Connor G

If there was one necessity that most everyone could agree on, besides water and food of course, it would be insurance. Some complain about insurance just because they visualize the red numbers exiting their bank account monthly. This is ignorance and these individuals have not experienced how helpful insurance can be in times of great need. It helps financially in both times of need and times of great expense. It resembles more of a pair of caring, rich grandparents that require you spend some time with them every month. Maybe sometimes hanging out can be inconvenient, but once Christmas comes you are more than thankful of the time spent. If an individual has ever relied on insurance, more often than not, they will speak positively of it. I have witnessed both extremes and believe the fine-line is in the middle. It is a red number in your checking account, but once something doesn’t go according to plan, it is all green.

During the summer I am a lifeguard at a local state park. I noticed one of the head guards had a square-like shape protruding below her collar bone on her left side. After a very lengthy conversation, she had told me it was a pacemaker that was implanted after she had collapsed in gym class during her sophomore year of high-school. She had a recessive genetic disorder that doctors had never caught, and her brother was then discovered to have the identical disease. I like to consider myself a financially conscious and curious person, so I couldn’t resist asking the price of the pacemaker. My initial guess was $15,000, but I was definitely wrong. The total price of her pacemaker, along with other added expenses, was over $100,000. I imagined a Lamborghini spontaneously combusting during a free-fall into a volcano. Her parents are typical middle-class Americans and there was no possibility of affording such astronomical costs, luckily they had health insurance. The family paid 2% of total expenses, a fraction of what the experience cost as a whole. If health insurance never existed, my co-worker’s family could be drowning in debt, or worse, they may not have a daughter. She is one of many individuals who are living proof that health insurance, and insurance in general, are truly great.

It is scary how much we take things for granted on the day-to-day. Someone may swerve in the road, there might be a flood warning or a heart could skip a beat. What happens when the swerve becomes a collision, a storm becomes a flood, or the skipping of a heart beat manifests into a new pacemaker. The short answer is a lot happens and it is extremely stressful, but not in most financial aspects because insurance provides a helping hand. A situation similar to these examples happened to my own father when he was young. I may not be here today if my father’s finances were not corrected in his time of need.

Approximately 25 years ago, my father was working on the family farm where my grandparents had worked, he had worked and where I would eventually work as a teen.  It was a normal day like any other until a tragic accident happened that would change the family’s life forever. He was mowing a field with a tractor that had no cab (a much older model that was not par with modern safety requirements). The grass was very grown up at the time and during one passing of the field his tractor hit a stump. He was immediately ejected and thrown into a disc spinning mower. He was trapped, with the tractor still moving and mower still spinning, until very conveniently the tractor stalled on a small knoll. He could only yell help until the neighbors called 911. He was then airlifted to the nearest major hospital. His left arm was amputated almost immediately once he arrived due to the extent of damage. Unfortunately, it was not enough to stabilize his condition and several days later, once he was in a slightly more sustainable state, they amputated his left leg due to infection.

Today he is on his feet and living life very similar to before and actually remained working on the farm until 2010. Thanks to modern prosthetic design, life only has to make minute changes opposed to monumental ones. Obviously an air lift, months in the hospital, months with a caretaker in the home and a lifetime of prosthetics cannot be cheap.

This is how insurance has affected my life, without financial assistance where it was necessary my parents may not have been in a financial position to justify conceiving a child. If my father had not had health insurance at the time (as a 22 year old) life may be very different from what it currently is. Of course he had other financial assistance such as local fund raisers and a college fraternity. His prosthetics are by no means cheap, and as one can imagine, working on a farm is one of the most strenuous occupations imaginable. On average, he has needed both a new prosthetic arm and leg every other year since his accident. If the costs came completely out of pocket, the total cost for 20 years of prosthetics for my father would average approximately $600,000. That would arguably be a greater disability than the one he currently has. It feels like too often insurance is taken for granted, but if someone were to ask my family or father their opinions, they could not talk highly enough. It is common knowledge that life is not fair and insurance can mitigate that unfairness by investing back into those who invest in them.

Insurance is important to me because I know the benefits.  I have personally seen the power it has to help those that have been granted unfortunate circumstances. I know already that in the future there may come a time when my car slips off the road during inclement weather, when a loved one dies, or when I could be diagnosed with a disease. All of these possible scenarios have one thing in common. If any of these events were to occur, then the statements won’t be, “How much is a new car door going to cost you?“ or “I’m sorry for your cancer diagnosis, I hope you can get out of debt one day.” Instead we hear, “I’m so sorry. How are you doing?” or “I am sorry for your loss.  They were a great person.” The difference here is that insurance always helps us focus on what is important, as it allows more emphasis to be directed onto the truly meaningful aspects of life.

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