Dear Diary, Tis the season to go shopping. Armed with a list, which has been checked over more than twice, I log onto my computer in search of the perfect present. I’m looking for that gift that keeps on giving all year round. You know the one, that your friends and family wished was under their trees. The one that you researched for months. The one that will breathe life into your heart and home. What big buy am I about to make? I’m purchasing a health insurance plan. I work for a small nonprofit, and my coworkers and I are shopping for health insurance that will best fit our families. We have reviewed Healthcare.gov and compared all of our options. We have from now until February 15, when the open enrollment period closes, to make up our minds. Fifteen years ago, health insurance wasn’t even on my radar. I was in my twenties and invincible, so I thought. I survived hanging out in overcrowded clubs and eating greasy, fried foods in the middle of the night. The television station I worked for didn’t offer up a plan, and I didn’t go out and find out. Luckily, I never had a health problem during that time. But as we age, we have more aches and pains. To take preventative measures, I’ve started to run again–well, speed walk. And I even joined a gym. OK, the 5K was over the summer, but I hadn’t hit the pavement for years, so I’m going to pat myself on the back here! Now, more informed and more responsible, I must ensure that I’m around for my daughter, and that she’s happy and healthy. The more I know about the Affordable Care Act, the better prepared I am to make smart decisions about my family’s coverage. Here’s how I’m making an informed decision. 1. I Learned the Facts. You would think most uninsured people are unemployed. That’s so not the case! According to research, almost 80 percent of uninsured people are in working families, but are either not offered health insurance benefits, cannot afford to pay their portion of the cost, or can afford it, but have chosen not to have it. When I first started out as a journalist, I lived check to check, so health insurance unfortunately didn’t make the cut when I cut checks each month. 2. I Learned the Lingo. Once I knew a little more about health care and why reform matters, I needed to know exactly what I was buying. Be sure to learn the lingo and the meaning of deductibles, copays, premiums and maximum out-of-pocket expenses. That way, you can know more about the kinds of things you see doctors for, get prescriptions for, or have operations for. 3. I Learned a Lesson. Since becoming a mom, I’ve underwent two surgeries. If I wasn’t insured, I probably would have put it off. Something that seemed so minor turned into being a bigger deal, and if I didn’t get it checked out, my condition would have worsened. And worse yet, it would have impacted my ability to raise my little girl. I wasn’t on my death bed–Thank God–but I was in a lot of pain and suffered from fatigue. Yes eventually, I would have gotten the surgeries, but I may not have recovered from the huge debt without the safety net of insurance. This is just one reason why I can’t procrastinate. Caring for not only my child, but myself as well, is priority, unlike my twenties. Hey DFTM Fam–Are you scheduling a trip to the Marketplace this holiday season? How are you prioritizing your health? Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.