Column 75

Remember that the basic concept of insurance is "pooling of risk". So in effect we are "all in this together".     In honor of the Thanksgiving holiday we will first say thank you to one another for paying premiums for insurance.  While it may be frustrating at times and may not always work as well as we like, the basic concept of risk sharing is still something that works.

I want to share a story that might put this in perspective.   One of my dearest friends and his wife had been lamenting the cost of the insurance premiums.  They were both quite healthy, as were the children.  It was becoming annoying at best to write the health insurance checks each month.  "I think we should drop this coverage and just go without. If we add up all the money we have paid, certainly we could just save that money and pay our medical bills" was the comment.

To date that was quite true. They discussed it and reluctantly decided against canceling "for now".  Then we talked about how they were excited about the new motorcycle they had purchased and it was going to be a great summer. 

On a warm summer evening, my friend decided to take a little spin on the new motorbike.  It was one of those perfect Redding summer evenings where it might feel good just to cruise the back roads.   Certainly, they aren't busy roads and the scenery is lovely.  We do live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet.  (I am forever grateful to my husband for choosing this place!)

To this day my friend can't tell you what happened.  He was told later that one of the first emergency responders was his mother-in-law.  Fortunately they were able to get him to the hospital quickly and operate immediately.  We are all thankful for the care and treatment he received.

There was immediate surgery here in Redding. There were ICU bills, treatment in San Jose at a specialty spine clinic, physical therapy, MRI, CT scans, Rx and many more surgeries since then.  The bills have totaled well over $1million. 

So clearly, it took some of your premium dollars to pay his bills. I told him that I was going to have the back of a Blue Shield hat embroidered with "Your premium dollars go here" and an arrow pointing to his cervical spine.

In the following year both his wife and daughter had orthopedic surgeries.  

So, I guess you could say they are thankful for insurance. Without it, they would have everything they had worked so hard to provide.  They may not have had the same access to care.

Another dear friend of mine was able to care for his dying wife, because his disability policy paid income to him during this most difficult time. His stress disability was very real.  He could not have continued his high intensity profession as a physician while dealing with the very real depression and anxiety that one faces while attending to a dying spouse.  Financial worries were not a part of the stress because of their good medical plan as well as a solid disability income insurance portfolio.

 

When another physician friend died last year, his widow called me immediately.  His declining health had left them financially strapped.  The life insurance proceeds were an important asset that allowed her to "stay in her own world" and pay off some of the debts accrued during that time.

Obviously these are dramatic stories.  We all don't face these kinds of catastrophic claims situation on a regular basis.  As for me, I am thankful that I am able to help clients provide some measure of financial security for themselves and their families.  If I have done my job, when catastrophe hits I can bring more than a casserole or flowers.