Everybody knows the importance of health insurance for themselves and their families in an insurance driven healthcare system like the one prevalent in the United States.
Yet, estimates reveal that almost 26 million people in the US do not have health cover.
What about the Affordable care act? Well, it’s certainly not working yet.
In recent times, due to many reasons, people are choosing to live without health insurance despite being aware of the risks. While some are choosing to fly overseas for their healthcare needs because it’s cheaper, others are just living with glaring health conditions because they have no other choice.
The rising cost of family healthcare insurance
Recently, there were many such stories featured on Bloomberg. Whitney Whitman, a professional counsellor based in Alaska has been living without insurance for two years. A recent medical visit to a pediatrician left her poorer by almost $300.
Yet, she says that she has no choice because the cheapest family health care plan that she could find cost her close to $2000 a month.
How then, does a professional like her who earns just around $100,000 after taxes afford healthcare insurance?
Apart from the staggering costs for health insurance, she also has to cater to mortgages, rental for her work space, credit card payments and student loans.
When her husband fractured a finger recently, they used a self-made splint and continued with their lives choosing to not visit a specialized healthcare clinic. As of now, they continue to live without insurance but her long-term goals are to move to Canada for the universal health coverage they provide.
But how risky is this lifestyle? Especially when she has young kids who are active in the outdoors? An injury, no matter how small, may cost her thousands of dollars.
But Whitney is not the only one who has chosen to live without insurance.
Tara Sullivan works in a law firm in Parkersburg. She shares a common thing with Whitney. She cannot afford health insurance and has chosen to live without it. But Tara hasn’t been as lucky as Whitney is in recent times.
She neglected a persistent cough to the point where it became unbearable and she had to visit an ER. It was detected as Pneumonia and the treatment and barrage of medicines that followed cost her close to $300 so far. She hasn’t paid her hospital bills yet.
She earns close to $30000 a year. The cheapest healthcare plans that she could find had premiums as high as $300 a month. For someone who earns around $2000 a month, that’s a huge amount. She’s nearing 60 years of age and both her parents died of cancer. She lives in constant fear that if she were to be diagnosed with the disease, how does she pay for treatment?
There are many such stories around America. People who are left with no choice but to make tough decisions that can have an impact on their health and that of their families.