One Agent’s Own Story With Critical Illness Insurance
To The Editor:
Regarding articles on critical illness insurance in the March 25, 2002 National Underwriter, let me relate my own story. It shows why I believe this coverage is valuable.
I’ve always considered myself a healthy person. At 33, I was in the best shape of my life–eating right, exercising regularly, enjoying my great family, and I loved my job.
So when I was diagnosed with leukemia, it was a shock. Like many of your readers, Im an agent who works on commission. If I can’t sell, I don’t get paid. Beating leukemia was going to take me away from work for months.
I never doubted my ability to survive. But I still had concerns: How would I support my family with no income? Would we have to move to a smaller house? Would my wife have to find a job? Who would take care of the kids?
Like most agents, I was well aware that Americans are living longer, healthier lives and surviving diseases that only a couple decades ago would have caused death. I’m living proof of that. But while survival rates have jumped, so have the related medical costs.
For instance, health care costs rose over 7% in 2000, the largest increase in a decade (Ceci Connoly, “Health Care Spending in U.S. Increases 7.2%,” Washington Post, Sept 27, 2001). The average stay in a hospital costs $32,558 (American Hospital Association, 1999). And the average price per prescription rose more than 40% between 1993 and 1998 (John Connor, “Prescription-Drug Spending Rose 84% Over Last Five Years, Study Says,” Dow Jones Business News, July 9, 1999).
In addition, like most agents, I was well aware that health insurance pays for things like doctor bills and traditional treatment, subject to co-pays, deductibles and non-covered procedures. I knew that disability insurance replaces a portion of monthly income, usually after a 30- to 90-day waiting period. And I knew there would be life insurance, should death occur.