cost estimates are just for the hospital fees and does not include medications, extra tests, Doctors fees, etc.

I know from personal experience after talking with a friend of mine that after he developed leukemia the cost of his prescriptions alone would have been somewhere in the $3,500/month range without his health insurance. Stories like his are good stories to tell because he actually had health insurance coverage, where as the owner of an agency that sells Florida health insurance I could tell you many other stories from the flip side of people that ran their finances into the ground because they did not have adequate health insurance coverage):

  • Heart Attack: $37,650 to $41,17
  • Fracture of Upper Leg (Femur): $22,648 to $24,771
  • Lung Disease: $49,963 to $51,366

Again, the cost estimates above are just the basic hospital average costs for Tampa General Hospital and do not include many of the associated fees that are involved.

Buy Health Insurance Before You Need It

Many people are of the mistaken belief that they should just wait until they develop a major illness before they buy health insurance. This kind of thinking is akin to someone who totals their car without having any car insurance and then goes to an auto insurance agent and attempts to buy collision coverage for their already totaled vehicle and expects the insurance company to pay for the damages to their car. The most responsible thing that you can do when it comes to caring for you and your family’s health (and securing your financial future) is to make sure that you have adequate health insurance at all times – before you may need it (and hopefully you never even need to use it!)

Compare Health Insurance Providers

If you have financial goals like buying a first home, getting out of debt, or any other number of great things then take the time to do some comparison shopping to find not only a cheap health insurance plan but one that will act as a safety net to protect your financial goals from the financial ruin that a uninsured medical bill could bring. Just like it is common knowledge that you can save money by doing a car insurance comparison every so often it is not as widely known but just as effective to shop around and compare health insurance providers in order to find an affordable plan.

Stick with large and trusted companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Healthcare, Aetna, Humana, etc. and stay away from discount health plans that masquerade as true health insurance but in reality are just hyped up coupon cards that leave you out in the cold with little to no coverage should you ever get hit with a large medical bill.

Do your homework to shop around and then choose a comprehensive major medical health insurance plan from a trusted nationwide company to make sure that your health care and financial future has an adequate safety net should the unfortunate happen.

Joel Ohman is a Certified Financial Planner and President of 360 Quote, LLC. He is a serial entrepreneur and is currently spearheading several successful consumer comparison websites including Credit Card Chaser and Health Insurance Providers.

Photo Credit: The Doctr

Published or updated on November 18, 2009

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  1. Celesta says:

    Good day! Would you mind if I share your blog with my
    facebook group? There’s a lot of folks that I think would really appreciate your content. Please let me know. Many thanks

  2. Maria says:

    Insurance premiums can be expensive but I think it’s important to consider what could happen if you didn’t have it. Generally, the way we view insurance, especially as young and healthy adults, is slightly flawed… we look at it like something that we have to pay each month but never really get to use the full benefit. However, we should look at it as paying into a risk pool to help out when something is terribly wrong – and hope that we are never the person who needs to draw from the pool. I would rather pay in every month for something that I never use, but have the peace of mind that it is there, than actual be diagnosis with cancer and have to use it.

  3. I’ve been thinking: Isn’t it odd how we comparison shop for so much, but we never know the costs of health care procedures and treatments? How come I don’t know the cost of a test or an office visit? Why do I hesitate to ask “Why?,” “How much?” and “Is it necessary?” I got a kick out of this fun, short video. Check it out. It makes you wonder why our health care system is set up the way it is.

    • Randy Palmer says:

      @ Christine

      Oh by far this one of the biggest concerns. Explosions in prices with regards to surgeries, exams, and co-pays.

      Oh what I know, this was not looked at in the new HCR bill.

  4. L says:

    Where are all these cheap health insurance plans coming from? I’ve looked on and the Empire website, I can’t find anything for less than $800 a month that’s more than just hospital coverage (which excludes doctor costs).
    Empire was $1,143.41 per month – that’s more than half of my paycheck! I can’t afford anything in New York and am so frustrated! And I realize I need health insurance, I just can’t afford it.

    • Unfortunately – New York, New Jersey, Massachussets, and a few other states are known for having notoriously high health insurance premiums.

