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Saturday, November 7, 2009

The alternative was to have no insurance: Betting on good health

Carl Arrington, 58, is a free-lance writer and chef in New York. When his company closed shop nine years ago, at first he chose to pay for extended coverage under COBRA. But the high premiums forced him into a difficult decision: he dropped the insurance.

"The alternative was to have no insurance, which was so scary in the beginning," he said. "And then I decided, look, when you have insurance you're betting that you're going to get sick."

He decided to change his lifestyle. He stopped eating meat, and cut excess sugar from his diet. He began to exercise, eventually losing 40 pounds.

He still sees his physician annually for checkups, but he avoids screening tests like colonoscopies. If doctors discovered something that needed further treatment, he said, he probably could not afford it anyway.

"I am in control of my health, and I'm not afraid of dying. What more do you need?" he asks.

Advice: Stay healthy – and work for universal health insurance.

Read another story about a limitation of the COBRA safety net.

Thanks to Karen Barrow for the source article in the New York Times of Nov. 4, and to Alex di Suvero.

1 comment:

Kathleen Rokavec, MD said...

While I applaud the practice of taking control of your health and changing lifestyle, I would caution anyone considering this option. Accidents happen - I have seen it many times.
The sad part of this is that catastrophic health insurance is not available. One could consider a high-deductible plan that would, in essence, be similar to a catastrophic policy--but these will be eliminated under the new healthcare plan.