Monday, July 14, 2008

Ill-begotten finances

While I have been diligent about chronicling my road to fiscal savvy, I was detoured by a double whammy last week: regularly scheduled wedding prep vs. family emergency.

After spending a lot of time worrying about this individual and creating the best seating plans for 150, I was left tired with a full blown sinus infection. The crisis part of the family emergency is over, but will continue to be an issue weeks and even months to come.

The one good part of all this stress is that it reminded me about the importance of being protected financially. The impact of the emergency alone was more stress than most families can bear, but coupled with the prospect of $100,000 of care required for the uninsured person was an unimaginable burden for the family.

After a week, the insurance decided to pony up, and one burden was lifted. However, medical emergencies still rank as a top reason for bankruptcy ( According to a report put out by the government’s link to the courts the average person filing for bankruptcy is a 41-year-old mother with some college education WITH health insurance (not your average dead-beat, huh?) and almost half the debtors meet the requirement of having enough debt to qualify for major medical bankruptcy ( Even though someone has accumulated the status markers of a respectable life (higher education, family-oriented, middle age, insured) all it took was one medical issue (normally a heart attack) to put them into financial ruin.

(For the whole article go to: OR search Market Watch and David U. Hirnmelstein, Elizabeth Warren, Deborah Thorne, and Steffle Woolhandler)

Incidentally, as this drama was unfolding, my soon-to-be-married insurance through my fiancé kicked in. I am no longer a slave to my high-deductible plan and I now have good coverage with a regular doctor. With my old plan when I got sick I always had to decide where to seek services, and before I was treated find out how much they would cost. No dental check-ups, no eye exams or new contacts. Now, I can actually use my health insurance (wow- what a thought!) giving me some peace of mind. I feel blessed to have my family safe and my own fiscal protection policies in place as best I can.

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