Whenever I go through a crisis, I always ask myself, “What can I learn from this experience? What can I do better?”

I’ve learned a few things from my recent broken hand experience: that horses are silly, that hands are fragile, that appropriate pain medication is wonderful, and that good people are even better.

But I’ve also learned a lot about health care, and how phenomenally expensive it is in the United States. This is not new information to me, but I’ve been so fortunate as to not really have anything go exceptionally wrong in my adult life as far as my health is concerned. As a self-employed person, I get my health insurance through the ACA exchange, and I have an extremely high deductible. But since I rarely see a doctor more than twice a year, just for routine care, I hadn’t really given it a thought.

And then this: The surgery to insert two (removable, thank goodness) pins from my hand cost me more than $3,000, cash upfront. The bills have not yet begun to roll in for all of the other visits with specialists, therapists and follow-ups, but I can’t even begin to imagine. I’m sure that they will get close to, but not actually touch my massive deductible. Which means I’m on the hook for the whole hog.

This could have been a phenomenal strain on my resources, something I’d be paying off for a while. And I’m lucky that this is such a minor thing: What if I had done my pelvis, or my spine, or my brain? What if I’d required an ambulance ride or a hospital stay?

But I have something called a Health Savings Account, or HSA, and I think that everyone should have one, especially all of my wonderful 20-something horse girls who should start saving right now, because the reality is that in this business, it’s only a matter of time.

Read the rest at The Chronicle of the Horse!