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You Never Know When the Hammer Will Strike: Why Health Insurance Is Important

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You Never Know When the Hammer Will Strike: Why Health Insurance Is Important

Baltimore recently dropped healthcare insurance for over 1,600 possible dependents. According to the city, employees failed to complete paperwork proving the validity of these dependents; the insurance change saved Baltimore more than $6 million a year.

Losing health coverage because you forget to fill out a form—or never receiving health insurance because the process seems daunting—can be a big mistake. Just ask Bill, a temporarily unemployed good Samaritan who found himself with a pile of emergency medical bills.

Bill offered to help one of the older ladies in the community hang pictures in her new home. "I’m not doing anything," he said, "And I’ve got all the tools we need."

Bill arrived at Ruth’s house and began hanging pictures. The two enjoyed banter and community gossip between the sound of the hammer striking nails and Ruth’s comm ands to move the frame a little to the left. They took a break, had a glass of lemonade, and went back to work.

Bill grabbed a nail and headed toward the nearest wall. Placing the nail between his lips, he scooped up the hammer and picture and looked over his shoulder for direction from Ruth. She pointed high on the wall, so he leaned back, raised his arms, and immediately dropped the picture.

As the picture crashed to the ground, Bill turned to Ruth. He still held the hammer in one h and, but his eyes had grown wide. He stumbled toward her, the hammer slightly raised. She backed up, thinking for a moment her helpful neighbor had turned serial killer.

Just as Ruth was about to succumb to panic, Bill dropped the hammer, grasped his throat, and pointed to the box of nails. She realized he’d opened his mouth and allowed the nail to slip down his throat as he looked up to set her picture.

The image of a nail making its way through Bill’s body spurred Ruth to action. She called 911 and Bill was whisked away to the hospital. The entire community heard about his accident!

Medical staff was able to remove the nail with minimal invasion, since Bill had not fully swallowed it. Both his pride and his throat were soar for some time, but that’s nothing compared to the beating his checking account took.

After emergency room expenses, anesthesia, doctor’s charges, and more, Bill owed more than $4,000. Without insurance, he didn’t get the benefit of a reduction in charges; since he didn’t have a job, he wasn’t able to pay the bill right away. After he l anded a new job, Bill spent six months paying the hospital bill for his nail accident.

Bill’s story may be humorous, but the lesson is serious. Many people don’t think freak accidents like inadvertent nail ingestion will happen to them. Bill felt the same way, though, or he wouldn’t have put a nail near his mouth.

Accidents—minor and serious—can happen to anyone at any time. Health insurance coverage is a way to ensure you don’t have to worry about treatment options or financial stress during and after an accident. Make sure you fill out the right forms to ensure your own health insurance.

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Disability Insurance Prepares You for the Just in Case

So, you were taking out the garbage when your startled cat bolted out the door chasing what might have been a mouse, making you slip on the step, twisting your knee with a yelp. Now you are in bed for four months with your leg propped up on a pillow. Guess what, the bills keep coming in and your boss says you can’t collect because it didn’t happen at work. Now you are up the financial creek without a paddle.

Sound far-fetched? Not necessarily, it happens to millions of Americans who thought they were covered only to find out they weren’t. Better to plan ahead and expect the unexpected less an accident outside of work pulls the financial rug out from under your feet. Disability insurance covers you when the unexpected passes by your door and you find yourself unable to work for an extended period of time.

Is Disability insurance worth it? Ask Carl who had been working full-time as a manager at a grocery story until he tore his meniscus playing soccer with his ten and eleven-year old sons, and has been laid up for the past five months. Fortunately for him, he had already researched his company’s insurance coverage and had picked up extra Disability insurance the year before, just in case he was injured outside of work. Not only are his mortgage and bills being covered, but he has been able to get a lot done around the house without having the worry about where his next paycheck is coming from. Scheduled to return to work next month, he hasn’t missed a beat and his wife is as happy as a pig in the mud.

Why buy Disability insurance? AARP explains “We buy insurance to protect something. Homeowners insurance to protect our dwellings. Auto insurance to protect our cares. Disability insurance” protects us from when the “just in case” happens. While AARP focuses on persons 50-years-old and older, Disability insurance for persons in their prime working years, between 30 and 50 makes the ultimate sense. Why should you experience a serious financial setback right when you are in your prime working years?

New York Times Wealth columnist and author Paul Sullivan explains, “Death and disability are two of the most difficult things for a family to discuss. But insuring against both is an important part of safeguarding a family’s future.”

If you still aren’t convinced ask Carl’s second cousin Roger. He was hanging curtains for his wife when he stepped a bit too high on the step ladder and found himself face down on the floor. He broke two fingers on each h and in the process, and was laid off from his work as a machinist in a company that made parts for off-set presses, and couldn’t get back to work for close to a year. He lost his car and is at least four months behind on his credit cards. Back to work after 11 months, it is going to take him at least a couple of years to get back on his feet. Carl, on the other h and, had learned from his favorite uncle that “wise people learn from other people’s mistakes” and he took the cue from his unfortunate cousin, preparing himself for what might happen. Two years later, Carl and his family are planning two weeks in Cancun, while Roger is working double shifts to pay off his bills.

Disability insurance is a small investment that can provide stability and peace of mind. Preparing for the unexpected pays off in the long run!

Words from title: Disability Insurance

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