Are You Ready for Unexpected Medical Expenses? | Our Experience and The Real Cost of an Illness

Are You Ready for Unexpected Medical Expenses? | Our Experience and The Real Cost of an Illness

 Disclosure: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Aflac. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

hospitalIt all happened last January. It was early Sunday morning when my phone rang. On the other end was my Dad. He sounded confused and disoriented. His first sentence to me was, “What day is it?”. With my Dad’s long history of Hydrocephalus and his shunt he has had for years I knew that it might be malfunctioning. We had a short conversation about what he was feeling and what was going on. As we talked he seemed to clear up a little bit and promised to call me later that evening. He called as promised, still a little foggy but lucid and we decided he would check back in with me Monday morning before going to work. I never received that call.

I was a frantic mess that morning. I called my Dad’s cell and left messages several times that morning. Each time I made an excuse as to why he probably didn’t answer. Finally around 1 pm I decided I couldn’t handle it any longer and made the trip to check on him. My mind was racing with “what ifs” during the entire car ride and as I pulled up to his condo, I saw his car and knew he didn’t make it in to work… something was wrong.

I entered the condo without knocking and walked in on my Dad stumbling from the kitchen to the living room with a cream cheese sandwich. Seriously… he was so confused that he put an entire chunk of cream cheese between two piece of bread and was attempting to eat it. He thought it was still Friday and had no idea that his phone had been ringing all morning with calls from me and his work checking in on him. I made the decision that he needed to be seen (he is a typical man that insists he is fine) and took him to the local emergency room.

Hours later they had finished their scans and the ER doctor came in to tell us the fateful news. His new scan compared to an earlier one from the year before showed that the pressure was indeed building up in his brain and he needed a revision of his shunt. This is scary news. This very invasive procedure has produced terrible results for him in the past that were eventually remedied, but it was a necessity as the fluid was not draining from his brain correctly and this could be catastrophic.

My fears were justified. In a two week time frame he ended up with two revisions, a spinal fluid infection, was in intensive care for three weeks unable to get out of bed because they were draining his spinal fluid externally and then a complete replacement on the opposite side of his head. It was a long, scary, intense month followed by a week and a half in rehab. Although my Dad had major medical insurance, his medical bills were reaching the hundreds of thousands of dollars which meant a large out of pocket for him. As the bills began to stream in I was shocked at how much was not covered or how much they were paying out.

Did you know that medical debt is the leading cause of bankruptcy? It’s so clear to me now. Even if you have good insurance, something unexpected like this can leave you penniless, or even worse.

Aflac has created a Real Cost Calculator to help us be better prepared for the costs associated with unexpected injuries and illnesses. It goes beyond the average out-of-pocket expenses that most expect. Many don’t realize how an event like the one my Dad experienced can impact them financially. Not only do you have out-of-pocket expenses like deductibles and co-pays, but there are transportation costs, food, rent or mortgage, car payments, child care and utility bills that still need to be paid while you are out of work.

It pays to be prepared.

Having the option to cover life’s real costs and prepare for future financial stability is amazing.

The peace of mind that comes from not having to decide whether to pay a medical bill or buy groceries is priceless.


Disclosure: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Aflac. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.


  1. Skye Moyer says

    It never hurts to be prepared. The calculator looks awesome.

  2. Thanks for the great information. Never hurts to be prepared for an emergency. Very scary to think about!

  3. Bekah Kuczenski says

    This post hits very close to home! My healthy active 26 year old brother unexpectedly ended up in an ICU for close to a month due to sudden health problems. He was a student going for his doctorate and did not have health insurance. There was no way he or my family could afford his medical bills so he went bankrupt. We now know how important it is to be prepared it doesn’t matter how young or old you are you never know…

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