Medical catastrophe

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A medical catastrophe can generate enormous bills. Beyond that, it can affect your ability to earn a living. A serious illness or injury can be devastating to your health and your finances.
Transcript

Medical catastrophe

Medical catastrophe

What happens to me if I have a medical catastrophe I can't afford?

A medical catastrophe can generate enormous bills. Beyond that, it can affect your ability to earn a living. A serious illness or injury can be devastating to your health and your finances.

There's no way to know exactly what life will bring. As we can see with our friend, Gary, it's often wonderful things, like love, the job you've always wanted, and an occasional little surprise.

But, without getting too philosophical here, life is like a wheel. Sometimes, it can even seem like a Wheel of Misfortune. It can bring serious illness or injury that prevents you from working. You might need an extended hospital stay or rehabilitation. In the meantime, how will you support yourself and your family? Financial woes can escalate fast. In fact, recent research shows that medical bills contributed to more than 60% of all bankruptcies.

If such an event should occur, you can talk with the counselor or social worker at the hospital. If your condition can be classified as a disability, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. But that may not take effect for months. Or, you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income. Both are federal programs that provide assistance for people with disabilities.

But what can you do now to help prevent a crisis?

Well, in addition to doing all you can to stay healthy, like exercising, eating right, and not smoking, you need to be aware of the possibilities and prepared to deal with them.

One way is to use Humana’s Healthcare Budget Planner®. This tool will help you plan for and manage your healthcare expenses.

Also, basic health insurance is essential. You should know, however, that even a good basic plan has a lifetime maximum that may range from one to three million dollars. And, it's only designed to cover medical expenses, not living expenses.

Catastrophic or critical illness insurance can help. Coverage usually involves a lump sum payment that is made after you are diagnosed with a serious illness that is covered by the plan. This lump sum may be full or partial, depending on your particular case. It is awarded without regard to your medical bills and may be used any way you see fit.

Another option is occupational disability insurance. This will pay a percentage of your gross monthly salary to cover expenses and protect your finances if you can't work due to a covered injury or illness.

So, what would happen if Gary were laid up for several months following an accident? His occupational disability insurance would provide a source of income while he was recovering. It gives him and his family peace of mind, knowing that they could keep paying their bills and mortgage so they wouldn't lose the home they love.

Summary of what could happen to you in a medical catastrophe

On the wheel of life, expect the best, but plan for the worst. Think about what could happen if you had a medical catastrophe and couldn't work. Consider your options and your budget. Weigh the cost of supplemental insurance versus the cost of not having it. And know exactly what your insurance does — and does not — cover.

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