Insurance Basics

Insurance costs money, and it works like a bet.  You pay money, usually monthly, called a "premium."

If you pay health insurance for 20 years and then get hit by an asteroid, you don't get anything... that would be life insurance.

Insurance companies make money by collecting premiums and save money when they don't pay benefits.  You should pay to insure what you need but can't afford to pay out-of-pocket. 

Shopping for insurance

If you do not have insurance, the website can help.  It is the same website that, when "Obamacare" tried to roll it out initially, was infamous for crashing and losing data. 

However, I explored this website subsequently, and it is probably one of the better ways to at least get an idea of what options you might have.  In particular, for patients on a tighter budget, it can show numerous options which sometimes have subsidies.  I strongly recommend you take a few minutes to explore the site. 

If you prefer not to enter any of your personal data there, you at least can go directly to the insurance providers, knowing what your options are for the monthly cost (the "premium"), deductibles (how much you have to pay out-of-pocket before the insurance will pay anything), and coverage (what an insurance plan will or won't cover).

I don’t feel I have the expertise to recommend specific companies or insurance plans.  For people struggling with ever-increasing insurance premiums, as most of us do, there are various resources that might be helpful.  For example, the North Carolina Department of Insurance has a website that can be found through the official listing of NC state agencies (

Insurance Agencies Familiar with the Affordable Care Act

When you go on the website, there are a variety of plans at different levels of premium and coverage.  In Buncombe County, these plans are currently only offered by Coventry and Blue Cross/Blue Shield (BC/BS), but the only company with a local in-town presence that could meet with me was BC/BS. 

I met with representatives of WNC Health Insurance (telephone 828-681-8223 (M-F 9am-7pm); website: who sell BC/BS policies at all levels ("Bronze" through "Platinum").  I think they understand the Direct Primary Care model, so ask about this and mention my name. For help navigating, they invited patients to call them.