Going Broke from a Bad Break
Some recent personal events have encouraged me to post about the value of health insurance. However, that’s a topic that has become especially politicized, especially in the last few years. While I have my own opinions, like everyone else, I’m not particularly interested in elaborating on that here. There are plenty of other places to do that on the Interwebs. I’m just going to don my financial coach hat and deal with the dollars and sense facts about the topic.
Here’s the main point:
Health insurance is stupidly expensive, but emergency medical care without it is devastatingly more so.
When I write “stupidly expensive,” I mean stupid. The average healthy family is looking at paying over $1000 a month for coverage, and an individual will be lucky if they can find what they need for under $500. Just about any single other necessity on your monthly budget can be managed for less than that, but you can be warm in your house, eat your food, and drive your car. It’s easy to see why some people in the midst of a financial crisis would be willing to let insurance lapse. They can’t feel it.
Until they need serious medical care. Then they feel it big time.
You can try your hardest to avoid injuries, but accidents do happen.
A man flips, lands wrong, and slams his foot into the floor. Crack!
Oh, it’s just a broken toe. This isn’t a big deal. It hurts, and that jammed toenail looks nasty, but it’ll be fine. It’s just a toe.
Then the toenail gets infected.
Then the infection settles into the break.
Swelling. Intense pain.
Each day it’s getting worse and it’s moving into the foot.
What was “just a broken toe” becomes a trip to the Emergency Room. Two surgeries. An amputated toe. A week in the hospital.
When the bill comes in, the total is six figures. In excess of two hundred thousand dollars.
Health insurance is stupidly expensive, but emergency medical costs can be financially devastating. Suddenly having this much debt dropped into a family’s life puts everything at risk. Every asset. Every necessity. Even the very bonds of their relationship. And unexpected medical debt is one of the top reasons people declare bankruptcy in this country.
I hate debt. I especially hate it when a medical crisis is compounded by a financial crisis. So, even though health insurance is stupidly expensive, you have to have it. And you have to take the time to make sure you have the correct coverage for you and your family. Being under-insured is no better. Take the time, shop around, and get this right.
Now, I’m not alright with sitting by the sidelines and letting someone who means so much to my family suffer through that without trying to help out. So, I got together with the owner of the Karate school where he works and my family studies, and put together the Chance Ward Get Well Fund over at GoFundMe.com. (We thought about calling it the Chance Ward Lost Toe Memorial Fund or maybe Chance’s Lost Piggy – Nobody’s Home but that would have made a bit too much light of a fairly serious situation.)
Go check it out. I’ll wait.
Awesome. Right now we’re trying to work out additional ways to raise money for this effort, but our best opportunity is for a lot of people to be just a little bit generous and give just a few dollars. If 1,000 people give $30 each, we’re done. Chance has easily made a difference in that many lives over his career. Consequently, even $5 can make a huge difference. I would really appreciate it if all
five of you who are reading this would step up and help us out.
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