I pay a whopping $600/month for my health insurance. I have been paying this amount or more for about 15 years now – despite the fact that the medical system not only failed to help me with pain issues, but actually caused quite a few of them.
Car insurance companies offer a “good driver” discount. I think health insurance companies should do the same.
Even when my pain was at an all-time high, I ate as healthy as possible, took as little pharmaceuticals as possible, and exercised as much as possible. At one point, about six years ago, prior to a horrific chiropractic adjustment, I was swimming up to 3 km a day, biking up to 35 km a day, and practicing yoga each morning in my living room. Often in the same day.
I have always believed that the power to heal came from within. I lived an active life despite pain. I just hadn’t yet found the dance portal to a pain-free existence.
Today I eat a hard-core pure diet – all-organic, all-vegan, no fried foods, no soy, no sweeteners of any kind, and no gluten. I also dance and otherwise exercise every single day. And I barely go to the doctor. Still, I pay $600 a month for health insurance. What The Fuck.
Let me break down why this setup is so insane: I manage pain through natural means – ie, I’m saving the health care system hundreds of thousands of dollars of expenses in surgeries, pharmaceuticals, and doctor visits for little ol’ me.
Managing pain through natural means requires a lifestyle that is all about supporting my body’s ability to self heal:
For starters, I am my own boss (ie, I freelance and run a company), and I work from home. As such, I avoid the kinds of stresses that can cause a body to fall apart. I work on my own schedule, waking up when my body is ready, taking breaks when my body needs me to. I have the energetic comfort and ease of my home environment, which specifically is set up for and revolves around me.
Instead of being rewarded for being a smarty pants and creating a lifestyle that supports my optimal healing, however, I am effectively punished for it:
- I do not have the social support of health and dental insurance. Instead, I have to shell out the aforementioned $600/month for health insurance, plus I have to pay out of pocket for all dental care.
- I do not have the social support of unemployment insurance when times are tough. And believe me, times are tough for freelance writers in this kind of economy, forget the injury-induced financial crisis I’ve been through in recent months. We’re the first to get the boot, and in a world where every Tom, Dick, and Harry are clamoring to get published, we’ve also got slim pickings if we insist on being paid fair value for our writing.
- I do not receive social security for being disabled, because I am taking excellent care of myself and therefore am living an overall pain-free, healthy life. Oh yeah, and because I make more than, you know, the average homeless person. Because, as experience has proven, one essentially must be homeless in order to qualify for social security.
Second, I do my own cooking. I eat whole grains, beans, fresh vegetables and fruits, and raw nuts and seeds. Which means I do a whole lot of washing, chopping, boiling, and the like. Which in turn means I’m always chasing after myself with a sponge, scrubbie, broom, dustpan, and mop. It’s time-consuming, let me tell you. And that takes out of the time I have available to work. Then there’s the fact that my food bill has more than doubled. Whole Foods, Gd bless it, is no Dollar Store.
Third, I exercise regularly. I dance to keep pain away, just about every day. I also bike, go on long walks, and do light weightlifting, also just about every day. And now I’m exercising my voice daily, in the interest of holistically healing (see previous blog posts for the 411 on that). These activities also take lots of time.
But again, am I rewarded for making the investment? No. To the contrary, I pay for taking excellent care of myself. The hours I invest into my health and wellness are hours I do not have available to work. It’s worth it, of course.
BUT WHY AM I EFFECTIVELY PUNISHED FOR BEING HEALTHY DESPITE ALL THE CRAP THAT HAS BEEN THROWN AT ME?
I could have collapsed anywhere along the way of my decade-plus-long journey through chronic pain hell. I could have been a burden to this society. But I’m not. Instead I not only have pulled myself up by my own damn Victorian-laced black leather bootsrtraps, but I’m also helping others do the same.
Ergo I have to pay shitloads of money for health insurance? Can someone please explain to me the logic here? It’s wicked expensive to live a life of natural healing, as it is. My monthly food bill rivals that of my health insurance. Those of us who choose the natural healing path should be rewarded, not punished.
Because as the expenses pile up, one after another, even the smartest, most savvy, and most piss-and-vinegar determined of us may face the threat of collapsing and ending up on the street. Whom exactly does that serve?