Close to home, what happens when you get sick and don’t have insurance

The year was 2011. I was 27 years old and a lot was happening in the world.

This was the year that the Japanese Tsumani would wipe out a nuclear power station causing massive devastation both to the environment and to the future of nuclear power.

This was the year that Katy Perry would have us believing we were a Firework and LMFAO had us party rocking.

This was also the year that Prince William and Kate Middleton tied the knot.

On a personal level, 2011 was a huge year for me. This was the year that Ben proposed and the year that we bought our apartment together. It really seemed like our lives and the lives of our friends were starting to take shape. We were going to be real adults!

This was also the year that I learned we are not invincible.

Our first apartment may have been small, but we were pretty excited to have a place to call our own.

The day everything changed

In 2011, my best friend told me that her husband had been rushed to hospital. It had been a normal day for him and he had been driving to work. He was 29 years old, perfectly fit and the provider for his wife and young child.

He started to feel unwell and pulled over as he knew he was going to vomit. Next thing he knew, he was being rushed to hospital and subjected to a million different types of tests.

These moments were tense as an army of doctors and nurses, prodded him, tested him and asked him a barrage of questions. Whilst he didn’t feel well, surely there was nothing seriously wrong with him. After all, he was only 29!

He was eventually diagnosed with Cardiomyopathy which is a degrading condition of the heart. Unfortunately, Cardiomyopathy is not curable, and he is likely going to need a new heart at some point in the future.

The time in hospital

Whilst in hospital, he thought to himself “why not get a few extra tests done”. After all, he had some down time and they had already prodded him a million times anyway.

During these tests the doctors discovered that he had Testicular Cancer.

The cancer had progressed and he would need immediate surgery and 9 weeks of chemotherapy. A difficult task as they were still treating him for his heart condition.

The doctors explained that the heart condition would simply need to wait until he had recovered from the chemo.

He would eventually finish his chemo, have surgery for his heart and get back to an ordinary life. But this would be far from a smooth ride.

Driving himself to chemo

My friend is no ordinary guy. Something like chemo wasn’t going to get him down and I would regularly get messages containing videos of him driving to chemo whilst rapping out his favourite songs.

When things get tough, both he and my best friend get tougher. This is what I love about them and why we will be lifelong friends. But these videos don’t tell the true story of what was life during this period.

He didn’t have insurance.

We didn’t start Bounce Financial until 2014 and prior to this, my previous job didn’t involve recommending insurance. Nobody I knew took their insurance seriously and to be honest, very few people do now.

Not only did my friend not have health insurance, he didn’t have any income protection insurance.

Overnight his income stopped. The same income that supported his wife and his very young baby. The income that kept the lights on, bought the nappies, the income that paid the rent.

Gone.

Now my friends are no pushovers. My best friend amped up her work. They cut expenses and leaned on friends and family where they could. They made it work because these are the types of people they are. But, it was far from easy.

First of all, with my best friend back at work full-time to cover their expenses, he had to go through chemo alone. This meant driving himself to chemo, going through hours of the procedure and then driving himself home.

Any moment where he felt overwhelmed, sick, or didn’t know what was going to happen, he had to face that alone. He did it bravely and without hesitation, but it was a hard period for him.

When he eventually did recover, he was limited in how much he could do. He is a tough guy and makes it work, but how he chooses to work and what he can do will always be affected. He also can’t get insurance now.

What I wish I had done differently

When it comes to my client’s and friends, I can’t overemphasise how important insurance is. If you have a young family and you earn money, you NEED income protection insurance. There are ways to make it affordable including paying for it from your super, but you need to have it.

I also would have recommended he have ‘Trauma’ Insurance which both Ben and I now have. Trauma insurance pays a lump sum when a traumatic event such as what happened to my friend takes place. It means you have access to money straight away to pay for medical bills and other expenses that come up.

Do you have income protection insurance?

Not all insurances are made equally, for many people who have default insurance provided through their super fund, this simply isn’t good enough to cover them if something were to happen. If you are worried about your insurance, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Coming up with financial plans to achieve your goals is the thing that gets me out of bed in the morning. Recommending insurance to protect that financial plan is what lets me sleep at night.

This post is from our resident Financial Planner Cara Brett, check out her details in the About Us section.

Want more information like this? Of course you do, sign up to our newsletter and we’ll keep you informed.

Posted in: Cara Brett, Insurance

About the author: Cara Brett

Cara Brett proudly heads up Bounce Financial - founded in 2014 after a successful, decade-long career in the financial services industry. Cara’s experience encompasses both the financial product and financial advice sides. This gives her a comprehensive and holistic knowledge of all facets of financial planning.