A reader says she can't pay for both. Which one should she choose?
Question: My mother is mad at me because I don’t have health insurance. Instead, I paid the Obamacare penalty last year and this year. In 2014, that was $95. This year, it was $285.
My mom keeps asking me, What happens if you get sick?” But I’m 28 and I’ve never been seriously ill. The problem is, the insurance where I work is terrible — I’m a teacher at a private nonprofit school for underprivileged children. It’s like auto insurance: It only covers really serious problems after a ridiculously high deductible.
I keep telling my mom I need all my money to pay down my student loans. Coincidentally, that payment is almost what I’d have to pay for health insurance. What do you think, Mr. Dvorkin? If my mom is right, I don’t see what I can do except not eat.
— Julie in Kansas
Howard Dvorkin CPA answers…
You have options, Julie, and none of them require dieting.
First of all, listen to your mother: You can be healthy today and in a car accident tomorrow.
While my expertise is on the student loan side of your problem, I’m also a business owner with hundreds of employees throughout North America. I’ve hired an entire Human Resources department to help those employees get the best benefits.
You don’t say if your school is big or small, but I imagine there’s at least one HR person you can consult. I urge you to do so. Your HR department or director has surely heard stories like yours, and they may have solutions you don’t yet know about.
That’s certainly the case for your student loans.
One of my personal missions is to tell every college graduate about the seven solutions to solve your problems with student debt. Five of them are programs from the federal government, each designed to ease your monthly payments so you could lead a productive life.
For you, Julie, there may be something even better: student loan forgiveness.
Depending on how long you’ve taught, the type of loans you have, and what you earn, you might be able to have your loans wiped out. Why? Because the federal government wants to encourage certain professions such as nurses, teachers, and firefighters.
Just like with healthcare, the rules on student loan forgiveness can get complicated. So just as I suggested you consult your HR department for the best possible insurance, I’ll also suggest you consult a student loan expert. Debt.com has many of those just waiting for your call — which is free. So is their analysis of your student loans and the programs you qualify for. Call them today at 1-888-472-0365.
Have a debt question?
Email your question to firstname.lastname@example.org and Howard Dvorkin will review it. Dvorkin is a CPA, chairman of Debt.com, and author of two personal finance books, Credit Hell: How to Dig Yourself Out of Debt and Power Up: Taking Charge of Your Financial Destiny.