(Note: I'm not a doctor and nothing in this post should be considered medical advice!)
On February 1, 2012, I became one of the 46 million Americans in this country without health insurance.
When I left my social work job to work fulltime as a freelance writer last August, I planned to keep coverage from my former employer through COBRA.
After a few months of that, I realized that monthly premiums cost almost as much as my rent. Also, the plan had a $2000 deductible, so it wasn't doing me much good anyway.
But actually taking the plunge was terrifying. I have a history of bipolar disorder, diabetes (resolved after weight loss surgery), and high cholesterol. My family medical history includes heart disease and breast cancer. In other words, unless I can slide into a high risk pool, I'm pretty much uninsurable.
But it was either give up the insurance or start living on a cat food diet, and my cats are not big on the concept of sharing.
If you, too, are considering ditching your health plan, the following information may be helpful.
1. Make sure you're in good health before you go.
Before I canceled my plan, I saw all of my doctors and advised them that I would be switching from insurance to private pay. My primary care physician gave me a physical, did blood work, and sent me for a mammogram--all clear.