Health journo goes it alone without insurance

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

Freelance health writer and AHCJ founding member Duncan Moore has gained national attention recently for his Los Angeles Times piece explaining his decision to go without health insurance at age 53. Moore quit his job and used a COBRA policy to tide him over until he found a new job. Then the economy tanked, newspapers retrenched, that new job never materialized, his 18 months of COBRA ran out and Moore was forced to ask some tough questions. The answer he found to his first question, “what insurance actually buys,” led him to rethink the entire system about which he’d been reporting for years.

After a quick self-assessment, Moore found he had a clean family history, good habits and almost no pre-existing conditions. That started him thinking.

So what does a guy like me need with health insurance? I’m the best risk in town, I thought to myself. Why shouldn’t I self-insure? In other words, why couldn’t I accept full responsibility for my own health expenses?

Moore writes that he’s ready to accept a certain amount of self-rationing when it comes to everyday care, and that, even if something catastrophic happens, he’ll likely be no worse off than he’d have been if he was insured, because “there are no guarantees that the insurance company would pay, that it wouldn’t try to weasel out of the obligation.”

Moore also made an appearance on Dr. Nancy Snyderman’s show on MSNBC on Tuesday to discuss his decision.

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