Thursday, August 10, 2006

Researchers reveal two paths to living a longer, healthier, sexier, richer life: get insured and get married - PART I (Get insured)

Research abounds that promises eating well, exercising regularly, getting sufficient sleep and indulging (in almost everything) in moderation can extend and improve one's life. Apparently, two more keys to living longer and better are financial and legal: getting insured and getting married.

PART I (Get insured)

The more than 45 million Americans without [health and medical] coverage will get sick more, earn less and die earlier than those with insurance. Here's where to find help if you're caught without it.
SOURCE: Personal finance expert Liz Pulliam Weston. (August 2000). "A survival guide for the uninsured" - MSN Money"
CONTEXT: Ms. Weston's article caught my eye because I frequently encounter people who are under- and uninsured. They include the usual suspects (e.g., starving artists and entrepreneurs, dislocated workers, poor people and those in high-risk categories) as well as some who surprised me (i.e., some well-heeled celebrities and business moguls).

REVIEW: This article highlights the gory reasons why lacking sufficient health coverage puts people in precarious positions and why large and increasing numbers are woefully underinsured. The read is easy - if discomfiting - and, as the included blurb states, offers extremely helpful resources and survival strategies.

RELATED READING: In addition to writing for MSN Money, personal finance expert Liz Pulliam Weston has published two books: Deal with Your Debt and Your Credit Score: How to Fix, Protect and Improve the 3-Digit Number that Shapes Your Financial Future. Other books addressing keywords: health insurance for dummies live longer medicare medicaid are listed here.

PERSONAL TESTIMONIAL: Several years ago, I was crossing a busy city street on foot when a big boat of a car piloted by an unlicensed driver plowed into me. The car weighed 1 1/2 tons, unladen; I barely moved the scale past 100 pounds, soaking wet. Although I was injured and went into shock, it didn't escape me that I was lying on a double line midway between one of the best and one of the worst hospitals in town, and that the EMTs decided where (and perhaps whether or not) to transport me based on my personal health insurance plan. Blessedly, my group plan was top of the line and covered high quality, soup-to-nuts care.

Interestingly, although the offending driver's and my auto insurance policies actually covered my medical costs, it was the contents of my personal health insurance card that determined how I was handled by the healthcare system. That surprised me, because victims of vehicular accidents, at least those who carry New York State auto insurance, are covered by their auto insurance policies even when not driving.

NEXT: PART II (Get married)