Americans are in a weird place as it concerns health care, especially the Affordable Care Act. One party’s trying to kill it for the nearly 30 million people that signed up for it last year. The other party wants to keep it and improve it, but might be fighting an uphill battle that depends a lot on what happens this coming November.

This isn’t a political discussion; it’s a financial discussion. One of the biggest issues for the ACA involves funding. This includes a tax on younger people who can opt out but still have to pay into it. Without this resource, it’s hard to fund the entire thing. Yet, young people, like everyone else, should have health insurance, no matter what, just as I’ve been saying for the longest time that they should have life insurance.

2008.11.25 - The physician
Adrian Clark via Compfight

I’ve covered it before, such as this post titled 3 Reasons Skipping Health Insurance Is Not A Risk You Should Take and 4 Reasons You Need To Look At Your Medical Bill. Everyone knows health care is expensive; some have insurance, some don’t, and many are mad at the government and its health care bill.

I’m not. As a health care finance consultant, I know the benefits of having health insurance. I understand that it seems expensive to pay for, and I’m not going to deny that. For half of the population it’s either an expense they’re not going to need yearly, which means you paid money and got nothing in return. But for the other half, having health insurance probably saved their financial lives. It only takes a moment’s notice for a disaster to occur; I’m going to make my reasoning simple as to why you need to consider having health insurance.

First, did you know that over 60% of the American population that files for bankruptcy has a significant medical bill on their list of obligations? Most people don’t try to take advantage of the posted options for trying to set up payment arrangements or try to get reductions on their bills, and there’s this truth which says people feel better later on, always find more fault with their health care treatment after the fact, thus don’t like how much they’ve been billed.

Back in the day, medical debt barely touched your credit report or your credit score. These days medical debt of all sized are counted against you as more health care facilities are reporting these debts. Also, these days if what you owe is more than $10,000, which is easily reached, then it becomes part of a bankruptcy filing.

Second, did you know that even if you file bankruptcy and the court accepts it that it doesn’t mean the next time you need significant health care services that your local hospital has to take care of you, nor any of the other hospitals close by? They all have to provide emergency coverage, but what if you break your leg and then need physical therapy afterwards? They’ll all run your credit report and some of them won’t take a chance on you because you’re a horrible risk. At best you’d better hope you were in a car accident and that no fault pays for it, otherwise you’re in trouble.

Third, let’s look at how much health insurance might cost you. If you shoot for a traditional Blue Cross plan it could cost you anywhere between $7,500 and $20,000 a year depending on where you live. That $20,000 is probably for a family plan in a state like California, and I won’t deny that’s pretty steep.

Compare it to the cost of a mid level emergency room visit, attach to that the cost of a potential surgical procedure and just 2 overnight stays in a hospital… In some large cities across the country you’ve already hit $20,000 because all those things include incidentals like supplies and pharmaceuticals.

Fourth, even high deductible plans end up being less than $15,000. That might sound like a lot, but inpatient bills can be out of sight. It’s easier to negotiate a fair payment plan on a lower dollar amount than something astronomical.

There are lots of insurance choices, although they’re getting more limited as the federal government has started withholding funds to help plans offset costs. Still, it’s protection that everyone should have, and in most states there are options that aren’t that expensive, and you might even qualify for a discount on premiums.

As with most things, not having health insurance comes with risks on both ends. If you’re healthy and you don’t take a lot of chances with your health, such as exercising, going out to dinner, etc, where something could happen to you, then you’re probably fine waiting on health care coverage. However, if you like to do anything where you’re not always in 100% control, such as walking outside and getting an animal bite, or like riding bikes and hit a patch of loose gravel, or pretty much doing anything else not covered by compensation or no fault, paying for some kind of health insurance will save you lots of money in the long run and give you a bit of peace of mind.
 

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Let’s face this fact; there are a lot of jobs that have been eliminated that just aren’t coming back. Nope, nada; it ain’t happening. Let’s face another fact; manufacturing in America is dwindling, and there’s not going to be a renaissance for that either.


FotografieLink (CC0), Pixabay

We can’t compete in this global marketplace with the rates that countries such as India and China are willing to accept. That, and not having to deal with unions, is going to kill large manufacturing in America; it pretty much has already. I don’t like that, but that’s just the way it is.

