More often than you would think, I come across potential clients who tell me they can't afford health insurance - or who don't come out and say it, but they just never seem to get around to applying for coverage.

Now, these are seldom people whose premiums for a basic policy would be $1200, or $800 or even $500 a month. I "get" that that could put a serious dent in a budget. (Although, I can say with 100% certainty that here in the Nuttall household even those kind of numbers wouldn't stand in the way of figuring out how to make the numbers work, no matter what.) 

No, the uninsured I'm talking about are often people for whom I could get coverage for under $300 - even under $200 - per month.

These do not appear to be people who would have to make a choice between, oh, let's say, food and health insurance. Or the power bill and health insurance. No, these are people who are often driving nice, late-model vehicles, are well-educated, living in nice homes, and are usually holding down pretty decent jobs or who have chosen (I repeat, CHOSEN) to be self-employed.

So I go back to what I said earlier about Bill's and my taking a no-excuses approach to going uninsured. What I think is going on with these people willing to go uninsured is that they ask themselves, "Is it affordable?" and answer "Nope" when the real question is, "HOW do I make it affordable? The answer to that question lies in honestly answering some other questions. Questions like:
  • Where's the 'fat' in the budget - cable? satellite dish? cell phones? car payments? eating out?
  • What special skills do I possess that can bring in extra $$? - computers, home repairs, sewing, administrative
  • What services could I provide that people need? Pet sitting/walking, childcare, baking, tutoring, errand-running
  • Could I work a few extra days a month?
You get the idea! Unfortunately, I find these are often the same people who think the nebulous, collective "they" should do something about the problem - whatever the "problem du jour" is. "They" should fix their underwater mortgage, "they" should improve the educational system, "they" should clean up after every natural (or unnatural) disaster.

Unfortunately for those of us who do without the extras and stretch our dollars to be sure we have health insurance coverage, our premium dollars end up subsidizing the unpaid medical bills of the uninsured. And that's neither fair nor right.

I know this post will probably anger some people. And I know it's a little harsh. But I think it's time for EVERYONE to pull up their big boy/big girl pants and act like responsible adults. Figuring out how to have health insurance - or being responsible for the consequences of not having it - is part of that.