First of all, calm down. Before you immediately scroll down to the comment section to berate me, let me “speak.”
I know you’ve come to regard me as a bit of a financial goddess who is just so wise in the ways of handling all things money. You think, “she saves, she budgets, she avoided debt, she pays bills on time, she crunches numbers and dabbles in investing, what could possibly be missing?!” Look, we all make mistakes.
My biggest mistake? I rarely utilize my health insurance.
I am woefully ignorant about my policy and the nuances of health insurance. In August of 2012, I was promoted from intern to a full-time position with my current company. The prospect getting health insurance almost eclipsed my excitement over a regular paycheck, especially because my company pays for our insurance. Not partially subsidizes it, pays for it. In full.
Granted, our salaries are a tad lower than industry standard because of our benefits package. We also get four weeks of vacation the first year and five weeks subsequent years. For international readers that may not sound strange, but in the States that’s double of what most companies offer entry-level employees.
If my company pays for my health insurance, then how can I consider it my biggest waste of money?
Well, in the 15 months I’ve been insured I’ve used my insurance twice. Once to go to the dentist and the other to get an annual skin screening from the dermatologist. I have incredibly Irish skin which needs to be monitored with hawk-like eyes. By my count, I could’ve used my insurance for all available doctor visits (I believe 5) before April when the calendar reset and already be in my second round.
Neither of my visits thus far cost me a penny. Not even a co-pay. From my incredibly rudimentary understanding of my policy, if I go on a “wellness visit” (aka a trip to the doctor just to make sure I’m a-okay) then it’s covered by my insurance. If I go to the doctor because I’m ailing and need to be fixed, then I’d have to pony up. * To clarify, I would still have insurance, I would just have to also pay the co-pay/ deductible.
(Just made a quick call to fact check this with my very dear and very wise friend who has a masters in public health. Wellness visits are typically covered by insurance because they are preventative and it’s cheaper up front for the insurance companies to keep you in good health than pay to make you better after the fact.)
By not utilizing my insurance for all of my available wellness visits, I feel that I’m throwing away money, free money. It’s as if my company said, “Hey Erin, here is a bonus check” and I respond, “Just toss it in the shredder guys!”
The scuttlebutt around the office is that our insurance is still really great when you are going in for more than a wellness visit. And a few of the glasses wearers seem satisfied with what’s covered during their trips to the optometrist.
Why haven’t I been utilizing my insurance?
Laziness (just like those who don’t set up a company-matched 401k!). There really is no other excuse. Scheduling appointments via ZocDoc takes all of 7 minutes; including the search of doctors near my office, filtering by those who take my insurance and seeing their availability. I don’t even have to pick up the phone and speak to a human.
This self-deprecating rant has convinced me to go book my next wellness visit. Right after I finish watching some TV…painting my nails…cleaning my the bathroom…okay fine I’ll just do it!
Do you take advantage of all your wellness visits? Do you even understand your insurance policy?
Interested in another great read about health? Check out If Obesity is a Disease, Then I’m Harry Freaking Potter
[Image taken from Flickr]