I was an uninsured American
This is a difficult thing to admit on a medical blog, but for a month I was among the millions of Americans without health insurance. I played the deadly game and escaped unscathed (luckily).
How did this happen? I quit my research job a month before I started medical school. Thus, in the intervening month–July–I wasn’t covered by my employer’s health insurance and my student health insurance hadn’t kicked in yet.
Could I have gotten COBRA coverage? Of course. But, it would have cost me almost $500 for a single month. I’m going to let that sink in for a second. Try to wrap your head around that figure. Better yet, think about what a year’s worth of COBRA coverage would have cost me–$6,000.
Add in one other fact–I haven’t been to the doctor in over 2 years. Why would I flush $6,000 a year?
When you begin to take these simple facts and figures into account, it easy to see why young Americans go without health insurance. If I had involuntarily left job (ie–got fired) there is no financial way I could have afforded to keep up my COBRA coverage.
Cost. It has to be addressed in the health reform debate and unfortunately that’s not happening right now.