It?s My Choice to Be Uninsured

It's my choice to be uninsuredAshli Norton, 24, of Atlanta is far from alone in her lack of health insurance coverage. She is one of the 13.2 million uninsured 20-somethings who must pay out of pocket?or go untreated?for their health care needs.

Because she is the owner of a small business, Ashli would have to purchase insurance independently. She decided to forgo this spending in favor of investing money in her company, SimpleLeap Software.

Ashli knows she is playing a kind of health care roulette. Her strategy is to remain as healthy as possible so she doesn?t need to go to the doctor, but she has not put aside any money to cover catastrophic medical expenses, should they occur. Yet, she does not want to have to purchase health insurance if she doesn?t want it, and doesn?t want her business penalized for not offering it.

Here is Ashli?s story:

My business partner and I have looked into health insurance numerous times. It would cost about $150-$200 a month each. I know it is good deal but at the same time I look at is as well, that?s one more piece of advertising for my company, or that?s some marketing. So I just always put it in the back of my head. But I always know too that something could happen.

I actually had to go to the doctor. It was something very small, a urinary tract infection, but I ended up going to the emergency room for it. I got two bills and it totaled around $2,000. So if I would have just had insurance and constantly been seeing a doctor, then maybe it wouldn?t have been such a big deal.

Before I started my business I had a full-time job and health insurance. When I started my company I always thought, ?Okay well, I am just going to get it (on my own).? And then cost kept coming up and I just didn?t do it. But having to go to the hospital just that one time made me nervous about not having health insurance.

Right now I don?t get regular check-ups and only 1 or 2 percent of it is because of a lack of time. Mostly it is because I don?t have health coverage. I actually found a place where I can get a check-up for $80 a visit. I am kind of glad that I found it and not glad that I found it, because now I am just looking at it as a another solution other than getting insured.

I feel insurance is not preventive. Maybe if they could throw in something like my gym costs with my health insurance, I would definitely get insured.

I feel like the government doesn?t really need to get involved. This is my health. I do appreciate they are trying to help people that don?t have it, but at the same time I feel I am taking on the risk. I do understand how much it costs the government to take care of uninsured people, but I also realize that I made a choice and so I deserve my $2,000 hospital bill.

As a business owner, I feel I need some incentive to purchase coverage. I don?t like the penalties that they are talking about. I don?t like the fact that you can get fined for not being insured. Maybe if they could incentivize it instead of penalizing it that would really help me get insurance.

We are hoping to start hiring people this year. But because of the penalty and insurance requirements, I will just contract people and have them remain self-employed and let them pay their own insurance.

I know my age is part of the reason I think this way. I don?t think I will be risking it if I had children or were pregnant. But since I am 24 and semi-healthy, I do say, ?I can kind of put this off.?

NEXT: What would health insurance reform mean for Ashli?

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