Chelsea S

Insurance: three syllables powerful enough to make your heart begin to race and to make your palms to start sweating. Often we think of red tape, copayments at doctor’s appointments and money taken out of our paychecks. However, as a nursing student, when I think of insurance, I think of preventative medicine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Americans only use preventative health measures and services at about half of the recommended rate. There is also a large correlation between cost of preventative services and use of service. According to one study, when the copayment was removed, the rate of women getting a mammogram increased by nine percent [1]. This is most likely because, in general, when patients do not feel sick, they do not feel inclined to get a mammogram or go to their primary physician for their annual check-up. When people feel healthy, even if they are not actually in good health, they do not think about their wellbeing. However, when preventative medicine is covered by insurance, patients will be more willing to participate because no one wants to spend money on something they think they do not need (even though they do need it!).

Also, most diseases are better cured when caught in the early stages. For example, my grandmother discovered that she had breast cancer in a late stage, and unfortunately passed away because she waited too long to get a mammogram. About ninety percent of women that get diagnosed with breast cancer at the earliest stage while only fifteen percent survive at the later stages of the disease [2]. This is one way that insurance can save lives because it covers medical expenses so people go to the doctor more frequently.

Another reason that insurance is necessary is that it reduces spending in the long run. The CDC’s website reports that, “Health problems are a major drain on the economy, resulting in 69 million workers reporting missed days due to illness each year, and reducing economic output by $260 billion per year. Increasing the use of proven preventive services can encourage greater workplace productivity.”[1] Not only will people be able to work more if they are healthy, but they will also have less medical bills if they take measures to prevent disease by having insurance.

Insurance is not limited to the medical field. Growing up on the Long Island Sound, my summers were filled with sun and swimming. I have always said that wherever I live as an adult, it needs to be near the ocean. However, living by the ocean comes with the risk of either foundation damage due to building in a swampy area or storm damage due to flooding. In 2012, my childhood home along with its foundation was completely destroyed along with many of our belongings when Superstorm Sandy hit the tristate area (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut). Without flood insurance, we would not have been able to re-build our home.

According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, “Nearly 1.3 million people die in road crashes each year, on average 3,287 deaths a day. An additional 20-50 million are injured or disabled.” [3] So what happens to those that become injured or disabled?An automobile accident can completely alter someone’s life. From personal experience, I have been in a car accident and suffered from a traumatic brain injury.

In my case, the person that hit my car was texting, so I was not at fault. I was in the backseat and hit my head on the seat in front of me. I felt a strange “out of it” feeling, but I did not realize how serious brain injuries could be. After my injury,  I had to stop rowing, which was a sport I planned to participate in while at college. I also racked up some seriously large bills because I had to see a neurologist that specializes in traumatic brain injuries. The neurologist noted that I had short-term memory problems after the accident and I suffered from severe migraines. These migraines were so bad that there were days I could not see the sunlight without falling over in pain. I was incredibly frustrated because I could not attend school and my grades suffered. I went from being an A student to only being able to get Cs or Ds because I had to miss weeks of school. Consequently, I became depressed and felt hopeless. I felt that I would never be myself again and I did not know how to solve the issue.

I like to look at the positive side of everything and I think that suffering from a traumatic brain injury has ultimately helped me as a nursing student and a future nurse because I will be able to sympathize with patients that suffer from TBIs or any injury. With time, the side effects of my TBI have gotten less severe, however I still suffer from short-term memory problems, migraines and concentration issues. Thanks to both my car insurance and health insurance, I was able to fix my car, and most importantly, seek help for my brain injury.

Suffering from a traumatic brain injury has not stopped me from making plans for my future. In order to make a difference, after graduation I plan to work as a nurse in a rural and remote, under-served population with The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives. I am extremely passionate about the prospect of being able to work in a community that is often overlooked by citizens of the United States and the government, especially in terms of healthcare.

In conclusion, insurance saves lives and helps people in their most vulnerable state, like a car accident or an injury. Many people grudgingly pay for their insurance every month, however, in the event of an emergency, not having insurance can be detrimental, both emotionally and in a fiscal manner. Although it may seem inconvenient to pay  for insurance if you are healthy, or if you are a good driver, I would much rather be safe and be covered.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration!

References

[1]http://www.cdc.gov/healthcommunication/toolstemplates/entertainmented/tips/preventivehealth.html

[2]http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancer-symptoms/why-is-early-diagnosis-important

[3]http://asirt.org/initiatives/informing-road-users/road-safety-facts/road-crash-statistics

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Enhanced Insurance is not written by attorneys. If you’re looking for legal advice, you need to contact a lawyer. Further, insurance practices and forms change constantly and are varied from state to state. For definitive answers in your area, contact a local agent.