Insurance and the Annual Physical

Well, I'm not a fan of the yearly (or bi-yearly) physical, but I hadn't had one since well before I got pregnant with my daughter, who is now 16 months. Given that I conceived her somewhere around April 2005, and considering my usual reluctance to visit a doctor if I'm not sick, I figured I probably hadn't had an overall review of my health since at least early 2004. So, it was time for a "tune-up".

That got me thinking about how important it is to review your health insurance coverage from time to time.

When young and very healthy, we might tend to get just basic health insurance with limits on the coverage. After all, you're never sick, right? If you are single and taking precautions, you're not thinking about prenatal or obstetrical care. No one who is under 30 is thinking about cancer or other serious illness. So, the basic insurance is all you have.

While this is likely a reasonable position to take, it does make sense to review your coverage and think about where you might be in 5 or 10 years -- and plan ahead. Before you ever get pregnant, you should have insurance that will provide the right kind of care. In another example, you might want to consider getting coverage for glasses and eye care, if you are approaching 40. (Bifocals -- as I've reluctantly discovered -- can be in the cards for a large majority of us, once we pass the magic age of 45.) This is where thinking ahead can help.

It's not all about health insurance either. The younger and healthier you are now, the less it costs for other types of insurance, like life insurance and critical illness insurance. For instance, the sooner you apply for life insurance, the cheaper your premiums and the more likely that you can lock them in for a longer period, without a medical examination required. However, it's not just about coverage for your dependents if you die; it's also about coverage to benefit you and your family if a health crisis arises. If you are a stay-at-home parent, and don't qualify for disability insurance, critical illness can provide needed cash to cover daycare for the kids and other illness related costs.  

The doctor told me he had no concerns about my health at this time. I'm definitely on the right track with diet and exercise. My weight is decreasing; my blood pressure is 120/80; and my various parts all seem to be working to the "manufacturer's specs"! While I'm still this healthy, I may just look into some additional coverage for me -- in case there's a time when I'm not so healthy, and I need it.

Monique L. Attinger 

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