Judge, Much?

I’ve had a very judgmental moment and am trying to reform.  I visited the blog of another family with a young child with KFS, and saw that they were trying to raise funds for their child’s medical treatment.  The total amount they needed, to cover the last 2 years worth of copays and deductibles (they did have medical insurance), was the equivalent of about 2 weeks of my family income (pre-tax).  My immediate first response was to judge.  I admit it.  I wondered why they had another child if they couldn’t afford what I thought were pretty minor medical costs?  I thought the “average” American family would have at least that amount in their rainy day savings?  Or at least could conceivably pay off that amount in within a year or two, by cutting back on other financial choices? What financial choices had led them to this place?

Financially, our family lives very conservatively.  The compelling argument in our family for not having a 3rd child is that we wouldn’t be able to afford a healthy, happy retirement AND college for all 3 kids.  So we’re sticking with 2.  We generally buy 1-2 year old cars and drive them for 10+ years.  Our mortgage payment is about 1/4 of what a mortgage broker would approve us for.  We saved hard for our retirement before having kids so that we could relax a bit now.  We stymie financial planners, since they have nothing to offer us, ha, ha.  Point being, we live well below what we could afford.  Luckily, that is still a comfortable amount, since we have 2 working adults.  But obviously, we still make some important sacrifices for financial security.  For us, the result is that our finances haven’t taken a major hit, even though we are likely to reach our out of pocket max on medical insurance every year for the next 20 (+?) years.  So the thought of having to ask strangers, or even family, for financial help has never even crossed my mind.

I am so grateful for medical insurance – I know we would be totally screwed if we DIDN’T have coverage.  Ironically, I’m totally for health coverage for all – the public option, if you will.  In principle, I want everyone to pay for everyone else’s medical care.  Why was I so judgmental about this one family’s unconventional method of getting co-insurance for their child?  In theory, I’m willing to pay for anyone’s medical expenses.

Maybe ultimately it comes down to fear.  It makes me so frightened to think of not being able to afford your medical care, Miss M.  If for some reason, at some point, laws change, you are held to a pre-existing condition clause – wow.  Our lives will change, not just the emotional, physical, and mental challenges we’ve had to endure so far, but also financially.  Everything we’ve worked so hard for will be gone, in an instant.  That fear is incredibly overwhelming.  I just sit here, kind of letting waves of it pass over me, imagining that possible future.  Such a helpless feeling.

So, I’m going to try to reform, in a “pay it forward” kind of way.  Fellow family with a young child with KFS, this stranger will support your cause and hopes my small contribution will help ease your worries and fears for your child.  Because I truly do believe that how to pay for your child’s medical condition should never be something that you should have to worry about.

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