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I am frequently instructed as I enter the room to see a new patient, "Be easy on me, Doc. I don't have health insurance." To which I reply, "Neither do I ... not for 15 years."
Then the conversation turns this way, "How do you do it? Aren't you afraid? What if? What if? What if?"
Honestly, this is where I live and how I live and here are some of my conclusions. Insurance is based on fear - my faith and my instincts tell me that there is only one appropriate fear - fear of God.
When I started my practice, I did not have insurance because I could not afford it, but the further I move away from having health insurance, the more comfortable I became with the idea. Now, with a wife and three children, I did the simple and reasonable steps. I raised the PIP coverage on my automobiles to the max, in case of an motor vehicle accident ($10,000 would not go that far). For a small fee, you can raise the PIP to $50,000 or even $100,000.
I bought the best school accident policy that was available, $42 per year. It only seemed reasonable with three children playing athletics.
I refuse to buy into the fear tactics that society, the medical disease mongers and the government use to manipulate us into handing over another large percentage of our incomes and still keep us in debt to health care and still sick and getting sicker.
Health insurance is one of the worst "values" in our economy. It is just not worth it. The value of health insurance is based solely on "what if," and it is very justifiable if you stay in that "what if" realm. I do not believe in "life at all or any cost" (no one should die before their time and no one should take their own life ... another discussion). How valuable is your life if you spend you life trying to stay alive, instead of walking out a destiny of service to God and man?
A few years ago, my wife had to have a serious emergency surgery - my first big test of this belief system. After a couple of weeks, I went to the surgeon's office to make arrangement to pay my bill, only to find out that there was not one, but two surgeons. Needless to say, my posture was tightening. The office manager informed me that the fee for each surgeon was $5,600, or $11,200 total. I swallowed hard, tried to think of what would be a reasonable amount to pay monthly, when she broke in with, "but if you will pay this in the next 10 days, we'll take $2,400." I couldn't get my checkbook out fast enough. My point being: Everyone involved in the serious surgery reduced his bill dramatically, without even being asked. What could have been a $35,000 medical incident cost $12,000 or about one-third of the billed amount. If I had paid premiums for health insurance over that period of time, I would have paid over $120,000 and still at surgery time have had to pay about $2,000. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to do that kind of math and see that health insurance is a really bad value.
I talk to people every day who labor to get out of real debt, only to take on a $600-800 per month health insurance premium, as much as their home mortgage was - whew!
I tell patient's every day, if someone provides insurance for you, be thankful, grateful, rejoice, but if you have to pay for health insurance yourself, it is a terrible value.
Here are a few suggestions:
1. Live a healthy lifestyle. You don't have to use all your energy on your health, just some. Be reasonable. Make wise choices in your diet, recreation and work.
2. Have a purpose that is bigger than you health. Protect that purpose.
3. Give, serve and love those around you. It keeps you healthy.
4. Pray daily for health and wealth. They are both useful for #3 above.
5. Save a little money, but negotiate with all health care providers. Physicians do not sell health, but they do sell a service. If they won't talk to you, get another provider.
Editor's note: Ray A. Roberts is a chiropractor from Campbellsville.