A Bodey in Motion

Building momentum, one step at a time

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.

$200,000

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.

The calm before the stormOh, and the broken toe story? Absolutely true. It happened to a good friend of my family who instructs Karate, and because of the down economy he was without insurance.

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.

Thanks.

March 11, 2013 Posted by | Marriage and Family, Work and Money | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Quick Hits of the Week

  • Life can be very hard. Right now, many of us can find valid reasons to complain about the world around us and its effect on our lives. The economy is weak. Unemployment is rampant. National leadership is easy to question. Conflicts abound abroad and at home. Fear and depression can easily be the emotions of the moment, moment after moment, day after day, on and on. There’s a problem with that, though. We were made to be better. We’re not supposed to spend our moments complaining out of fear and worry. We have the gifts of hope and vision, and we need to remind ourselves of them, especially when life is very hard.
  • Christmas is a great time of year, because almost everyone thinks just a little bit more about generosity and charity. Here are a couple of opportunities that you might want to take advantage of. First, Jon Acuff wants to help fight poverty by providing goats to the poor through Food for the Hungry. If you’re looking for something a bit more personal, though, I’ve got just the thing. GoFundMe.com is a crowdsourcing site for personal projects and life events. It’s like KickStarter, but for things like weddings, memorial funds, babies, pretty much everything. I’m not endorsing any of the projects on there, but I am encouraging you to go look around and see if you can’t find an opportunity to be generous to someone you don’t know.
  • I’ve been struggling with keeping a steady income with my current job, and developing a new career around financial coaching. I want the latter, but the former pays the bills really well. That’s why Seth Godin nailed me with this post. Whichever of those two is getting my best energy is the one that’s going to flourish. If I say I’m taking the new career seriously, then my time, energy, and focus need to reflect that.

Is there something valuable or important or cool or funny or weird or awesome out there I missed this week? I can’t hit it all, but you should let me know about it by dropping me a line or sharing it in the comments below! I’d appreciate the heads up.

December 27, 2012 Posted by | Quick Hits and Links | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Quick Hits of the Week