In a landmark decision last week, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 to uphold the Affordable Care Act, allowing for the continued implementation of the act’s policies through 2014. The effect of this decision continues to unfold and will be a hot topic during November’s elections.
Despite the enormity of this decision, Americans are still struggling to pay for rising medical bills. The typical family spends an average of $19,000 each year on health care. Though that’s far from money down the drain, there are ways to cut your costs in the interim of the health care law coming into full effect.
Health care is a good investment in your future, but you’ll want to consider the following 13 ways to curb medical costs from biting deeply into your budget.
Warning: there is a little bit of math here. I may confuse you.
Not all insurance are created equal. While appearing equal, most appear to be bloody sharks, feeding on the murkiness of our ignorance. And sometimes, this is what they actually are, devouring the unsuspecting. But an enigma too, because their “numbers” could, at once, become flexible as if by magic. If you ask nicely. Okay, forget nicely. If you ask. There is something about knocking that opens doors.
Let me tell you a story.
Once upon a time, I received a letter for the renewal of my car insurance from Insurance A. I looked at the premium, thought something was not right, and good grief, when I checked, it was 7,000 higher than the old premium. Aren’t cars suppose to be cheaper as they age? Apparently not, if this quotation is to be believed.
The next day, I got another quote from Insurance B. Same company, different agent. The quote was cheaper than A’s, the deductible even less. It was starting to get interesting.
It was a fine afternoon and Nannette and I got to talking.
I just passed the insurance examination given by the Insurance Commission and can now be ushered into the world of insurance agents and hustling and bustling. That made me uncomfortable and I told Nannette so.
Okay, I still had the image of the feisty, persistent, pesky seller of insurance who does not really explain or understand what he sells, does not hear the word “no”, does not stick around through the bad times (when the hapless insured can no longer pay the premiums), is just “interested” because of the commission he hopes to get.
But first, the back story. On the year I sold my house in Cavite, I bought life insurance coverage for my daughter. It was an endowment type of insurance, one that I would have to pay for 5 years. According to the plan, the sum insured would almost double (x 1.8) on year 3 and my daughter will start receiving money on the 8th year and every other year after that. I thought it was a great plan and a great investment and a wonderful beginning for my insurance business. After all, I get a commission, which means I get to have a good discount. I forgot that I had to pay premium for 4 more years. (pained grin here)
And then I read an article that insurance for children is not really recommended. After all, the purpose of insurance is to replace the income of the person living. Children have no income. Parents provide for them and not the other way around. Life moves forward.
We have medical insurance. Of course, we have medical insurance. But it was your run-of-the-mill type with a per person limit of up to $2,000 in one year. A lot of people do not even make a dent in that amount because they never get sick. Well, for the years that we have had it, we usually use up (if any) only $400 annually – some for check-ups, others for laboratory tests and procedures (blood tests, colonoscopy) and annual medical exams, some for our daughter’s hospitalization (twice these five years) – an amount that is more or less equivalent to what we have paid for it. But this year was different. Hubby has about depleted all of it with all of the tests he had to undergo for his heart.
I have a confession to make. I have not written my will.
I do not know what is stopping me – not the thought of invincibility because slowly I am finding out the truth and fact of my humanity. Not for lack of knowledge – I have drafted wills for others and other more complicated – and more sober (sobering?) – documents. Not for lack of having given it thought – because I have.
Because writing a will is an emotional exercise and I am not sure if I can handle the enormity of it. It is half love letter, half goodbye letter, transmitting all of your hopes and dreams to people you hope not to leave behind too soon. It is a practical letter, an inventory of your life and what you have accumulated in terms of the material and the familial and the emotional. It has a potential to be controversial, leaving in its wake disappointments and tensions and conflicts that you no longer can put under control. It is a testament to what your life has been, to what you valued and continue to value. It is a last heave before you and your life and your words says caput.
Today, I learned about a different kind of investment and a different kind of bank.
What did the endorsers have to say?
Giselle Sanchez: “It is an investment just like bonds, stocks and savings.”
Anna-Lynn Salindong: “It is just like an insurance policy – a biological insurance policy.”
But I was not really thinking about investing and investments that day. I was going about my own way, staring at the wall of a clinic, when the wall stared back. On it was a message board and on the board was a poster of a cute baby.
It was a poster for cord blood banking.
Cord blood what???
And I was reminded that I kind of knew about it, a colleague in work having “banked” his baby’s cord blood in Singapore two years ago. All I know was that the expense was prohibitive. But I remembered too that my colleague, although sighing and murmuring about all that money he spent for it, thinks that he did good.
I was looking at my financial duties for 2010, staring as far out as December, when the imminence of what I have to pay struck me: huge life insurance premiums.
Do you have the thought that sometimes you may have bitten more than you can chew?
Years ago, when I bought those policies, business was good and was not yet bogged down by recession woes. I felt I could do anything – be anything, buy anything. My financial planner convinced me of the wisdom of obtaining life insurance (my second attempt at it). For peace of mind, she said. And I did have it. I remember thinking while driving one day that my family will be okay if… But now, that same thing that gave me peace of mind is shattering it.