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Ask Dave

Health Insurance is Essential

Jill wants to know whether and how to buy health insurance for her family. Dave thinks it's irresponsible to not have health insurance.

QUESTION: Jill in Springfield wants to know whether and how to buy health insurance for her family. She and her husband have $2,600 in income each month. They have two children and could buy insurance through her husband’s job, but it meant not having necessities. Dave thinks it’s irresponsible to not have health insurance.

ANSWER: You’re playing Russian roulette. A major event would simply bankrupt you. As far as your kids go, you couldn’t get your kids care. With Medicaid, you also aren’t going to get the care.

I think your husband needs to work more because I think it’s irresponsible for your kids not to have health insurance. It’s right up there next to feeding them to make sure that they’re cared for. I think a family of four could probably get a high-deductible major medical policy—in other words, it’s not going to cover for trips to the pediatrician, it’s just going to cover if something really bad happens, which is the thing I’m most concerned about. You can work your way out of a $3,000 or $4,000 problem eventually. But a $300,000 problem, you couldn’t. That’s what’s scaring me. I think you could get that for $400 or $500 a month, and I think your husband is going to need to work that much to make sure that you get maybe a $5,000 deductible or a $4,000 deductible.

If everybody’s pretty healthy, I would look at a health savings account (HSA) version. You don’t necessarily have to do the savings portion of it, but that type of health insurance for a healthy young family where you’re paying your basic medical bills out of your pocket is the least expensive way to get a huge major medical policy in place. You can get some pricing, and you guys should do that so you can sit down and talk about this intelligently. But we need to create some income in this household. Him being a student and you being a full-time mom is putting your kids at risk. We’ve got to do something else to get some income into this household.

Go to and click on Health Insurance ELP (Endorsed Local Provider), and they’ll walk you through that.