September 21, 2012
Both of my parents passed away from cancer. If you have had a loved one battling any sort of major illness, you know that medical bills could be overwhelming. My parents had great medical coverage for our family. As such, when my mother became ill, we were not concerned about paying off the medical expenses. We knew that the insurance would cover it, so that we could concentrate our time and energy taking care of my mother instead. I remember toward the last of her days, our insurance coverage was running out. There was a 1 million dollar cap on the coverage and even though she had only been sick for 7 months, we were told that she had about $50,000 left in her coverage. The $1 million dollars coverage paid for the the time she spent in the hospital, the daily chemo treatments, the special care nurse she needed and the 5 surgeries she had. We talked about selling our home in order to pay for the medical expenses, but she died right before the insurance coverage ran out. Honestly we were were scared. We were afraid of how much debt we would be in, and most importantly, we were afraid that we did not have enough money to give my mother the best care possible. After my mother passed away, my father got got even more insurance coverage for himself. Though he was healthy for many years, about 8 years after my mother passed away, we discovered he also suffered from cancer. He passed away 4 months after he was diagnosed.
Having seen both of my parents died of cancer and the mountains of bills that continued to arrive at our home after their deaths made me realized just how important insurance is. I am very lucky that my parents had great insurance coverage so we never went into debt because of it. I know plenty of people who haven't been so fortunate. Now that I have a family of my own, I always make sure that during Open Enrollment, we examine our benefits and insurance coverage to make sure we have everything we wanted and needed. With 2 kids to care for, we make sure that our insurance will do exactly what it is intended: to serve us in a time of need. If one or both of us get sick, we want to make sure our coverage will covered all of the expenses so that our children's quality of life will not be affected. And of course, we want to make sure that we could afford any medical treatment we might need in order to be 100% healthy again.
Here's some tips for getting the most out of your health care. During Open Enrollment, make sure you are aware of any changes to your benefits. You should also check your Flex Spending to see if you need to make any changes (to increase or decrease the amount). If you do not understand your coverage, make sure you speak to your HR department or an insurance consultant. Avoid making mistakes on your benefits will not only save you money, but also potential save you a lot of stress if an issue arises.
The decisions you make during Open Enrollment could have huge impact on your life. Being prepared for life's surprises like illness or personal injuries will help relieve financial stress, so don't bury yourself head in the sand when the time comes, make smart decisions on your health benefits.
I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Aflac and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.