Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Cost of Being Sick.

The cost of being sick, this topic keeps coming back to me, unfortunately because we just can not seem to kick the bugs that have been going around. As I type, I'm trying to recoup from Sinusitis and the Summer Cold. My kids have all started in on the cold too. Somehow my husband seems to avoid getting sick pretty well. 

Anyhow, I have a hard time preparing financially for being sick because: 

1) we don't know WHEN we'll be sick and 

2) we overlook costs associated with being sick. 

I've decided to look at the past few times we have been sick ourselves and learn from it. This is what I have learned.

First the obvious:

1) DOCTOR VISITS. Just for two family members we paid $50 in co-pays with more to come because we have yet to meet our insurance deductibles. Luckily, this is one spot where we have been able to plan ahead by having an HSA account that we put money into each paycheck to cover such medical costs.

2) MEDS. Maybe I'm going to the wrong pharmacy but medicines for ear infections for the kids are super expensive, especially when you have a child allergic to penicillin! And those ear drops... oh only $120! Again, I'm glad I do have some form of insurance because that number would be much more outrageous. And I'm super glad that our HSA account can also be used for meds. We can just use our HSA debit Master Card to pay for, assuming we have funded the account enough to cover such expenses. When we have the option to increase our contribution, we WILL. 

3)MISSED WORK. Hopefully you get paid sick days but even then, if you have an employer who offers paid sick days, many will also let you cash out those paid sick days if never used. So it's really a loose loose here. (It's a good thing my husband doesn't get sick since he's the one bringing home the bacon)

Now the not so obvious costs:

1) GAS to get to the Dr.'s then to the Pharmacy- which we had to go to three times because our prescription wasn't showing for some reason... ugh. When you are sick you sure don't want to go to the pharmacy THREE times in a day.

2) FOOD. I have a fridge full of fresh veggies and fruit but do you think for a second that while I'm sick I want to prepare and cook? Heck no. So during those three visits to the pharmacy which is located in my local grocery store... I spent time buying groceries, fast easy groceries and some foods/snacks that I otherwise would not have bought.

3)TIME. You've all heard time is money. We all know we can never have enough time or make up for lost time- doesn't stop us from trying but it just can't be done. I'm supposed to be running and training for my first half marathon. I haven't ran since Thursday? I think. My brain isn't so bright right now, lol. I'm sure hoping this hasn't thrown my completely off track and that I'll be feeling better soon. Not to mention all the time I could be spending doing better things such as cleaning the house(ok not so much better), and playing with the kids, going swimming, you know HAVING FUN! 

4) GYM PASS being wasted. Luckily I only pay $10 a month and a yearly $30 renewal so for one to two weeks missed at the gym I'll just go with $5. 

If I were to put a price tag on our current bout of sickness I'd say it is about $350. 

Here's the breakdown:

Dr's Visit $170
Meds $60
Missed work $0 
Food $100
Gas $15-
(we live super close to everything)
Gym $5
And then if you add in your insurance premiums, the number goes way up...

Not to mention TIME: so far 96 hours- I'm on day 4 of being sick. And if I was getting paid for even 8 hours a day... that is 48 hours... lets say I'm a professional making $20 an hour(hey I could be)... that is a total of $960 lost. 

And one more I don't know how to calculate, utilities. Yes, utilities... because we are turning the a/c on and off, watching more tv, using humidifiers, staying in doors more, eating microwaveable foods more. It impacts everything. 

That gym membership is hopefully helping me to be more healthy. 

Now if I had records to show that the $2000+ insurance premiums we pay a year are actually worth it. This past year, I'd say no... because I didn't have a baby. But every year I've had a baby it's been worth it. And every year we've had medical issues come up like tubes for the boy or a cyst removal or RSV... it has been worth it too. 

It's an odd question but can you afford to be sick? 
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Mrs. Lay said...

You should check out this video about how to save money on health care

KC said...

I hate being sick. Actually I hate when my kids are sick. They are so pathetic. I just hate for them to feel bad. As for the money part as long as they aren't too sick we don't go to the doctor but if it is serious we will go. It def pays to not be sick! We don't have the best insurance at the moment and only well visits are covered. Ouch!

Julie said...

KC, I agree. I usually don't run to the Dr right away either. Since it was being persistent around our house I decided we just needed to get it gone. I *think* we finally kicked it!

And can I say, I checked out your blog and I wanted to cry! I can't imagine such a circumstance nor how I would handle it.

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