Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Medical crisis and bankruptcy

I am currently reading an article about 'Financial Medicine' over in the Personal Finances section at The Wall Street Journal

The article states that 6 out of 10 bankruptcies are filed due to medical reasons (illness). This is a big reason I am filing so there is some comfort in that I'm not alone. I also find it interesting that there is such a stigma attached to filing bankruptcy yet over half of the reason is inadequate health care or illness. Now I know some things medically can be prevented however things such as getting into a major car accident or having an inherited disease and other issues. I will try not to get into the political aspect of our health care system and the likes.

The article encourages you to check out your policies and plan from there. What is your lifetime maximum, did you even know you had a lifetime maximum? What would happen if you hit that maximum? What about yearly maximums?

What are your risk factors? Do you know what your plan covers should one of your risk factors (Cancer, diabetes....) come into play? What about medications? I know my plan only offers a slight discount on medications.

Often times I have to go without medication if there isn't a cheap alternative because the insurance just doesn't offer enough of a discount. For instance I once got a needed RX there was no alternative to it and the RX was about $115 every 30 days I needed to take this for a few months my discount plan offered $3 off. Other times I only pay a very small percentage so it all depends on what it is covering.

You could just need something as simple as physical therapy, something else I found out is very expensive. Physical therapy is usually prescribed 2-3 times a week for at least 4 weeks, what is your co-pay? Mine is $30 a visit plus 20% of various things such as the charge for equipment used, or the massage therapist etc... for me in the end I had to decide that physical therapy was just too much money in light of having to file because of these types of reasons to begin with. I do have flex spending but obviously not enough to cover PT with possibly needing surgery too (also have to pay 20% of that, you can imagine it could get costly quick).

Karen Pollitz, a research professor at Georgetown was quoted in the article saying "It's perilous to assume that we are protected just because we have a health-insurance card in our wallet." How insightful really! For me this one sentence is so powerful.

What are you doing to protect yourself?

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