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Life Health > Health Insurance > Health Insurance

Disability Insurance Observer: The Kids

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Children generally don’t have much income, but their parents often do.

Maybe it would be helpful if someone could come up with some kind of optional program that would help parents understand and prepare for the cost of kids doing the things kids do.

The details here are changed to protect the privacy of the parties involved and my guilty conscience.

But, anyhow: Someone — let’s say it was me — had the bright idea of inviting a 6-year-old to come ice skating with my child yesterday, on Mother’s Day. The boy’s father was there, my daughter and the 6-year-old were having a great time, then, bam, the 6-year-old smacked into the wall and broke his arm.

The boy’s arm will be in a cast for at least 4 weeks, and he has to stay home from school for a week.

The boy has good health insurance, thank goodness. The parents will use a combination of paid and unpaid leave days to patch together enough time off to get their son better. Everything will work out.

But it hit me, as we were heading to the emergency room being very polite to one another, that one problem is that parents never seem get the kinds of risk data that disability insurers like Unum Group Corp., Chattanooga, Tenn. (NYSE:UNM), provide for adult income protection policies.

Parents know that they should avoid letting children run up slides the wrong way, and that letting children ski is not for the faint of heart, but it’s hard to figure out what the risks really are. Discussions about the risks we expose children to seem to devolve into arguments about, “You’re a a helicopter parent!” vs. “You’re a reckless maniac!”

If insurers sold “fun insurance” coverage that protected families against the risk of children participating  in ordinary childhood activities, such as roller skating, ice skating and horesback riding, then parents could pay a little extra to protect themselves against the loss of income and other non-medical costs associated with children getting hurt, voluntary benefits sellers could generate a little extra commission revenue, and insurers could help reduce the incidence of injuries, by giving parents extra information about what the risks associated with participating in various activities really are.


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