It’s Open Enrollment Season – Read Your Benefits!
Like everyone I worry about far more than I probably should… there’s always the threat of new illnesses, emergencies and something bad happening to the ones I love.
It took me awhile to mature into worrying about money. My first job payed fairly well and money wasn’t much of a problem. I bought what I wanted when I wanted, went out to eat often and never had to worry about money to go to the doctor or take my animals to the vet. But I pretty well lived hand to mouth.
When I was 25 I decided that it was time to get my act together. Tired of throwing money away on rent I purchased my first (and current) home, paid off my vehicle to eliminate payments and did my best to save as much as I could. And then I was so happy with my new, grown up decisions as I got docked to part time and of all the times, my gallbladder decided it was time to turn against me.
Being no stranger to surgery having had 3 prior to this as an adult, I knew that it was going to be expensive and I knew exactly what I would owe based on my health insurance (a few bad illnesses and accidents will teach you to understand your heath benefits like you wouldn’t believe, people).
I was surprised to find that the surgeons covered by my insurance o remove my gallbladder worked in facilities that would not work out a payment plan. Nope, I had to come up with almost $5,000 out of pocket and out of nowhere and I emptied my savings account and still had to get financial assistance from my dad. For the first time I seriously considered how bad things could possibly get for me financially. I feel like I thought I knew but it turns out I didn’t really fully understand just how one little accident or illness could consume my life. To be honest I wish I’d had this info from Aflac explaining the details about being One Emergency Away from Financial Disaster.
Savings completely wiped out I continued on with my part-time job with the promises that it would soon be returned to its full, 40 hour a week minimum glory. But while I was waiting, I lost my pinky finger. The visit to the ER was devastating and expensive. My finger was reattached very crudely and I had to get in touch with a specialist hand surgeon. You know when they say specialist that this ain’t gonna be cheap! This hospital did work out a payment plan with me but I was laid off only 2 months later. I went from part-time pay to unemployment pay and a huge monthly payment for my emergency room visit an subsequent surgeries. The first time I missed a payment it seemed my credit score took a crazy big nosedive. And I was emotionally devastated.
Now I may have learned my lesson early on but not everybody is as unlucky (or unhealthy, it would seem) as me. And a lot of Millenials have absolutely no idea what they’re signing up for during open enrollment for their insurance. I remember back in the day when I just picked what the HR lady thought I needed, signed my papers and went on about it glad to have that over with already. But guess what! That’s not good enough for anyone at any age.
Did you know that 72% OF Millenials at least somewhat agree they regularly underestimate the total cost of an injury or illness? And you know what? It’s not that hard to do! As one ER nurse told me, you should take that box of terrible tissues with you because you’re going to pay 60 bucks for it. It all adds up and it gets to be surprisingly expensive when all of the dust settles and the bills start rolling in.
That’s why it’s so important to pay attention when enrolling in your benefits for 2015. Know what your insurance will cover and and what it won’t. Because when an emergency happens to yourself or your family the one thing you shouldn’t be worrying about is whether or not insurance is going to cover what’s going down.
None of us are going to know this stuff out of the blue. You either learn it by awful experiences or by research. And I’m really hoping that you’ll take a moment to look into this whole insurance thing. It doesn’t have to be hard… Aflac will help you out with some info to help you make your decisions this open enrollment period. The 2014 Aflac WorkForces Report is chock full of good info to help you make these important decisions smart ones. In short – READ YOUR BENEFITS and be sure you understand what you’re signing up for during open enrollment this year. I hope you’re healthy and well in 2015 but I’ll be so glad knowing you’re prepared for the emergency we never see coming.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.