“Both my kids’ birthdays are coming up and it is really stressful,” she said. “You want to make their birthdays special but you’re not sure if you should spend the money because we don’t know when my husband will be back to work.”
NOT SURE? You explain the situation and tell the children their presents are delayed, but you will celebrate and do something fun that doesn’t cost extra, bake a cake. If you don’t have an emergency fund, you shouldn’t be spending the money even without the shutdown.
Mr. Nye, who has worked for the FAA for 15 years maintaining air-traffic-control systems, said he had never before considered applying for unemployment benefits, nor going into debt to pay for necessities. “It’s an eye opener to be like, ‘Oh crap, we don’t have our savings in the place that we should.’ That’s been a reality check for sure,” his wife, Jessica Nye, said as the family’s four children and dog Ginger wrestled in the living room. Source: Wall Street Journal 1-24-19
Right, oh, crap.
A recent online column from Time relates “horror stories” about health care and furloughed government workers. One had selected a $10,000 deductible option and couldn’t pay for health care up to the deductible, a condition likely unrelated to temporarily not being paid.
Another was delaying lung cancer surgery because she the did not have the $1,500 up front money the surgeon wanted. The same person was delaying weekly blood transfusions because she didn’t have the $40 co-pay. Both of these people were in two income families.
Clearly such stories are intended to shock and stir emotion. Clearly they could be resolved with minimal effort. Clearly the health care providers are aware of the situation.
For many years I dealt with workers and their health benefits, I helped them negotiate with their providers, I got fees lowered, I arranged payment schedules when necessary, etc. I also learned many times that the stories and problems related by employees were incomplete, misleading or simply not true.
In the case of that $1,500 maybe it’s time to find a new doctor if that is more important to the surgeon than your life.
Same for the $40 copays. Despite the signs in the office, I have yet to have any doctor refuse treatment unless the co-pays was paid before a claim was processed.
It’s a crummy situation, no doubt stressful, but you have not lost your job, you know the money is coming. Time to exercise some common sense …. and start working on that emergency fund for the next time.