Financial And Non-Financial Aspects of Being Sick

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Do you know what’s worse than being sick; when your whole family including your kids being sick.

It was the first time this happened to our household in almost 8 years. The whole house was sick at the same time. We were at home, mostly in our master bedroom with both of our kids around each other’s germs for almost 5 days. Collectively, we had a viral infection, bronchitis, and the flu.

The only silver lining was that we spent more time with each other in close quarters which included some laughs, but mostly sneezing, sniffing, and violent coughing.

Sickness entails financial costs. Sometimes these could be huge (i.e., in tens of thousands of dollars) if it’s a major illness and requires significant time and use of hospital resources.

This doesn’t mean that the costs of minor sicknesses should be overlooked. When you take a step back and look at the financial and non-financial costs, it pays to stay healthy.

Doctors’ Visits

When you’re sick, you generally go to see a doctor. When you see a doctor, you generally have to pay a copayment. My wife and I ended up going to a clinic because we wanted to be seen right away. The copayment was $25 for each person.

For our kids, we took them to the pediatrician. The copayment there is cheaper, at $15

So the copayments totaled $80 for our family.  

Mitigating Copayments: Copayments can be kept low when you visit an in-network doctor. In network, doctors are ones that are in your insurance company’s network so they have special pricing/billing arrangements with them. For you, it can mean lower costs. Ofcourse, if you know your body well and your past history, you may be able to diagnose your illness and avoid a doctor’s visit altogether.

Over-the-Counter & Prescription Medications

Following the doctor’s visit, there may be a whole host of medications prescribed. And keep in mind that we were taking some medications anyway before we went to see the Doctor. Here is a breakdown of the medications and associated costs. 

Medication Name  Cost   Cost Without Insurance
Antibiotic – Myself  $                                  3.00  $                                      20.00
Antibiotic – Son  $                                10.00  $                                      20.00
Cough Steroid – Son  $                                10.00  $                                    100.00
Cough Medicine with Codeine – Myself  $                                10.00  $                                      40.00
Cough Medicine with Codeine – Wife  $                                10.00  $                                      40.00
Flu Medicine – Toddler Son  $                                25.00  $                                    100.00
Inhaler – Son  $                                25.00  $                                      75.00
Inhaler – Wife  $                                10.00  $                                      75.00
Over the Counter Cough Syrup – Son  $                                10.00  $                                      10.00
Over the Counter Benadryl – Son  $                                10.00  $                                      10.00
Over the Counter Cough Syrup – Toddler Son  $                                10.00  $                                      10.00
Over the Counter Cough Drops – Myself & Son  $                                  5.00  $                                        5.00
Over the Counter Cough Syrup – Myself  $                                  4.00  $                                        4.00
Emergen-C Drink Value Pack – Myself, Son & Wife  $                                10.00  $                                      10.00
Total  $                             152.00  $                                    519.00

One thing’s for sure; thank goodness for insurance! It would cost hundreds more if I didn’t have insurance.

Mitigating Medication Costs: Ensuring that you have good health insurance is vital especially if you have younger kids. If you have a family or suffer from chronic illness, it’s important to have a job that provides affordable and a wide array of health coverage options. If you do not have health insurance through your work, obtain quotes for private health insurance and select the best option for you and your family.

Cost Of Missing Work

The cost of missing work applies if you don’t have sick leave and have to take unpaid time off. If you get paid $15, $20, $25, $30 per hour, simply put missing 5 days of work can result in the following gross costs:

$15 X 8 X 5 = $600

$20 X 8 X 5 = $800

$25 X 8 X 5 = $1,000

30 X 8 X 5 = $1,200

Mitigating Cost of Missing Work: The solution: try to have some sick leave saved up/reserved especially if you have kids. If you have a special medical condition that requires recurring doctor’s visits, it’s also important to have ample leave or a job that accrues a generous amount every pay period.

Non-Financial Implications of Becoming Sick

During and following sickness, there are extra tasks that you have to do. Here are some of them:

  • Extra loads of laundry to get germs out of dirty clothes, sheets, and blankets.
  • Make and eat special (not so great tasting) food.
  • Using nebulizer treatment.
  • The stress of not being able to do things because you are sick and don’t have the energy do things. You may not even feel like watching TV because you can’t focus.

And last but certainly not least, it just hurts to see your family sick. You feel sad, helpless sometimes and frustrated.

Our son was coughing like crazy and much more during the night. His cough really acts up in the late hours. So a couple of nights, I had to lie in his bed with him simply because it gave it comfort.

For some reason, he just coughs less if he knows one of us is next to him.

Lessen Your Chances of Becoming Sick

You can’t prevent being sick. It’s not a matter of if, but rather when. And if you have kids that go to school, the chances of becoming sick are exponentially greater since they are exposed to other kids. So here are some things you can do to, at least reduce the chances of becoming sick and their resulting financial and non-financial impacts:

  • Get your flu shot.
  • Use hand sanitizer and wash hands frequently. And have your kids use hand sanitizer in public bathrooms.
  • Discard dirty tissues as soon as you’re done using them.
  • Clean fruits and veggies before eating.
  • Cover your cough, using your elbow not your hands.
  • Don’t share personal items like glasses and utensils?
  • When sharing food, use separate plates for each other.
  • Vitamins and supplements may help to boost your immune system.

Ultimately, we all get sick every now and then. But at least we can minimize the frequency of this happening and reduce the chances of spreading harmful germs. Let’s allow our medicine cabinet to be the only place in our home that collects dust because we won’t need to use it anytime soon. 🙂  

Join The Discussion:

  1. Has your entire household been sick at the same time? What was the most stressful part?
  2. How much did you spend on a recent illness?
  3. Do you take vitamins and supplements and believe they help your body avoid illnesses?


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