Reality set in today as I received my monthly health insurance bill: a painful $485. That will be nearly $6,000 a year out of the $17,000 budget or about one-third of all the money I have. This makes it very easy to understand why most people on a minimum wage simply choose to go without medical insurance, and it’s certainly going to make my minimum wage challenge more challenging.
When I started this challenge, I looked at the different health insurance policies. I knew I was paying more than I had to and I wanted to see what else was available out there that might be at a more reasonable price point. Looking at high deductible plans, I could get insurance at about $150 a month. Still quite a bit for someone on a minimum wage, but two-thirds less than what I’m currently paying. Since I am relatively healthy, I could probably get away with a high deductible policy and have some extra money to spend on other things. The reality is that if I have any type of major health issue, I am going to end up losing this challenge no matter what type of health insurance I have.
Even though the savings would likely be much more, I simply wasn’t willing to change my current health insurance for this challenge. I also wasn’t willing to go without any insurance which is what a lot of people on minimum wage do. I personally view basic health insurance as something that is far more important to me than anything I could ever buy. I would give up my car without a thought before I would give this up (which may be something that I have to do depending on how things progress with this challenge).
Even though the health insurance is quite expensive, I feel that I can make the budget work. This choice means I’m going to have to give up a lot of other things I could have used that money for, but I weighed the options and decided that for me, this was the best action to take. What would have been your choice on health insurance in this situation?
To make matters worse, on my way home from Point Reyes yesterday, the clicking clutch came back, and this time louder than before. While I really would like to do some more traveling while I am house sitting, I’m wary that if the clutch goes out while I’m exploring, that could be a very expensive situation to try to resolve since I would be forced to get back to the house no matter what to take care of the dogs, not to mention having to get the clutch repaired in the middle of nowhere. For that reason, I’ve decided to cancel any more travel on this trip (it’s very disappointing that I couldn’t have it taken care of when I went in before travelling here). I’m not real happy about it, but it’s the financially smart thing to do. I will take it in and have it checked out as soon as this house sitting job is over. The good news is that I should be able to get a lot done on my writing over the next few days.
(Photo courtesy of Bill David Brooks)