Just One Step Away

Todd Washburn |

Recently my wife was at Logan International Airport in Boston, catching a flight home.  She fell- breaking her ankle.  A rather nasty break at that.  Off to Mass General.  Surgery the next morning.  –She in Boston, me in Durham.  I needed to get there.  Board the dog.  Farm the kid out to very kind friends.  Cancel and/or reschedule client and other meetings.  Flight, hotel, etc.  Life went topsy-turvy in an instant.

We haven’t even talked about money.  For her- ambulance, 3 days in Mass General, ankle surgery and a last minute business class flight (leg-room) home.  For me- last minute flights up and back, 2 nights in a hotel, food, transport, etc.  We’re talking real money here.

The above is true, except I’ve left out one very important detail.  She was in Boston on business.  Her company immediately filed a Workman’s Comp claim to cover medical expenses.  They have an emergency medical services company that arranged flights, hotel, airport assistance, etc.  They, and an incredible staff at the Marriot Cambridge, made it all work.  We were very lucky. 

But imagine if it was personal travel, or her company didn’t carry Workman’s Comp.  Just imagine what that could do to a household’s finances- especially with a $6,000 or even $12,000 medical deductible.  We really can be just one misstep (pun intended) from financial hardship.  Sometimes, I think, we believe that people in financial trouble were irresponsible.  Maybe, they were just unlucky.  Until the healthcare system is fixed and high deductibles reigned in, an awful lot of people a little less “lucky” than –we were could be in a lot of trouble.

I don’t know if there’s a moral to this story, but watch the discussions on healthcare reform. (I don’t believe it’s dead).  Ask yourself- would the changes proposed help or hurt in this situation?