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Answer This: Do You Have Health Insurance (If Not, Why)?

Sunaina Sondhi

Last month, we had an overwhelming response to

We received questions ranging from what was up with Forever 21’s and of, to how one small CA-based business could find a new health insurance provider for its employees, given that its current provider was refusing to meet minimum coverage requirements.

Inquiring minds want to know: do you have health insurance, and if not—what’s holding you back?

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  • Trevor Lakey

    As a UK resident, no I don't have health insurance as we have a comprehensive healthcare system (NHS) which is in the main free at the point of use, paid for out of general taxation. We do pay for prescriptions and dental care. [This does not mean of course that there aren't major pressures and challenges in our healthcare system at present.]

    Appreciate this question is mainly aimed at US situation but would be interested in experiences of folk who have lived in several countries and can make comparisons about pros and cons of different systems

  • Kristin Pedemonti

    No coverage since 2005 because as a Freelance Cause Focused Storyteller, can't afford the policies offered. Those I can afford offer such limited coverage they are not even worth the monthly fee. Hoping ACA is different. It saddens me that we are one of the wealthiest countries and do not provide National Health Care for our citizens. Traveling throughout the world, I receive far better more affordable care even in so-called Developing countries. Thanks for letting me share my thoughts!

  • Kristen Haynie

    I don't have health insurance, and I have absolutely no intention to get it anytime soon. So far, my experience with healthcare in the United States has been horrible. Doctors don't listen to or even care about my needs. They just want to prescribe a pill and move on to the next person. I prefer what people are calling "alternative medicine" which from what I understand, includes everything other than taking pills to mask your symptoms. Unfortunately, "alternative medicine" is not covered by any health insurances that I've been able to find, so why should I pay for health insurance if I have no intention of using it? I will pay for my own healthcare when and how I need it.

    • tgaignard

      I wish there was a "like" button. I have health insurance through work, but I think our healthcare system has very little to do with helping us help ourselves be healthy. Doctors are only useful after something really bad happens like a broken leg or a heart attack.

    • GoodSwan

      Sigh.... I'm sorry you've had a poor experience with traditional medicine. I'm very fortunate that my providers have welcomed the inclusion of "alternative medicine" in my holistic care. My suggestion is to keep looking for the right doctor.
      But your comment "I will pay for my own healthcare..." troubles me. Do you have any idea what that cost could be? I was about your age when I was diagnosed with a immune system disease that typically appears in young adulthood; the cost to maintain remission is staggering (but the drugs have worked wonders and alternative medicine did NOT work at all).
      So how exactly WILL you pay if you do need care, please enlighten me? Are you wealthy, or are your friends and family wealthy? Please don't stick the system (charity or your the medical facility) with your bill when you do need care and insurance won't be available to you.

  • Katrina Mitchell

    In the past I have had great coverage as a single person (blue cross has an awesome plan for single people) but now that I have a family I just cannot afford the premiums, plus it often doesn't cover "alternative" care such as homeopathy, chiropractic care, nutrition and body work, so I end up paying a lot for insurance on top of paying for health care the way I want to do it. When wellness becomes a priority in healthcare I will be more interested in exploring options. Even with a family of three our entire medical expense last year was under $300.

  • Sunaina Sondhi

    Thanks for all the input so far. Everyone should make sure to check out their state's health insurance exchange marketplace today.

    If you're a CA resident, this calculator is awesome, and will not only help you find the best plan, but break it down into monthly costs: If outside of CA, ( will point you to your state's exchange.

    Keep the good comments coming!

  • Jason Friesen

    Don't have health insurance - would love it, can't afford it ... yet? Am optimistic my choices will be better than what they currently are, but need to make time to put it together. Awesome topic.

  • Daniel Ward

    I've spent about $10,000 on health care over the last 10 years. If I had insurance, my premiums would've been about the same and I would've still had to pay for most of my health care to cover the deductibles

    I really don't see the value or need.

    What will I do when I can't afford my health care?

    I'll die, of course. This life isn't worth going into debt over, especially if I'm sick.

    • danny.smith

      what a ridiculous thing to say. you could break your leg tomorrow and owe more than 10k. you're going to just kill yourself?

      • Daniel Ward

        I could win the lottery tomorrow too but I'm not gonna spend 10-20 percent of my income on tickets. And I never said anything about killing myself.

