You’re likely familiar with “Murphy’s Law”–anything that could go wrong, will go wrong. Admittedly, Murphy must have been a pessimistic fellow and a killjoy at parties, but, unfortunately, there is some truth to his “glass is half empty” adage. It will likely rain on the day you forget your umbrella, your lottery numbers could come up on the day you neglect to play them, and the minute you let your health insurance lapse, you may find yourself requiring acute–and expensive–medical care. Even though you’ve always been as healthy as the proverbial equine.
Are you unconvinced that navigating this hustle-and-bustle world without health insurance could prove problematic? Do you believe that as long as you’re careful, nothing bad will happen? It is likely that Mr. Murphy knew someone just like you–and that individual was the inspiration for his law.
Here are a few of the ways that heeding Mr. Murphy could spare your bank account balance some serious damage.
Mr. Murphy didn’t believe in mincing words, so here it goes. If you fail to get health insurance, you will likely experience financial woes. And, for many, these woes will snowball into full-fledged financial ruin.
According to CNBC’s “Medical Bills are the Biggest Cause of US Bankruptcies,” a study conducted by NerdWallet Health that relied on data from the US Census, the Centers for Disease Control, the Commonwealth Fund, and the US Courts proved that unpaid medical bills and health care expenses are the number one cause of bankruptcies with nearly 2 million people filing in 2013, alone. The study also showed that another 56 million adults struggle with medical bills.
Quite simply put, the right health insurance plan can prove a viable safety net in the battle against accumulating suffocating medical bills.
If you are uninsured, you may be tempted to cut corners–and expenses–when it comes to seeking health care. And, according to Mr. Murphy, this choice will, inevitably, be your undoing.
First of all, health providers–with the exception of emergency rooms–can turn you away if you are uninsured. Secondly, The uninsured are less likely to engage in preventative care initiatives. The Kaiser Family Foundation’s “Key Facts about the Uninsured Population” states that almost a third of uninsured adults went without needed care due to cost in 2013, only 1 in 3 uninsured adults reported a preventative visit with a physician in the last year, and uninsured older adults were far less likely than their insured counterparts to report having been screened for cancer in the past five years.
What does this have to do with avoiding financial trouble? Statistics show that by failing to address health issues, you could be seriously decreasing your earning potential.
Lower Earning Potential
Failing to take part in regular preventative care activities, putting off seeking expensive medical help, and engaging in other cost-cutting measures when it comes to one’s health, often leads to poorer overall health. This can increase your odds of becoming seriously ill.
As a result, you may be forced to take time off work–exacerbating an already financially precarious situation. If family members are required to decrease their working hours in order to care for you, this can make matters even worse.
Furthermore, according to NerdWallet’s “NerdWallet Health Finds Medical Bankruptcy Accounts for Majority of Personal Bankruptcies,” over 25 million adults will not take their prescription drugs as indicated, including skipping doses, taking less medicine than prescribed, or delaying a refill. Uninsured individuals who are already buckling under medical expenses are likely tempted to partake in this behavior–further compromising their health and decreasing their earning potential.
Increased Stress Levels
The stress brought on by financial woes can add to your health troubles as well. The worries associated with debt can wreak havoc on your health. Stress, after all, is a contributing factor in heart disease, asthma, depression and anxiety, several forms of cancer, insomnia, and more. Stress can also lead to an increase in other unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, overeating, and substance abuse.
Foregoing health insurance is a big gamble. And the ante is all of your assets–the things that you have worked hard to earn. One traffic accident, bad fall, or sudden illness could cost you your home, your cars, and your retirement savings.
It can also force you to seek out high interest forms of credit to pay the bills. Credit cards, for example, may seem like a quick solution, but the costs of borrowing this way can equate to an overwhelming bill in little time. And liquidating your assets or juggling credit cards–or both–can dramatically increase stress levels, which can decrease your earning potential and so on.
Failing to secure health insurance can land you smack dab in the middle of an endless cycle of debt. Just Like Murphy’s Law said it would.
The only way to avoid the impending doom brought on by a lack of health insurance is to make sure you are ALWAYS insured in the first place. After all, you have many options at your disposal including coverage through your employer, a private plan, a plan purchased through the marketplace, or you may even qualify for Medicaid or Medicare.
And, if a gap in your coverage should arise due to a job change, a switch in plans, or any other reason, you can opt for short-term health coverage to ensure that you are always protected.
Do not let Mr. Murphy have the pleasure of saying, “I told you so.” Do some memory exercises, so you don’t forget your umbrella again. Enroll in advance play, so you won’t miss out on a big lottery prize. And never ever go without health insurance.
If You’d like to learn more about Short-Term Health Insurance, check out “How Short-Term Health Coverage Can Keep You From a Financial Catastrophe.” You’ll be glad you did.