I have been sick with bronchitis the last few days. It came on quick and nasty. I am beginning to feel human again today for the first time, now that I am on a pretty strong anti-biotic and a steroid.
I have missed three days of work and barely been able to leave my bed or couch for three days.
Now that I am feeling better, I can reflect on some realities of the situation as this relates to our national healthcare debate and economic realities.
One current proposal in the CT state legislature would require providing paid sick leave for hourly employees. The argument against this, of course, is that it adds one more cost to the cost-of-doing-business in the state. One of the arguments for it is that unless you provide paid sick leave, people will work sick — which ultimately can cost much more to businesses and the state as more people get sick, miss work, etc. (and some who get sick are uninsured). These are particularly tricky issues in the restaurant/foodservice industry, when, frankly, working-while-sick endangers customers (the policy at the restaurant I work at is that if sick, you are not to work).
So… besides being miserable for three days (including my birthday), I estimate that these three days of sickness cost me approximately $500 out of pocket.
Doctor’s Visit – $30 copay
Two prescriptions – 2 x $15 copay = $30
OTC Cold & Cough, etc – $30
Lost income – $375
Misc Expenses – $100
The miscellaneous expenses include ordering in soup from every Asian restaurant around that will deliver (wonton, hot and sour, pho, miso, etc), gallons of Gatorade, etc.
Now here are a few things to remember: (1) I have medical insurance (without it, my doctor’s visit would have cost $100 and the medicine almost $150); (2) I am single and no one else relies on me financially; and (3) a part from student loans, I am debt-free and also have a 6-month cash emergency fund (thanks to following the Dave Ramsey Financial Freedom Plan).
So all-in-all, apart from three days of misery, this is a minor inconveinence, not a financial disaster.
BUT… if I was supporting a family and living on a tight paycheck-to-paycheck budget, this would be a serious financial stress,
AND… if I didn’t have health insurance, was carrying lots of debt and living paycheck-to-paycheck, had others relying on me financially, etc, this could have been a financial disaster — especially during the holidays and winter months (when heating bills, gas prices, etc, all go up).
SO… all-in-all, a reminder of (1) how blessed I am (and thankful for that!); and (2) the realities that many people live with every day; and (3) why the issues we debate (like healthcare, sick leave, etc, etc) and the work we do at places like MACC with at-risk families, are so critical; and (4) why everyone should get on the Dave Ramsey plan!