04/23/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Fear A Layoff? Go To The Dentist, And Other Insurance Tips

Americans are dependent on their jobs for more than income. Many of us get our health, life and disability coverage through our work. So as the risk of job loss rises during a recession, so, too, does the risk of losing coverage that can protect us against catastrophic events.

Those without health insurance are one illness or accident away from financial devastation. What's more, as I detailed in "A survival guide for the uninsured," people without health insurance are more likely to die prematurely and suffer lower lifetime earnings as poorer health interferes with their ability to make money.

Losing life or disability coverage can be just as disastrous for a family's finances. Here's what to do to increase the odds you'll stay covered and solvent in a downturn.

-- Take advantage of your health coverage while you've got it. If you have a good health plan now, use it to catch up on any medical care you've deferred, such as physicals, health screenings (mammograms, colonoscopies, etc.), dental work and new glasses. If you're not sure what you need, talk to your physician.

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