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.
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.
After lashing out and wreaking havoc to the Philippines and leaving 246 people dead, Ketsana then demanded Vietnam to bear witness to its great power of destruction, leaving another 20 people dead. In another part of the world, an earthquake caused a tsunami to race to the Samoan shores, leaving, in this part of the world, 99 dead. Very recently, Australia bore witness to a red dust storm that turned it crimson for a few terrifying hours.
As if taking a cue, people are likewise greatly unsettled after being at the receiving end of repeated blows: first, the financial collapse of the world markets, and now, atmospheric convulsions of the epic and never-before-seen kind.
The unsettling thing is that this time, man knows he has brought it upon himself.
Imagine, you have a business where people stand in long lines to give you their hard earned money. They put up with lousy service, pouty cashiers, no chairs, not even cellphone access, knowing that you are just going to give them less than a one percent (1%) return for their money, annually. Yet they do it. And they do it gladly, thinking that they are doing themselves a favor.
Sometime ago, it dawned on me. I am a creditor, and my bank is my debtor. Ergo, I should have the upper hand. Ergo, I should have been waited on hand and foot, treated with utmost respect, wooed, wined, dined. They are, after all, getting my money and using it to finance their various investment schemes.
I had my first life insurance policy when I was 21. I did not think I needed it, death was furthest from my mind at that time.
But everyone was getting one (at the office, at least) and so I did too. The bi-monthly deductions hurt (though it did not even reach the one million mark) so it was kind of a hard decision to make. But after courting me day after day, making sure I get the medical exam and pass it, after we did the dance of joy (I signed up), I never saw that insurance agent again. I left the job and forgot the insurance and never knew what became of it. I did not know I had options – take the cash surrender value, buy an extended term insurance or a reduced paid-up insurance or even reinstate within a three (3) year period. I did not do anything because the agent did not take the time, nor cared, to explain my options to me.
And so I look at insurance agents with skepticism. One call, one meeting, and I would find an excuse not to see them again or sign up. It went like this for several years. I did not know I was making unavailable to myself the most basic step in establishing financial freedom – protection.