Fortunately for me, I had taken the necessary precautions and signed up for a personal health care plan. Still, I vividly remember sitting in the hospital's emergency room--my upper spine rife with agony from a slipped disc--how differently things might have fared had I not come across a post-it note that said, simply, "don't forget to call about insurance."
The $1,000 deductible that I endured, literally, paled in comparison to what could have been a bill that easily exceeded the $35,000 mark. Full spinal MRIs are not cheap. A four-night stay in a Chicago hospital is anything but cheap. And everything that they do in between, from food and medications, to nursing services and physical therapy is€¦well, you see where this is going. It's not just about emergency room visits and medical tests, though. When you were under your former employer's health care plan, it's safe to assume that you didn't think twice about making a doctor's appointment, seeing a specialist, having surgery or getting your medications filled like clockwork. Why would you? It was all covered. When you're on your own and that shiny insurance card in your wallet no longer works, you're responsible for every dime.
Here are a few of the questions every budding entrepreneur should ask themselves, ideally, before making the transition to new business owner:
Do I really need health insurance?
In one word, absolutely. It's simply not a good enough excuse to assume that you're invincible. The reason we fail to dwell on past illness and injury is because, for most working professionals, health insurance makes them easily forgettable. When you're not covered, though, those bills come and will continue to come until they are paid in full. Not only can this leave you massively in debt to a hospital, it also interferes with your peace-of-mind and ability to concentrate on growing your company. In the worst case scenario, if you were to suffer a catastrophic injury, you could end up losing everything you've worked so hard for.
Am I covered through my spouse's policy?
If you're married you may have some coverage under his or her policy, but your employees certainly won't. It has been statistically proven that one of the best ways to attract and retain the most qualified and talented employees is by offering a health insurance plan that they can have confident in. If you plan to hire a staff, at some point you will have no choice but to consider group health coverage. One of the best ways to do save time and money is by learning as much as you can when selecting a policy for yourself. This will give you a better feel for the provider's timeliness, customer service, claim responsiveness, coverage guidelines and policies.
What type of health insurance do I need?
This is where knowing an honest and experienced broker really becomes beneficial. There are many important considerations to take into account, and overlooking just one can be costly down the road. Am I better off with a low copay or a low deductible? Does my policy cover prescription medications? How much will my out-of-pocket expenses be? Will I be covered if I have a pre-existing condition? Can I choose my own doctor? What is the difference between a PPO and an HMO? How can I tell if I've selected the right policy? These are just a few of the fundamental issues that can be easily addressed by working with a local, experienced broker.
The point to be made here is that by asking yourself a few simple questions, answering honestly, and having the forethought to speak to someone who genuinely knows how insurance works, you can ensure that you, your assets and the foreseeable future of your new business are protected from life's unceasing supply of chance accidents and illnesses. For my neighbors in Chicago or Illinois who are reading this article and still scratching their heads, I would strongly urge you to consider the company who ultimately helped me make sense of it all, Premier Financial Insurance. My experience with them was extremely positive and I ended up saving close to 40% of what I had originally been quoted.
Their website offers a lot of helpful resources for new business owners, as well as a tool that allows you to get a free quote and see all your options. Visit http://www.premierfinancialinsurance.net and get started today!