The Almighty Dollar

Restoring some fiscal sanity in our -- negative savings rate -- lives

4.13.2006

When it comes to health, older folks have harder choices

I have another story that reinforces my previous post about the importance of insurance. My father-in-law recently learned that he had cysts in his throat. The doctor informed him that his thyroid needed to be removed.

I know this procedure isn't that unusual. In fact, my husband's co-worker had hers taken out, and she can function perfectly fine with daily medication. However, my father-in-law is nearing 60 years old, and the risks for complications are much higher in older folks.

He had his surgery two days ago and was released from the hospital last night. Barring a few minor problems, he is recovering nicely. My husband is traveling to see his parents over the long Easter weekend (well, long for him, not for me -- I have to work).

His unexpected surgery made me recall a conversation I had earlier with my mother-in-law. When I visited the in-laws this past winter, she told me they had changed their health insurance plan to a cheaper one, hence, getting less coverage than before. They felt it was worth paying a higher deductible to save on the recurring monthly premiums. I was a bit concerned about their decision, because I felt that it was wiser to enhance, not reduce, health coverage as one gets older. At the time, their health was generally good, but by no means perfect.

People have a tendency to neglect their bodies' warning signs, until a problem becomes serious, and therefore, expensive to fix. Now I wonder if the small monthly savings was worth changing to a cheaper plan.