This is what my friend Kelley heard on the other end of the line when, Matt, her husband (boyfriend at the time), called to tell her he was in a motorcycle accident.
In the summer of 2011, Matt was interning at Chrysler and about to start his senior year at Michigan State. Earlier that year, Matt was taken off his parent’s health insurance plan. Because he was still in school and only working part-time, he decided to not sign up for health insurance. Paying for rent and tuition was on his mind more than healthcare.
One day, he went out for an innocent motorcycle ride with a friend and in a split second everything changed. A car pulled out in front of him and clipped the front of his bike throwing him into the median. Matt managed to avoid any broken bones or head trauma. Road rash and a totaled bike were the extent of his injuries. The ambulance came and he was rushed to the hospital.
Once he was treated by a physician, he called Kelley to let her know he was okay. The first thing that came to Kelley’s mind was the fact he did not have health insurance and how would he pay for the medical bills he was likely to incur.
In the state of Michigan, an accident between a motorcycle and another vehicle, auto-insurance of the “party at fault” foots the bill. However, if there is an accident between two motorcycles, auto-insurance does not cover the claim.
In Matt’s case, he “got lucky.” Not only could the accident have been a lot worse, he may have been left with a pile of medical bills with no way of paying them.
I often get a lot of questions from friends and family asking “How do I know what plan is right for me?” or “I’m healthy, do I need to have health insurance?” I can easily list all the reasons why they need healthcare, but at the end of the day, I cannot make the decision for them. We have to think about what our needs are currently and think about where they might be throughout the next year.
Kelley and Matt’s story is a perfect example. You have to be thinking about the “What if’s.”