Accident Insurance in Action: One Guy, Two Broken Bones and $6,500 in Health Bills

Accident Insurance in Action: One Guy, Two Broken Bones and $6,500 in Health Bills

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From the time we’re ages 1 to, say, 45, we’re accident-prone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the top cause of death for under-45-year-olds is unintentional injury.

Think car crashes, falls and other accidents that come with being young, mobile and adventurous. No, it’s not likely that things will go wrong. But are you prepared if they do?

That’s where accident insurance comes in. Just ask Matt C., a 26-year-old who took his company softball game a little too seriously and found himself at the ER, owing thousands and filled with regret.

What Happened

Matt works at a retail store with about 20 other 20-somethings. Somebody proposed a softball game, and a few days later almost the whole staff was on board.

Fast-forward to the bottom of the seventh inning: Matt’s team was down by one run, and the energy was high. Up to bat, Matt hit a line drive to left field. He rounded first as the ball was thrown infield. Tight on time, he slid headfirst into second base.

Matt hit second with a roar of applause and, somewhat quieter, a distinct crunch. The dull ache in his arm gave way to a sharp pain as Matt lifted his arm and realized that his wrist was at an angle he’d never seen before. Oops. Definitely broken.

His co-workers took him to the ER. Two broken bones, one surgery and eight months in a cast later, he’s still paying back the $6,500 in medical bills.

Why It Happened

Matt had insurance through his company. Ever healthy, though, he’d never needed it. Because he just wanted a low premium, he hadn’t paid attention to his plan’s high deductible.

When the health bills came, he had to pay them outright until he met his $3,500 deductible, which emptied his life savings. Once he met the deductible, he then had to pay coinsurance — 20 percent of the costs of care. The bills kept rolling in after that: for the hospital, anesthesiologist, surgeon, physical therapist and more.

Coupled with student loans, it was a lot — and more than he could afford. He requested payment plans as he carved out what little extra money he had to pay off the medical debt. No more drinks or eating out. No more fun, period.

What Could Have Happened

Let’s wind the clock back and say that a year ago, Matt had bought an accident insurance policy to go with his regular health plan. At about the cost of a monthly Spotify subscription, the premiums were well within his budget.

Because this plan came with a $5,000 payout for accidents, he filed a claim after that first ER visit — and had cash not only for his deductible, but for most of his other bills, too.

In that scenario, it’s the same Matt. Same injury. Same bills. But with an accident insurance plan, he didn’t have to go into debt to pay for it all.

Planning for the Unexpected

With nearly 40 percent of working-age people enrolled in a high-deductible plan, Matt isn’t the only one who almost went broke after a one-time accident. But supplemental plans like accident insurance — which you can buy at any time, not just during open enrollment — can help pay for health and other costs across the board.

Depending on your needs, your story might be different from Matt’s. You might want to pay a higher premium for a higher payout, or the other way around. Either way, an accident plan will set you back less per month than a standard health insurance policy — which is why they go so great together.

The point is, supplemental insurance can help you plan for the things you can’t plan for. Broken bones, ER visits, sports injuries — all kinds of accidents happen when you least expect them. If they do, are you ready?

Bana Jobe

Bana Jobe is an award-winning medical writer with over 10 years of experience

All stories by:Bana Jobe

Bana Jobe

Bana Jobe is an award-winning medical writer with over 10 years of experience

All stories by:Bana Jobe