I hate tax season. When I start compiling all the documents, look at our W2 forms and realize where all our money has gone. A good amount to charity, not a great amount, but a nice amount. Money we worked hard for and in David’s case a lot of overtime. Money we are saving for retirement seems to dwindle each year. Vacations become more camping trips and economical. Holidays and birthdays become less extravagant and more meaningful.
CNN reports that the “average cost” of raising ONE child from birth to age 18 is a staggering $245,000. That is a quarter of a million dollars. This is the “average”, according to the report those in the Northeast can expect to spend an estimated $455,000. A half-million dollars and costs are rising. And that doesn’t include what your family may pay for auto insurance, driver’s ed, tutors or college costs (or the cost of your 25 year-old that continues to live with you).
Let that sink in for a moment.
If you live in the “more affluent” Northeast, you will spend half of a million dollars to raise, feed, school and house your child. With no extras, like the concert she has to go to with her friends. Healthcare costs alone are an estimated $20,000. For ONE child. One child who is HEALTHY.
What if they are not healthy?
Over the course of 2014 Bridget cost me about three months of unpaid time off for doctor’s appointments, therapy appointments, hospitalizations, etc…Travel costs to GA cost almost $1000 (what we could have spent on a family vacation). Traveling to Boston for doctor’s visits and to therapy appointments put over 2,000 miles on my car and over $100 in parking fees. I do not even want to estimate the fuel costs. Then we include the actual cash it took to pay for her supplemental insurance ($2500) as our family coverage does not cover all of her needs, her LoJack ($330), the physician in GA ($1000) that wasn’t covered by our insurance and miscellaneous therapy toys/devices. Special swim classes, IPad programs and daily living expenses.
It adds up and compounds.
Since Bridget birth the lost wages alone is gut clenching. Adding up the cash (or credit) paid out in 2014 our family spent almost $5000 in healthcare costs for Bridget. According to CNN the average amount (estimated) you will spend between birth and 18 years of age on your child will be $20,000 in healthcare costs.
That is an average of $1,000 a year. Bridget cost five times that amount. That cost will rise as she ages. Yet Bridget is relatively healthy. There are children much sicker and families who are not in a position to work a second job or dual income. These are healthcare costs, not including the “other” expenses we will incur. For example, having to buy a larger car that fits her secure seat and has a trunk large enough to place her wheelchair. Gosh I miss my little car.
I can’t believe how much it costs our family annually to give Bridget all she needs. At a 4% annual cost of living increase, over 18 years Bridget will cost our family (estimated) $129,000 for her healthcare. This is a conservative amount as healthcare costs rise much higher than 4% each year. For our family, Bridget’s healthcare will not stop at 18 years of age. We will be responsible for her care for the rest of her life.
Yet we are beyond lucky and grateful that Bridget has two insurance policies. Without them her care would have cost our family $10,000 in the month of January. TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS for 30 days worth of care. Her medications alone would have cost us over a thousand dollars. I give thanks daily that we are one of the fortunate ones. There are many less fortunate family situations. There are others in states that do not allow you to purchase supplemental Medicaid so your child can flourish.
When people tell me they are against Obama/Romney Care I try to explain to them they have no idea how precious health insurance is until you cannot live without the coverage. The time is now to allow all families in this country to be allowed to access the Medicaid system as a supplement. Yes, we pay a portion of the premium and we are thankful. Having to pay two premiums are budget constraining for sure. But the alternative?
We willingly give up the salary, the extravagant vacations, the “extras” because we wouldn’t want to imagine our lives without Bridget.
Cost is no object.
This is how I answered the Finish the Sentence Friday prompt: “I can’t believe how much it costs to….” Hosted by:
(Editorial note–This post is not pro or anti Obamacare. What I am pro-for is that families with disabled persons should be allowed to purchase supplemental Medicaid to cover expenses for their loved ones. Without sending that family into poverty)