1. This is a fantastic post. In Australia health insurance isn't a necessity like in the USA, but I would dearly love to live over there for a while. I think this article and the options you have outlined will help many people. Thank you for doing such great research into it all.
    My recent post How to make and save money with home phones, cell/mobile phones and internet

    • I think so too Kylie. Thanks for reading. I tried my best to investigate options that would be feasible for the many people I've realized fall in to the health insurance coverage “gap” because they have too high income to be covered by government health insurance programs but not enough money to afford independent health insurance on their own.
      My recent post What Do You Do If You Really Cannot Afford Regular Health Insurance?

  2. I have health insurance now. It's 100% paid by my company. But I went through around 2-3 years without any insurance and it was truly terrifying.
    My recent post My Extra Monthly Income

    • I bet that was very scary Michelle. Do you have children as well that were uncovered during that time?

      I'm curious – did you ever look in to affordable health coverage options, or try any of the things listed above? I'm very interested to how this type of stuff would roll out in real life and not just on paper.
      My recent post What Do You Do If You Really Cannot Afford Regular Health Insurance?

  3. Hi Jacob–Thanks for the mention and the link! Excellent post with information that needs to be discussed frequently (I'm overdue for another on my site!).

    There's almost a matrix factor with health insurance coverage–what you do depends mostly on your specific circumstances. I think that for most middle-middle class people, and especially the self-employed, the best choices are either taking a part time job with health coverage, or going for a private plan with high deductibles (aka “catastrophic”).

    Back in the good old days when soup-to-nuts coverage was widely available and relatively inexpensive, we got used to having everything from doctor visits to heart surgery covered at close to 100%. But the times have changed. We mostly need to get coverage for the medical disasters that can cost into six figures, and catastrophic accomplishes that.

    Though it leaves us on the hook for a lot, we can cut down those costs by taking better care of ourselves. We've heard this from the medical community all our lives, but now it's more important than ever. Another
    is to take advantage of the clinics at pharmacy chains and grocery stores that are all over now. You can be treated by a nurse practitioner for about $60 while going to the doctor for the same care can be $150-$200. They're excellent for routine care like colds, flu, ear infections and the like, especially when you have kids. You can also ask the pharmacist for non-prescription alternatives, which are MUCH cheaper.

    It gets complicated, but if you can cut a $1000/mo premium in half it'll be worth the extra effort.

    My recent post Lets Stop Blaming the Economy for Our Failed Investing Strategies

    • Thanks for reading Kevin. I found your post very helpful in researching the options above. In fact, your post was the primary motivator for Option 6.

      You make a good point about using clinics at pharmacy chains and grocery stores. I suppose that with that treatment option, the cost would be slightly higher than free community health clinics, but you might get care faster?

      • Not only faster care, but public health clinics might be means tested, so if you're over a certain income threshhold you may not qualify. You may even have to be on public assistance of some form as evidence of qualification. With the chain clinics, anyone can go, and they're all over the country too, so you never have to worry about the out-of-network issues.
        My recent post Lets Stop Blaming the Economy for Our Failed Investing Strategies

        • Good points Kevin – for the community health centers, I only read (here –… that you “pay what you can based on your income,” but was wondering in the back of my head if there were any income requirements. That's one of the reasons I reached out to my Mom. Based on her experience, she said there weren't a ton of requirements. However, that was 1994, so times have likely changed!

          According to this link –, Virginia free clinics only accept people at less than or equal to 200% of the Federal Poverty Level, which, for a family of two, would be about a $30,000 cap. A good site for a listing of the Federal Poverty Limit and if you qualify for free clinics can be found here –
          My recent post What Do You Do If You Really Cannot Afford Regular Health Insurance?

  4. We moved out of the country. Full coverage here in Thailand is about $3000 a year for our family. Even if we couldn't afford that my wife and daughter would be covered under the government sponsored health care here and would have to pay just $1 per procedure. It is almost sickening to think that even with my employer sponsored health care in the U.S. I paid more than I pay here for full coverage.
    My recent post Take the Stress Out of Emergencies With a Sudden Emergency Fund

  5. Ways to Invest Money says:

    I am so thankful to have health care coverage through my wife's job. Its great because I am more of the entrepreneur so if I stop working to pursue other things we all are still covered. People tell me so many horror stories about there insurance. Never knew about group insurance through organizations.
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  6. Reading this makes me feel so fortunate to still be covered under my dad's health insurance plan and work for a company that offers insurance after his insurance on me runs out. I would live in constant fear if I had to survive without insurance. Last year I had an emergency appendectomy and later an emergency gallbladder removal I imagine that without insurance I'd be up over my head in medical bills.
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    • Thanks for reading Addie. It's good to hear you're keeping constant health coverage!

      So you're using Option 1 – getting covered under your parents coverage until the age of 26? That's a nice option eh!?
      My recent post What Do You Do If You Really Cannot Afford Regular Health Insurance?

  7. linseyknerl says:

    Right after I completed graduate school and was teaching part-time at a number of schools, I was only covered in case of an emergency. I hated the feeling of not being able to afford going to the doctor if I was sick, but not sick enough to be hospitalized. Now, with three kids, I would never have that type of insurance. If my husband didn't have insurance, one of us would work part-time at a place like Starbuck's or Trader Joe's just to get the insurance benefits.

    • Thanks for reading linsey! Looks like you did the best you could with your situation after graduate school. How much were the premiums on the emergency only coverage?
      My recent post $141.20 Giveaway – Community and Charity 10% Monthly Blog Income Give Back # 5 – February 2012 Edition

  8. Thanks for this post. The best bet seems to be working part-time at a place that offers health insurance. When I quit my job, HR quoted me $2,800 a month for COBRA insurance for my family. As if that was any where close to what I could afford.

    • @Melissa – Geez! What a deal at $2,800 a month?! Personally, if I were the health insurance company, I don't think I would be able to give that quote while keeping a straight face. I mean seriously, how many ANYONE AFFORD that high of a price?!

      My recent post $141.20 Giveaway – Community and Charity 10% Monthly Blog Income Give Back # 5 – February 2012 Edition

  9. We had COBRA for 18 months at about $800 a month. Then we incorporated our business to be able to buy small group insurance, we have some pre existing conditions that would have been excluded under an individual plan. The problem is that to cover our family with 2 kids is over 150% of our mortgage costs.

    I would not be without it.

  10. I could have sworn I already commented on this post, maybe it didn't submit right. Anyways, I love all the options and it seems like you put a ton of work into this post. Fabulous!

    My recent post Tax Refunds- The Good, The Bad and Why We Get One Anyways

  11. pinmoney2 says:

    You are right. I lost my health insurance last year when budget cuts eliminated my job. I have COPD and hypertension and depression. I use six kinds of medications a month one of which cost $180.00 a pop. I am reluctant to change doctors because of this. I have steadily been accumulating debt. I cannot get state sponsored insurance because my income is to high on unemployment. I can't buy insurance because I don't have the money. I am fortunate that none of my doctor's are money grubbing and have continued to see me, but it is nerve racking to wonder where it will all end and if you can ever get out of debt. If I get a job, how long will it take to become solvent again?

  12. Marcus grant says:

    A friend of mine has insurance through his employer, a bank. His child has an illness but the bank will not cover. He has had to sell so much to get her cured. Thankfully she is well on the way. But even having insurance guarantees nothing. Her life would have been ruined if not for her father. Good ol bank of america

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