Why Health Insurance is NOT like Auto Insurance

Here’s a question for you?  Is “Health Insurance” the same as “Auto/Home-owners Insurance?”

Well, they both contain the word “Insurance” so it seems like they must have something in common and (at least here in the USA) they DO have some similarities, but if you use the same mentality for both, you’re not just wasting your money, you’re risking your life.

An auto or homeowners policy will (hopefully) step in and pay for expenses if you are in an accident or have a fire, robbery or other covered event.  If you ever DO need that help, you may find your rates increasing for years to come.  If you DON’T ever “file a claim”, hopefully your rates will decrease or at least not rise as much.  No guarantees though.

But, if you think to yourself “Hey, this house would be a lot nicer and more comfortable to live in if it got fixed up.  I wonder how much my Homeowner’s Insurance will pay to help with that?”  I’m guessing the answer will be “Nothing.”  Well, what about improving the foundation so the house might survive a flood?  Surely THAT would be covered because it would reduce the claims cost if there WAS a flood!  Still “No” but also, if you’re that naive, I have MORE bad news for you.  Unless you specifically purchased a SEPARATE “flood” policy, your home insurance probably won’t pay ANYTHING for flood damage.  Bummer huh? 

BORING!  What is your point?

My point is this, Health Insurance not ONLY covers you for terrible circumstances like illness or injury, it (should) help you STAY HEALTHY and even get HEALTHIER!  Unlike my example of improving your home’s structure, your health insurance will cover routine annual check-ups where your doctor can help identify potential issues and prescribe treatments or medications that could treat (or even cure!) ailments.  But ONLY IF YOU USE YOUR BENEFITS!

So, don’t treat health like your car!  Don’t say “well, that’s just a minor issue, if I report it, they’ll raise my rates and it might not even be enough to reach my deductible.”  See your doctor REGULARLY and ANYTIME you think something might be wrong.

Your “rates” won’t go-up and UN-like fixing a dent in a car, if you can identify and start treating a problem EARLIER, it will probably cost MUCH LESS (both in money and especially in SUFFERING) than if you ignore it.

This goes for both “routine” services as well as conditions that might, at first, seem positive.  For example, you haven’t changed your workouts or diet significantly, but over the last month you’ve lost a BUNCH of weight.  That’s awesome, right?  Way to go you!  Um, maybe.  But unexpected weight loss could be a symptom of something SERIOUS.  DON’T get scared, talk to your doctor.  It might be nothing or just a change in your hormones, but even if it DID turn out to be a problem, you can bet the problem will be easier to treat the sooner it’s identified.

So, the answer to my question is “NO”.  Health Insurance is MORE valuable if used.  Other insurance can only (partially?) restore something that is lost.  They don’t make YOU (and your family) better now and they don’t help you live longer to enjoy those other things. 

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