I’m skeptical of the government’s ability to provide quality healthcare. Imagine if going to the doctor were like going to the DMV: long lines, poor customer service, that dirty feeling when you finally get out. Scary. And do you see how much the government already takes out of your paycheck? It would make more sense to be able to use that tax money in a way that benefits you, individually, instead of letting the government regulate it. I don’t trust the government that much, no matter who’s in charge.

As an alternative healthcare practitioner, I see the effects of our failed system on a daily basis. I hear my clients saying things like, “I need to go to the dentist, but I don’t have insurance,” or, “I sprained my foot, but I couldn’t do anything about it because I don’t have insurance.” I sympathize with them, because I know how it feels to one of the uninsured.

But I also tell them that you aren’t required to have insurance to go to the doctor. You do not have to use insurance to receive health care. There are alternatives to becoming a slave to the health insurance industry. We must change our perception and find alternatives, or the system will never change. One such alternative, a Health Savings Account (HSA), was made public in a provision of the Medicare Act of 2003.

“Health Savings Accounts are a new option for health insurance and they have two parts. The first part is a health insurance policy that covers large hospital bills. The second part of the Health Savings Account is an investment account or retirement account from which you can withdraw money tax-free for medical care. Otherwise, the money accumulates with tax-free interest until retirement, when you can withdraw for any purpose and pay normal income taxes.” (http://www.hsainsider.com/hsa basics.aspx)

First, you purchase a high-deductible health insurance plan to cover any catastrophic medical bills that you may incur. This covers you in case of an unexpected accident or disease (isn’t that what insurance is supposed to do insure against substantial loss?). Then you open an HSA to save for typical health expenses: doctor visits, glasses, massage, dental cleanings, therapy, or whatever treatments make you healthier.

An HSA works like any other savings account with many different options for how you want to store your money. For example, you can have a low-interest account with a trusted bank. This type of account usually allows you to pay for health expenses directly with a

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