MARCH 31, 2014 marks the deadline for enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace. Of the 3 million individuals eligible in Texas for enrollment only 9% have thus far enrolled.
A minor cost of not having health insurance is imposed by the insurance marketplace itself which for 2014 is 1% of your yearly income or $95, whichever is greater.
The major cost of not having health insurance is potential financial devastation and even bankruptcy. The USA remains the only developed nation where one may experience financial bankruptcy due to health care cost. One may work for 40 years, lose one's job before Medicare age and incur a health event which devastates a lifetime of savings and retirement security.
We seem to have forgotten that a primary reason Medicare was introduced in 1965 was because of such occurrences. After working for decades, sometimes loyally for one company, millions of retirees were living their golden years in despair, depression and financial destitution due to health care bankruptcy.
The single act by President Johnson of signing Medicare into law in 1965, transformed the 65 and older demographic from one of financial destitution to one of the most affluent and politically active demographics in America.
Political predilection aside, the issue before 3 million Texans is one of having health coverage versus not having health coverage. Given the personal risk of not having health insurance, I urge enrollment.
By Rajesh Harrykissoon, MD