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How Viable Is DIY Insurance?

By Christopher Schonberger

We've all used WebMD to self-diagnose ourselves (and then subsequently convince ourselves we had Parkinson's). We've all taken echinacea tablets and believed that maybe we'd never get sick again (at least until the next time we got sick). And some of us have "borrowed" hundreds of dollars of Ritalin from our friends instead of getting our own ADD diagnosis.

But even with these medical "shortcuts," is it really sensible to live without health insurance? Clearly, the answer is "no," because one accident could leave you in serious debt (and seriously injured). But practically speaking, many young people are unable to keep up with health care costs and are resorting to this sort of scattershot, DIY approach to keeping themselves healthy. As a recent New York Times article explain, "[They] They borrow leftover prescription drugs from friends...stretch their diabetes and asthma medicines for as long as possible and set their own broken bones."

Because "most family insurance policies cut off dependents when they turn 19 or finish college," this is the dangerous reality facing many recent grads. The story is worth reading if you don't have a job with benefits yet and need to scare yourself into realizing that insurance should be a top priority.

Remember, there are many ways to tide yourself over and cover yourself in the event of a major calamity before you can get a more comprehensive plan. Check out our articles on Getting Healthcare without a Job and Considering Short-Term Health Insurance.

For Uninsured Young Adults, Do-It-Yourself Health Care [via NYT]

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