Health Insurance Holding You Back?

Power is back on!  What an incredible 39th Birthday gift that was.  10 full days without power.  It was rough, but a really great time to reflect on what is important in life and what we actually NEED as opposed to WANT when it comes to living a fulfilled life.

I spent some time talking with some friends the other day who are dreamers, much like myself.  Now, there is a difference between a dreamer who throws out ideas without ever following through and a dreamer who slowly claws their way toward that dream;  I hope to be the latter, I know my friends are.

One of my friends is completing his first year of a “mini-retirement”, a la Timothy Ferris, author of The 4-Hour Workweek; an important read for anyone interested in doing more with less.  My favorite chapter in the book deals with the idea of a “mini-retirement”; forgetting about the macro idea of an end-of-career retirement and focusing on more frequent stretches of non-work.  Without going into the greatest detail here, check out an interview with Ferris on one of my favorite blogs here.

So back to my friend, a “retired” lawyer taking a year or two off to reflect on his life and decide which direction he wants to go next career-wise (“definitely not law”, he states).

Now, I know what you are thinking:

“Of course a lawyer who makes all that money….sure he can take some time off!”

Well, maybe, but not really.  As you will see, the idea of a mini-retirement requires some sort of saving but not as much as you think.  Read the interview with Ferris and feel free to comment here.

My friend’s biggest challenge, so he says: finding insurance for his family in the meantime.

Now, how much does that suck??

But when I think about it, it dawns on me that thousands (if not millions) of people in this nation may be stifled from learning new trades in order to realize their full potential as human beings (and thus as workers!) simply because they will lose their health insurance!  Why has this not been at the forefront of the argument for Universal Health?  Hey, I am not going to go into whether or not I agree with Obamacare, but the essential question here is a sound one:

What is the potential of the American Worker (and all of humankind) when they are not bogged down by accepting (or staying in) a job simply for the health benefits?

I can tell you right now that I could take a mini retirement at the end of this year and try to meet my full potential as an Executive Director of my non-profit if it did not mean dropping my insurance and paying $1500 a month for my family to have a plan.  If I choose the mini-retirement, I am taking a huge financial risk…one that, as it stands now, is too much to bear.  Thus, the non-profit will have to wait one more year to realize it’s full potential.  That, my friends, is simply a shame.

It will be interesting to see how this changes in the next couple of years with new laws coming down the pike and more players in the insurance game.  How about you?  Are your life decisions affected by health insurance?  Would you do anything different professionally (i.e. take more risks, learn a new trade) if health insurance was not a factor? Comment here!


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