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I was an uninsured American

August 7, 2009

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.

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