The Importance of Having Health Care Benefits!

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Remember this old clique: “It’s better to be safe than sorry.” I think this more than a just a clique saying, this is a huge life lesson for all. In life, we all experience numerous unexpected events such as car accidents, serious health issues and natural disasters such as hurricanes or tornadoes and etc. It’s best to have a contingency plan when something goes awry and also make sure you’re completely covered. When you buy a car, you wouldn’t buy one without getting insurance on your car? You want to be fully covered if the accident is your fault, right? If you purchase or rent a home, you want homeowner’s insurance that also includes disaster insurance, right? God forbid, when the worst happens, you don’t want to be stuck paying out-of-pocket costs and ending up going bankrupt.

There was a time where I had zero insurance at all. During college, I worked part-time and went to school and had no benefits at all. So, when I had to go to urgent care for the first time because of a bad panic attack, guess what? I had no way of paying my bill. When I was taken to the hospital via ambulance for a more serious and paralyzing attack, again I had no insurance and I had to struggle to pay the bills. Going to places such as the doctor’s office, pharmacy, therapist’s office, and the hospital are all very expensive. No surprise! Just because we are living in freedom doesn’t mean that freedom is or comes cheap. I was your atypical broke college kid in the mid 2000’s and I was lucky that my parents were able to help float some cash my way and help pay for my medical bills. They didn’t have to but again, I can’t ask for better parents. One of the things that I needed to obtain was a full-time with benefits. Once I got that, I had to explore the entire benefits package. I was clueless as to what I needed. For the most part it doesn’t hurt to get medical, dental, vision (if you’re blind like me!), flex spending account and look into life insurance for yourself. I had to sit there and fully read through the medical portion because I needed to know what “co-pays”, “deductibles” and “premiums” meant.

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When you’re young, this is a huge wake up call for you. However, life decisions like these are vital. If my mother didn’t have insurance and additional supplemental insurance for her mental health problems, both my parents would be broke. No joke. The cost of her antipsychotics, her ECT treatments, the many times she was hospitalized, and regular visits to her psychiatrist’s office are enough to throw people into bankruptcy. Her last visit in the hospital where she stayed for four months was well over $100K and her insurance covered that so she doesn’t pay a dime (if that she pays a teeny tiny portion of that). Her ECT treatments are well above that and her medications are ungodly priced and this is why it’s important to have insurance.

My own experiences in going to urgent care and the hospital without insurance have been brutal. Imagine paying close to $300 to go to urgent care (depending on how ungodly they charge you), or even being taken to the hospital by an ambulance. My hospital visit was over a few thousand dollars plus a nice $200-300 ambulance ride. This is just wonderful when you have little money and no insurance. But lesson learned there.

For me, it’s important to have health care insurance and personally, everyone needs it. You don’t know what could happen in a split second. I have pre-existing conditions that require medical attention and I need good insurance to help cover those expenses. Most of us can’t afford to go to the hospital or buy our medications at full price. I refuse to pay the manufacturer’s price for my medications. One of my medications costs over $300 and with my insurance I only pay a $10 copay. That’s all. I can do $10 anytime over $300. $300 is more like a car payment for me.

I’m pretty lucky to work at Starbucks because the benefits there are very good. They have a wide range of plans for you and you can select which plan works for you. For the most part the benefits come out of your paycheck (not much at all) and I’ve never worked for another company that takes care of their employees like that before. A few months back, I went to urgent care because of bad migraines (OUCH!) and my insurance covered the entire visit. All I had to pay was a mere $10 copay for the Tylenol 3 with codeine (the good stuff!) and that was it. The copay for doctor’s offices aren’t bad as well either. I remember once paying for a session with the doctor and it cost me close a $100. Yikes. With insurance, it will cost me $10-20 to visit my therapist only a three-month basis and that’s not bad at all. Same thing when I went through Hurricane Harvey, I had insurance on my home (including flood insurance) and didn’t have to pay too much for water damage repairs to my house.

In short, life is unpredictable and is very costly, but it’s helpful to be prepared for the unexpected. God forbid, you leave your family with debt and final expenses after your departure. No thank you. Being prepared is crucial. Everything is expensive including health care. Your own health is very important to just abandon it. Look into getting health insurance for you and your family in case of emergencies. I would be broke and living on the streets if I didn’t have insurance at all. Living with mental illness is no joke and is very expensive, too.

 

 

 

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