As postgrads, one of the biggest things that we hope to get out of any employment opportunity is a benefits package that includes health insurance. Healthcare is the biggest hot-button topic in the nation right now, and the government seems to be banking on the fact that lots of healthy young people are going to get insurance and begin a lifetime of gambling against the system. That is, if they ever decide to sign up for it.
The gamble is simple. Every year, when open enrollment comes around, I bet the healthcare provider that I will either get deathly ill or horrifically injured, thereby racking up thousands of dollars in medical bills that my broke ass can’t possibly afford to pay, ultimately sticking the insurance company with the tab like some juvenile “doctor and dash” move. The insurance provider takes a bet that I’ll spend far less money than what I pay in premiums, presumably give in to my mother’s nagging, and eat less red meat, exercise more, and stop sneaking out for late night cigarettes when I go home to visit. My provider is obviously never around in early March when my New Year’s gym resolution inevitably goes down in a blazing fireball of apathy, beer and Papa John’s pizza.
Healthcare has always been a gamble, but now it’s a mandatory gamble. As a postgrad, if I’m going to gamble, I’d sure as hell like to do it in a much less respectable fashion. Craps, slots, poker, and blackjack are all available at the casino and at least there I can get drunk while I gamble away money I don’t have. You can make bets on just about anything online. If I really wanted to embrace my inner degenerate, the date of Chris Brown’s next arrest, Miley Cyrus’ first wardrobe malfunction, or Rob Ford’s next outtake are all more entertaining options than betting the government that I won’t break my leg in a golf cart accident this year.
At the same time, someone as accident prone as myself probably should not be without some sort of protective coverage. In my first job out of college, I paid out the ass for a terrible policy that I called my “in-case-I-get-hit-by-a-truck” coverage. You laugh, but it’s happened before.
Fortunately for me, health insurance applications don’t consider clumsiness a pre-existing condition, so the bookie doesn’t have to know that stitches, x-rays and electrical burn ointment will make up the bulk of my medical costs.
Instead, I just mark that I’m a healthy adult, a non-smoker (because I only smoke when I drink – I’m not a smoker), and just a social drinker (who may or may not have a dangerously active “social” life) and away I go with an premium over-under that guarantees I’ll come out ahead the first time you hear me yell “Hey y’all, watch this!”