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 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 options you have to solve your problems with student debt.

For you, Julie, there may be something even better: student loan forgiveness for teachers.

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.

Crushed by student loan debt and worried you’ll never pay it off? There is help available.

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About the Author

Howard Dvorkin, CPA

Howard Dvorkin, CPA

I’m a certified public accountant who has authored two books on getting out of debt, Credit Hell and Power Up, and I am one of the personal finance experts for Debt.com. I have focused my professional endeavors in the consumer finance, technology, media and real estate industries creating not only Debt.com, but also Financial Apps and Start Fresh Today, among others. My personal finance advice has been included in countless articles, and has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Forbes and Entrepreneur as well as virtually every national and local newspaper in the country. Everyone should have a reason for living that’s bigger than themselves, and besides my family, mine is this: Teaching Americans how to live happily within their means. To me, money is not the root of all evil. Poor money management is. Money cannot buy happiness, but going into debt always buys misery. That’s why I launched Debt.com. I’m glad you’re here.

Published by Debt.com, LLC