Insurance, Simplified: Your Bod (Part Four in a six-part series)

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I understand thinking about insurance is right up there with thinking about what happens with your money when you die (estate planning). Or thinking about taxes.  All are horribly boring and can often be depressing to consider.  To take the sting out of the thought of insurance, here is part four in a six-part series about what insurance you need, and what you don’t, if your aim is simplicity.

First, we talked about property insurance, along with its corresponding liability coverage.  Now we turn our attention to insurance coverage that concerns our bodies —  as in life, health, disability, and long-term care insurance.  I have created a category for this that I call wellness insurance.  (Please note this is a term I just made up, so don’t go to your agent and ask for that!)  If you earn money for your household, you should consider insuring against loss of that income.  If you anticipate experiencing good health, consider insuring against health crises.  If you’re protecting your pile of loot for your old age, there is insurance for that, too.

Wellness insurance includes health, life, disability, and long-term care.  Let’s break it down and begin with health insurance.

Health insurance is always a hot topic, especially with current debate in our country over the best process for ensuring Americans have access to health care.  Health insurance is extremely complex with many variables, and I couldn’t tackle it thoroughly in this format.  Books have been written about navigating through the options.  I simply want to point out a few things for consideration.

  1. Lack of health insurance along with a subsequent major medical event is one of the leading causes of financial problems and bankruptcy in the U.S.
  2. Lack of health insurance causes people not to seek treatment that they need, due to inability to pay for the treatment. This can cause more issues later.

And you say, “But health insurance is so expensive!”  Yes, it is.  It is a personal choice as to whether to fork over the hefty health insurance premium or not.  Do your homework and then make the best decision for you and your family.

When I was in college and still on my father’s most excellent health insurance plan through his employer, no matter how large or small the issue, I sought medical help and never handed over a dime.  Those days are long, long gone, unfortunately.  Employers that still provide health coverage are often forced into a situation of offering less comprehensive plans due to the crazy-expensive premiums.  It is sad, but true.

Some things to consider for saving some premium dollars:

  • Go with the highest deductible that you can stomach and that makes sense for the premium charged. Understand that you are insuring against catastrophic health care needs, not more routine ones.
  • Take advantage of all preventative services your policy offers. Get physicals on the schedule prescribed to catch any issues as early as possible.
  • Consider a plan that offers a Health Savings Account option. The premiums tend to be cheaper, and the premise is you save the premium difference in a tax-advantaged account that can be used pretty flexibly for healthcare costs.
  • Stay healthy. Eat well, exercise, reduce stress, get good sleep.  Following this advice will go a long way toward keeping your medical costs as low as you can.

This wraps up my thoughts on health insurance.  Here are a few parting shots for your consideration:

  • Seek advice:  It is best to get a licensed insurance agent to sit down with you to discuss your needs.  The guide provided here can help you get the conversation started.  Pay close attention to the recommendations an agent might give you, and if you feel you are being oversold, get a second opinion.
  • Review your coverage regularly: Don’t buy health insurance and then forget it.  (Of course, there’s a fat chance of that with the whopper premium increases that tend to occur each year!)  Review it annually to make sure you have the best coverage for your situation.
  • Simplifying your live simplifies your insurance: I can’t help but point out that if you eat healthily, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, and keep your stress level under control, you can save a bundle on your health costs.  Just sayin.’

Your turn.  How have you handled (or not) your health insurance needs?

Check out our entire six part Insurance Simplified series:

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