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Details of health care reform

Posted February 19, 2014 in Advice Column, Winterset

At the end of 2013, in the midst of preparation for holiday festivities, my family was suddenly sidelined by a serious illness. My son, Brock, came down sick on Dec. 15. At first we assumed it was a virus or stomach bug, because he had a friend who was dealing with that at the time. His symptoms got worse instead of better, though, and eventually he ended up in the hospital with a burst appendix.

Interestingly, the old, well-known treatment for a burst appendix has recently changed. It used to be that the first priority was to take out the ruptured appendix ASAP, but Blank Children’s Hospital suggested we treat the infection first, with strong antibiotics over a period of several weeks. Then we would go back to have the appendix removed when there would be less risk of further infection during the surgical procedure. Thank God for doctors and researchers. This new approach has worked very well for Brock, but the whole situation made the need for quality health care insurance very real for me in a hurry, for two big reasons.

First, while a lot of the paperwork was a blur during this difficult time, I did see at least one medical bill with a subtotal of approximately $20,000 for our four-day hospital stay in December. It was such a relief to know that I didn’t need to worry about that price tag, because we only had to pay the deductible that we had set. (We had set it fairly high on purpose, at $5,000, because we are generally healthy.) And second, knowing what I know about health care reform, I realized that I could take out another policy with a lower deductible to help cover the expenses of the upcoming surgery in February, because it was a separate stay. This would not have been possible before due to having a pre-existing condition, which is no longer a barrier. I shared this information with one of our nurses at the hospital who was about seven months pregnant, and she realized that she, too, may be able to get coverage to help with the expense of her delivery.

Like it or not, with health care reform, the deadline for purchasing health care insurance is coming up on March 15 to avoid paying a penalty for not having coverage. And, if you choose to pay the penalty, that will not give you coverage anyway. The staff at Johnson Insurance is knowledgeable about health care insurance and reform, and we can help find you creative and affordable solutions that will help you meet government requirements, put those dollars to work, and give you peace of mind. I can tell you firsthand, the peace of mind is worth it.

Information provided by Eric Johnson, Johnson Insurance, 1217 N. Sixth Ave., Suite 4, Winterset, 515-462-4553.

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