Sometimes having the wrong health insurance is even worse than being uninsured. An recent article in Chester County’s Daily Local News made that clear. After becoming unemployed, many people are left in dire straits once their employer’s COBRA coverage expires. With little money, most are only able to buy inferior health insurance plans. At that point, millions of individuals and families become underinsured. Imagine if your insurer refused to cover even one emergency room visit! No wonder some people decide to go uninsured instead; they’d still have to pay for their medical care, but at least wouldn’t still be paying premiums.
Unfortunately, some people doesn’t find out what their health insurance plan does and doesn’t cover until it’s too late. Avoid the underinsurance trap by reviewing your plan and talking with an insurance agent. The best solution is to find a plan that suits your needs and provides the most value. It’s important to save money on insurance, but don’t forget your health. If you are currently underinsured, you can get an affordable health insurance quote for a better plan.
(Image: Commonwealth Fund)
Having the best quality health insurance plan you can afford is crucial when you start a family. Unfortunately, there are extenuating circumstances when even excellent health care can still leave you in danger of bankruptcy. Two-year-old Linden Elliott is suffering from mitochondrial disease, a rare condition that is costly to treat. His father’s employer-provided Aetna insurance covers 100% of medical expenses after initial co-payments. So how do they end up having to shell out over $25,000 a year on expenses?
It’s depressingly simple, according to MSNBC. By itself, each co-payment seems reasonable: $100 per ER visit, $250 per hospital stay, $100 for each surgical procedure. The only problem is that in an average month, Linden had to stay in the hospital once and visit the ER twice. On top of that, his parents have to cover the cost of his medication; their total monthly expenditure is about $2,000. In addition, Linden’s chronic disease requires that his family cross state lines for specialized treatment unavailable locally; their family health insurance plan doesn’t cover travel expenses.
The Elliotts continue to fight for their son’s health, but it comes at a steep financial cost. Despite an upper-middle-class income, their medical debt leaves them unable to pay for basic utilities, even with familial assistance. While Linden is doing well for now, such stress could have a negative impact on his health in the future. His parents will have to continue to pay for treatments, such as the insertion of breathing tubes, for the foreseeable future; possibly for his entire life. Healthcare reform might enforce limits that reduce the out-of-pocket costs for people with chronic illnesses by creating a larger pool of health insurance plan buyers (making each individual one less expensive), but those with these diseases can’t wait. Although most severe chronic diseases can’t be avoided, try to find out exactly how much your insurance company covers in claims. You’ll still have to struggle medically, but at least there will be less shock on the financial side of things.