Insurance is a crucially important aspect of everyday life, but it is one that is often overlooked. It is seem by some with scorn as something that is a financial burden to them when, in reality, it is in place to free them from other potential financial burdens that could come at any moment. Insurance is present in our everyday lives to try to relieve some of the pressure of those unplanned disasters that tend to occur in each and every life. Although it is impossible to accurately predict most of these unfortunate occurrences, insurance works to alleviate some of the stress and hardship they cause.
As a child, I did not have health insurance. My family, which was composed of two parents and four children, was lower-middle income. There was little money to be spared anywhere that was deemed to be not completely necessary, and health insurance fell into that category. Although it was seen as being something that saved us money much of the time, there were certainly instances where our finances were stretched thinner than usual with doctor bills that needed to be paid. When I was in elementary school, I severely sprained my ankle, which required x-rays to ensure the correct diagnosis. Although I did not stop to think about it at the time, I can only imagine how much stress that hospital bill put on my parents. Because I did not have any dental insurance, dentist visits were also a difficult financial accommodations. Regardless of how often or well we brush our teeth, my sister and I have always been prone to cavities. With each filling becoming more expensive than the last, those visits came with a high cost.
As a freshmen in high school, my mom, sister, and I all moved out together. We were solely being supported by my mom’s low wages, and she knew that she would be unable to afford any surprise medical costs. Because of this, we applied and were accepted to receive Medicaid. This was the first time in my life that I knew that my health costs wouldn’t cause my family to sink into poverty. I was fifteen years old. Although there were stipulations to this insurance, it was a great relief to have it. I could get go to the doctor and get a physical to ensure that I could continue to be on the golf team without fearing its cost. I could get a tooth pain checked out instead of trying to ignore it so as to not be subject to paying a potentially unnecessary bill. The stress of something being wrong with my health was no longer coupled so directly with my fear of my family being unable to pay for the necessities, such as groceries, water, and heat. I always knew that my mom would make anything work in order to keep us healthy, happy, and safe, but I never wanted her to have to sacrifice anything.
There was one particular instance in my life where my dental insurance protected me from potential future misfortune. My wisdom teeth began to grow in notably when I was a senior in high school. They weren’t a problem at first, but my mom suggested that we get them looked at when one of them was causing me discomfort. The dentist agree that they should be removed if they were causing me problems, but my insurance only permitted me to have two taken out a time due to the expense. I had x-rays taken of them all to get an idea of which ones needed to be removed more immediately. Upon inspecting these x-rays, the dentist realized that one of the teeth that had not yet broken through the gums was actually growing near to my nerve. At the time, I had been very involved in choirs and was intending on being a vocal music major at the time. Because he recognized that this could cause me significant difficulty in the future in relation to music, we knew that the teeth that appeared to be causing me the least amount of problems were the ones that could potentially create a disaster for me. Without insurance, I would not have been able to get this seemingly unnecessary x-ray. Since I was able to get it, I have suffered no injury and can gratefully sing in my choir and voice lessons at Luther College.
Insurance, namely health insurance, has played an important role in the last five years of my life. It has given me the comfort of knowing that my health concerns will not shatter my family’s financial stability. It has often been written off as a luxury and not completely necessary, even by my own family at times, but it is a tool that not only offers the knowledge that any problems will be taken care of, but it also can spare individuals and families alike from the struggle of having to make ends meet through the added pressure of a disaster. In the majority of situations where insurance is necessary, nobody needs the added strain of worrying about how they will make it financially through the problem. These spontaneous circumstances can cause a significant amount of hardship in a variety of ways, and insurance does a great deal to alleviate many of these worries.
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