One of the things I’ve been worried about with my upcoming move is that, for the first time in my adult life, I won’t have a job — and that means no health insurance.
I don’t know a lot about the Affordable Care Act or the exchange (yet), but as I start to do research, I’ve found myself getting all kinds of advice from people, mostly wondering if it’s really worth purchasing insurance if it’s only until I find a job.
“Do you really need insurance?”
“What if you went a few months without?”
“Just don’t do anything stupid!”
This idea terrified me. I plan on hiking and adventuring. I can’t be without health insurance!
But then I finally got some good advice from an entrepreneur friend in DC:
“You have to negotiate your own relationship with risk.”
What I think is a big deal (having health insurance) isn’t always the same level of risk for someone else. You have to decide what you are comfortable with, not everyone else.
Deciding where you’re comfortable taking risks and where you aren’t willing to compromise is a great way to stay comfortable with your situation and your choices.
For me, health insurance is a must.
I’m just not willing to risk going into insane medical debt because I know I’ll be outside and exploring — things happen! And I want to know that I’ll be protected financially. But I am perfectly content to take a few months away from working to really figure out what I want to do next with my career.
So there it is: I’m willing to risk my fiscal stability by not having a steady income and living on savings for a bit, but refuse to fool around with crazy medical debt (thanks US health care system!) These are the risks I’m willing to take, or not take.
This realization was really important for me. It made me realize what I wasn’t crazy, I just have a different relationship with risk than some of the people who were offering me advice. Maybe they would be perfectly happy with risking a few months without health insurance — so for them, the advice didn’t seem so crazy.
But I know myself, and being comfortable with my with potential risks has definitely helped me better prepare for my move.
Health insurance is going to happening. (And apparently, since I’ll be unemployed with no income, it probably won’t be that expensive!)
And I’ll definitely have a buddy with me when I drive across country. (I think I would have been fine on my own, but this was a risk my mom wasn’t comfortable with, and who am I to make my mother worry for a week? Plus, road trip!)
And I’m sure that after I make the big move, there will be more things I have to decide. Am I comfortable hiking alone? Would I be okay trying to fix things in the house? Or even just the deciding what outdoor challenges I’m willing to take on.
Life is all about risks — they keep us alive! But it’s also about choosing the risks we are comfortable taking and being okay with walking away from the ones we aren’t.