Also, everyone isn’t suited to work even the menial, low paying jobs, or jobs that aren’t so menial, but don’t carry a lot of status. Seeing what’s happening to food producers across the country who are having problems finding people to help them with their fruits and vegetables is proof of this.

I think of myself as someone who physically couldn’t handle stocking shelves on a long term basis, or even working 7 to 8 hours five days a week at McDonald’s. You do a lot of standing on a job like that, and my back would only last a few days; I’m a bit too old for that. Cleaning and maintenance; forget it. Some people might have the skills, and might actually enjoy it, but not everyone does.

What’s left? In the book The Millionaire Maker by Loral Langemeier, who shows up on a lot of TV shows and was part of The Secret, she talked about the need for people to take serious stock of their financial condition by figuring out how to generate more income. What she recommends is that everyone look deep within themselves and figure out what skills they have to work for themselves and bring extra money into the household.

This isn’t a new concept. America was pretty much built by people who had more than one skill, and whether or not they had an actual job to go to they could and would do other things to make money. These days many younger people call it “the hustle”.

Self employment has always been a big thing; few people ever make it to the top earnings by consistently working for others. In her book, she talks about people who hadn’t thought about skills they had, that either came as a result of the jobs they did, or as the result of hobbies they had. She also told some amazing stories.

One man in the book was a teacher, and she helped him to realize that he could do tutoring after school to make some extra money. Instead, it turned out to be so popular that he gave up teaching, turned it into a full time business, hired other people and paid them a portion to do some tutoring all over the city. There was another story of a lady who designed websites because she’d learned those skills at her job, and she was able to turn that into a nice part time job, and also, later on, turned it into her new profession.

There are many projects people have need for that they’re not qualified to do. Some of them are small while other projects are for large corporations.


As it regards small projects or potential employees, some of those people go looking for help in their local small sales newspapers or on sites like Craigslist. You can put an ad on either of these, offering services that someone might be able to use. Back in 2002, I put an ad in our local weekly sales newspaper that ran 4 weeks as someone who could help people set up budgets; it wasn’t overly lucrative but I got a few clients here and there, one of whom I still have after all these years.

As it regards big corporations, what I’ve found is that many organizations spend most of their money on people who can work their business but don’t think about other things their business might need until a problem surfaces. If you can figure out a way to keep your name or business in the back of their mind it could prove to be lucrative. Something like that worked for me in 2005 when I was contacted to do a 6-week project for a local health center after being gone 10 years because the CEO heard I was independent and needed my services.

The truth is that many unemployed people in this country should take the time while sitting on unemployment to not only be looking for another job, but trying to find out what they have inside themselves that not only might be able to bring in some money but could turn it into a career.

Here in the Syracuse area, we have an organization (I’m on the board) called the Professional Consultant’s Association of Central New York. Our use of the word “consultant” basically means anyone who works as an independent and offers services more than products as the base of their business. We’re not an employment agency, and we’re not a tip club. What we are is an organization that, if you’re looking to learn skills to help you work independently, or are looking for a group where many people before you may have gone through what you’re going through now, support and education.

The thing is that most cities or areas have similar groups like ours and often the first one or two meetings are free, or charge a small fee. It gives you a chance to not only test the organization but to see if what other consultant’s tell you about what they do is something you might be interested in trying for yourself. It’s also an opportunity to network with people who might know someone else who might be able to help you figure things out.

It’s up to you to think about your own self and whatever skills you might possess. You lose nothing by thinking about it, and you probably lose nothing if you choose to give it a try (minimal costs might be marketing, buying a domain and building a website, etc).

Anything you do that’s a positive step forward only brings positive things into your life. Even if they don’t work out exactly as planned, you’ll have gained valuable information on yourself, and who knows, you might even succeed. You owe it to yourself to think of ways to be more independent, even if you eventually decide to keep working a regular job.

Give working for yourself a chance; what can it hurt?
 

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If you are a nurse or a trained technician that works in a hospital or clinic and you’re getting tired or bored because of what you deal with daily, there’s an option you might consider. There are companies that are known as traveling nurses services that will contract with you to go to hospitals or clinics across the country that need your services.


sasint / Pixabay

It sounds like a good gig, and in some ways it is. But there are some realities that most people don’t know about until they get into it that are negatives. You’re not going to find this information anywhere else online; I know because I checked. So, I’m going to give you the down and dirty of working for organizations like this so that you know how to protect yourself or what’s coming if you decide this is something you want to try.
Read more…

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