      The reason why the premiums are so high in those states compared to most other states is that they have state mandated guaranteed issue rules that force insurance companies to cover pre existing conditions (this means that many people choose to go without insurance and then just wait until they get a really expensive illness and then decide to apply for coverage knowing that the company will be forced to cover them).

      In all other states there are already Federal HIPAA laws that require companies to cover pre existing conditions BUT only if the person has dome the responsible thing maintained continuous coverage.

  5. Edwin says:

    While I agree with everything said in this post, the one issue I have is a very major assumption being made. That assumption is that if you have health insurance, any problems that arise will be covered which is not necessarily the case.

    The recent healthcare debate in the US has brought to light many stories where people had insurance coverage but insurance companies found ways they could dump the payments on their former customers. Now, this could very well be a very small minority of cases inflated by media sources. Regardless, situations like that show that you can be extremely responsible and still not be adequately covered.

    • @Edwin

      Very true – that is why I cannot stress enough the importance of doing your homework and also sticking with a large and trustworthy company like a United Healthcare, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Humana, etc. There are many people who purchase what they think is true comprehensive major medical health insurance but in reality it is just a plan from a suspect company that is full of limitations like calendar year limits, procedure limits, etc.

  6. Having health insurance is only part of the battle. We need health assurance.

    When we buy car insurance, we still pay to have our oil changes, we still pay to have the car tuned up, we still pay to have the tires changed, so on and so forth. We even make sure to take time out of our busy schedules to make appointments for all of these.

    Unfortunately, we fail to treat our bodies as well as we do our cars. We need to eat well, move well and think well to promote health.

    80% of chronic disease is related to diet and lifestyle. 20% to genetic factors. Of the genetic factors, only 1-2% cause critical illness, the rest are dependent again on the diet and lifestyle.

    Expression of those genes is what matters and chemicals in our food and environment literally talk with our genes to tell them to turn on or turn off, to replicate correctly or with errors.

    I was spending $80 a month out of pocket without insurance, but wanted to be protected with insurance…started looking up plans was finding them for $120 and up per month. It didn’t make sense to me, especially when that still didn’t account for co-pays, % prescription drugs, deductible, etc. So I went with a high deductible plan and HSA account for $66 a month that includes a discount dental card and then put at least $30/month away in my HSA account.

    When I have a more stable income I will max it out for sure. I also eat fresh organic vegetables with every meal, I exercise almost daily, and I take 10-20 minutes each day to meditate. This is the health insurance we need.

    • @ Alexander

      You make a great point and I totally agree with the need for healthy living and prevention. I think that we have to be careful to not swing too far in that direction though and think that just because we live a healthy lifestyle that we do not need a comprehensive health insurance plan. Things can and do happen outside of our control and these things can be financially ruinous if one does not have adequate health insurance from a trusted provider.

  7. I have mixed feeling about health insurance.

    From age 18-25 I lived a fairly crazy life with no health insurance.

    I thought I was invincible and it’s a miracle that I survived, with no serious injuries or illnesses.

    On the other I was young and healthy. My job as a waiter didn’t provide it, and there was no way I could afford it on my own.

    Now that I am older and have insurance through my job, I encourage everyone to get jobs that provide health insurance, because it’s expensive, and without it you are playing roulette with your life.

    • @ Live for Improvement

      You might actually be surprised at just how cheap a comprehensive major medical health insurance plan is from a quality company (United Healthcare, Blue Cross, Humana, etc.) especially if you are young and healthy. There are many quality plans that provide comprehensive coverage of up to $5 million for around $100 for someone aged 18-25. Sure, finances might be tight while working as a waiter or other lower paid position but finding a way to come up with an extra $25/week for health insurance to protect against the almost certain bankruptcy of a large medical bill and no insurance is a pretty smart decision. Sure, it might mean working one extra shift a month to come up with the $100 but even someone younger with a low paying job can certainly find a way to make an extra $100/month.

  8. Definitely need health insurance. In fact, while mine is free (just for employees, not dependents), I’m also on my husband’s medical plan, just in case.

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