Most of you reading this blog are Americans in your 20s and 30s. Many of you hold unconventional jobs, such as outdoor guides, servers, bloggers, and yoga teachers. Though these jobs provide some incredible benefits, there is one glaring exception: health insurance.
I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that a lot of you still don’t have it. I’m not judging or lecturing: I’ve been there.
“I don’t need health insurance!”
During my time living in Colorado, bare-bones health insurance cost me $140/month. My entire budget for the month, including rent ($600), was $1,200. As is the case for many of you, that didn’t leave a lot of wiggle room — and for several years, I went without health insurance. To me, it was more important to have a few big nights out than it was to protect myself.
I was young… and I was really stupid.
But no amount of lecturing from my parents could change my mind. I was in the prime of my life — what did I need insurance for? That was for old people and pregnant ladies.
If you’re reading this blog, you have an amazing thirst for adventure. You work hard and play harder. Though you’re hopefully healthy, you’re still at grave risk for a hiking or rock-climbing accident, or even a nasty case of giardia. But you don’t think it could happen to you.
Maybe I’m not invincible…
For me, it took the horrible experiences of a few friends (and countless more heard through the grapevine) to make me realize just how dumb I was.
One friend broke his collarbone while snowboarding, while another friend came down with a strange virus that landed her in the hospital for a week. Due to their lack of health insurance, they both ended up with medical bills for more than $50,000.
$50,000. They’ll be paying those loans for a long time, and all because they thought they were invincible.
News flash: just because you’re young and hot and awesome and fit does NOT mean you’re invincible.
Shit happens, and you don’t want to be without insurance when it does.
Have you signed up for Obamacare yet?
With the advent of the Affordable Care Act, you no longer have an excuse. If you’re not signed up, you need to get your act together STAT. You have until March 31st to enroll.
(If you need more convincing, check out this hilarious interview President Obama did with The Hangover’s Zach Galifianakis.)
Haven’t signed up yet? You’re like many people I know. I’ve heard a range of excuses, which I’m going to address here:
“It’s too expensive.” –> Not really, unless you’re already making a pretty good income. If you make less than $45,960/year, your premiums will be subsidized on a sliding scale. There’s even a handy dandy calculator you can use to figure out your premium. (Note that the calculator assumes you want “Silver” coverage; if you want “Bronze” coverage — which is more bare-bones — your costs will be lower.)
“It isn’t offered in my state.” –> Not true. Obamacare is a national law, and is offered in different ways (and for different costs) in every state. You can get more information about your specific state here.
“I heard it’s bad.” –> I guess the correct word here would be “controversial.” It’s not perfect, and for some people and some industries, there is definitely going to be a negative impact. But for the country as a whole, this is a step in the right direction. For the majority of people reading this blog, you will benefit from it — and really, anything is better than no health insurance.
Also, if you’re worried about the website crashing or that it’s going to take a long time to enroll, don’t be. It took me less than an hour to get fully signed up.
Why enrolling is a good decision
Whatever your politics may be, and whether you wanted this law or not, it’s here to stay. Like I said, it’s far from perfect, but what is the first time around?
Are you going to throw away a perfectly good cupcake because the frosting is smudged in a few places? I sure hope not! (If you currently have a cupcake and are considering that route, please send it to me instead.)
The USA, despite my hyper-patriotic love for it, is far behind other developed nations in terms of healthcare. We were one of the only developed nations without universal healthcare (along with Belarus, and who even knows where that is?), and we have unacceptably high levels of maternal and infant mortality, as well as horrific obesity rates.
But forget about that, and the fact that the plan will only work if a lot of young healthy people sign up. Forget that you’ll have to pay at least $95 (and maybe a lot more) if you don’t sign up. Forget about the peace of mind you’ll get when you try to throw that backside 360 knowing you now have health insurance.
Forget about what will happen if you have insurance, and instead think about what will happen if you don’t.
Do you want to end up paying medical bills until you’re old and boring? I didn’t think so. Sign up now. You have until March 31st, so get yo’ shit together!
If you need more help, search for a “Navigator” in your area. Your tax dollars are paying their salaries, so utilize them!
Have you signed up for Obamacare yet? Why or why not?