Keely L

Often times, it is hard to convince someone of the value of insurance, because they cannot hold it in their hands. It’s intangible and many people refuse to take something at face value when it tells them they are covered. They believe catastrophic events or incidents only happen to other people, but never to them. No matter the circumstances whether it be a health issue, an automobile collision, a flood, a fire, or the loss of a life, chances are higher that it will not happen. That is what people focus on instead of noting that it still DOES happen and these tragedies could take them as its victims tomorrow. Insurance and its effects on my family is how and why insurance has become important to me and shown me how much I will need it in my future.

Years ago, my great uncle at 33 years of age went for a walk on a cold single-digit night. He was found frozen the next morning in a ditch. His death hit the family hard emotionally, and especially financially. It sent everyone in a panic, but thankfully the insurance company notified the family that he had a life insurance policy worth $10,000. This lifted a burden and with his insurance he was able to receive a proper funeral, like he deserved. His family now could focus on the grieving and healing process, not worrying about what they would have to sacrifice to have the money to pay for a burial.

My father served over 21 years in the United States Navy and because of that for the rest of his and my mother’s life, they will have full and free health insurance coverage. My father has had five major back surgeries and went through 46 chemotherapy treatments. Without this health insurance, we would be in mounds of debt because of hospital bills. My sister, 29, has Crohn’s disease and no longer has health insurance. The effects that have occurred because of her lack of insurance is sad to see. There is no other way to put it. Sometimes her Crohn’s disease flares up and she cannot go to the hospital, because she cannot afford it. In these cases, no insurance equals suffering. On my end, until I am 26 and in an academic institution of some sort, I will also receive full and free health coverage. I suffer from extreme asthma and require several expensive medications, that otherwise I could not afford. When I was 11 years old, I broke the growth plates in my arm, a career-ending injury,  and tore my rotator cuff. I was told that without the proper treatment, I would never be able to play tennis again. Our insurance company approved a certain number of physical therapy sessions I could go to and simply pay a small co-pay. Ten months later I was back on the court, and 5 years later I am playing better than ever. I am reminded how insurance is a form of luxury. It gives me the ability to go to the doctor when I am sick or hurt, and I wish others had the same. My return to tennis and what the insurance company allowed me and continues to allow me to have is one of the things I am forever grateful for.

On my 12th birthday, I received a phone call from my grandmother. I assumed she was calling to wish me a happy birthday, but her message was much different. My cousin had been in a car accident and was pronounced brain dead by six doctors. He was constantly being transported for a new specialist to see him and give him the same prognosis, he wouldn’t make it. We stuck through two months of a coma and constantly hearing he would never make it. Through prayer and nothing short of a pure miracle, he did make it. However, the trouble did not end there. With being airlifted to a trauma center, months of residency in the trauma center, constant rehabilitation therapy, and a nurse to come to his house, he accumulated over $1 million total in bills. While the insurance company did not cover all of it, we have to consider just how much more his bills would have been if the insurance company did not cover any of it.

It is reassuring to me if one day, in the event that something terrible does happen, I know I will be protected financially in some way shape or form. It’s these stories that function as a reality-check to me and hopefully to others just how much we all need insurance. Car insurance is required, and beyond that our options are open for our needs (large and small). For those who live along a fault line, there is an earthquake insurance. For those who mail packages and worry that the packages may be stolen, lost, or damaged, there is shipping insurance. These options extend past the individual, and are also available for businesses. No matter how prepared we feel, how much we save, how much our income is, or how healthy we are, something will always come up. There is no planning on our level for a natural disaster or an illness. Therefore, that’s what insurance handles. Unlike us, it expects the unexpected and deals with it accordingly. Insurance is important because it answers the “what if”. It quells the worrying mind, it deflects harsh blows that are dealt, and it transforms the victim into a victor.

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