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Health Insurance: Food for Thought

Posted 06/12/2006

I feel a deep sadness when a patient tells me she’s stuck in a job she loathes–one that’s making her sick with stress–but that she’s staying so she can keep her health insurance.

First, the stress of remaining in a job you detest may not be worth the offset of having insurance converge. Stress plays a central role in many chronic conditions and illnesses. Also keep in mind that, statistically, US women between the ages of 18 and 60 are very healthy.

Maybe, then, if you’re suffering in one of these jobs from hell you might consider this recommendation: leave this job for one you’ll enjoy (or at least one you won’t detest) and purchase your own insurance coverage for hospitalization and emergencies.

This so-called catastrophic health insurance is dramatically less expensive than insurance that covers doctor’s office visits, lab tests, and prescriptions. And if you don’t have any chronic health problems, you may be better off paying for the check-ups, lab work, and prescriptions out of your own pocket.

I have no shortage of patients (generally self-employed) who stash away the hundreds per month they’d normally pay for full insurance coverage and discover at the end of a year they are thousands of dollars ahead. They gladly spend a few dollars for their Pap smears, mammograms, and other check-ups.

If you join the women in this group, you’ll have coverage for hospitalizations, but the other expenses you’ll pay yourself.


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