  • Meghan Neal

    nope.. perils of a freelancer's life. here's hoping for easier (affordable) options for the self-employed in the future, especially since it's a fast-growing economic trend

  • Kevin Lankes

    After my experience with cancer at 26, it was tough (read: impossible) to find an affordable plan. I'm looking forward to the changes so that I can be covered without bankrupting my family. I've spoken with providers who have assured me that I'll be able to get a comparable plan to the one I had pre-diagnosis.

  • Dana Weiss

    I do have health insurance, but only a catastrophic plan. I have it because I want to be insured incase of a serious illness or accident. I know I would be unable to foot the medical bills if I suddenly needed high-cost medical care. I'd love to have a more comprehensive plan, but I am self employed and the cost of full coverage is way too high.

  • Morgan Sheets

    I do not have health insurance but ironically I do have life insurance to cover my debts when I die. I have my own business and hadn't grown it to the point where I could afford health insurance for myself but I would like to purchase some sort of health insurance coverage for next year. This year, I chose to spend my money on keeping myself healthy through massage, chiropractic care, eating well, and generally trying to live a healthy lifestyle. I would like to find a health insurance provider that covers alternative health care or that could be used at an integrative health facility as I personally disagree with the prescribe or cut methods of Western medicine and prefer to follow a more natural health care approach for myself.

  • Harpreet Singh

    i love to have but these days i have no work and i am to able to do insurance but i will definitely do a health insurance in India insurance is so costly and nobody think about this..but according to me it is very im[important for us and in budget also..we should definitely do health insurance.

  • Alessandra Rizzotti

    Love this. This is a creative way to engage our members. I frankly could not get insurance without having a job that provided it bec of pre-existing conditions that were not actually considered to be that bad, according to my doctors. However, insurance companies had it on their list of things to flag. I'm grateful for Obamacare, but now I'm actually finding that my insurance doesn't cover as much because of it. Or, doctors are billing me for extra procedures that are not needed in order to get more money. So, I wonder how this affects other people?

    • Donna D.

      ObamaCare has a few good points in theory, but it is totally unrealistic at this point. The U.S. debt now exceeds its GDP, which basically means we are borrowing money in order to pay our bills. How are we expected to now pay for ObamaCare on top of the huge debt the Obama administration has already run up through ARRA? (Which dramatically increased our debt and sent a large portion of the money overseas.) We need to wake up and face the realities of our situation. We need to say no to unnecessary procedures, take ownership of our health by eating healthy foods, exercising, getting enough sleep, and keeping stress in check. We need to cut the waste in government, lower the national debt, and hold healthcare organizations to a higher standard of compassionate care, while keeping the malpractice vultures in check. Healthcare has become like any other market - buyer beware. Healthcare consumers need to educate themselves, ask pertinent questions, and refuse tests and procedures they feel are not needed. Don't be afraid to question your doctor and have him/her explain their intentions. It's your body, your health, your money.

    • Todd Tyrtle

      I definitely saw the billing for extra procedures thing. I lived the first 33 years of my life in the US, most of that time being covered by some form of insurance. However when my son was born the whole family headed to a yurt in the woods and lived a life that allowed us to get by on as little $300/month. (not hard to do with no rent, electric or heating bills) That made it so we could both be at-home parents, but also meant we had no health insurance. The good news is that we rarely needed medical care.

      That said, the one time we did, we went to the ER for my son's having a pretty bad case of bronchitis. They kept us there for a while but did a minimum of tests on us and the bill was a relatively inexpensive $600. Go back a few years to when we had other medical problems before he was born and so many tests were ordered "just in case" and billed to the HMO. Still, there was one test they did when we had that $600 ER visit that they held us for a couple hours waiting for lab results for. When we pressed them about what it would tell, and how that would affect potential treatment they said "Oh, well, we'll just know, the treatment is the same." So there you go. Extra tests we were charged for that had no potential gain.

      Ten years ago we moved to Toronto, Ontario. I'm working again and we have health insurance through my company. Basic things are provided so we never need to worry about major medical issues, however the insurance covers things like dental, prescriptions, room upgrade at the hospital should we have to be admitted, and other health treatments (acupuncture, massage, chiropractic) that aren't covered by our provincial health coverage.