For the past year I have been navigating the terrain of independent health insurance, after being covered by my late-husband’s cushy corporate policy for over a decade. Entering into the world of independent insurance has brought a startling wake-up call, to say the least.
Not only is health insurance ridiculously expensive (unless you qualify for subsidies), I learned that even though I’m paying a high premium for what I was told is one of the best available plans, I am still left with massive out-of-pocket expenses.
For example, I have a $45 co-pay for doctor’s office visits, which I paid when I took my 10-year old son in for a Strep test (that came back positive). A few weeks later I received a bill for $105, the excess fee charged by my doctor’s office which wasn’t covered by my “premium” insurance. The same thing happened when I went for my annual mammogram, only that bill was for over $1,000 out of my pocket.
These fees have me banging my head against the wall and realizing that these expenses create a huge problem for small business owners everywhere.
In the midst of all of this, a couple of months ago I was approached VSP Vision Care (yes, this post is #sponsored, but trust me, you need to keep reading!). The reputable vision services company offers individual vision plans that are great for independent business owners and they wondered if I would like to collaborate with them.
The embarrassing part of all of this is that until I had a chance to team up with VSP it hadn’t even occurred to me that I no longer have vision coverage under my big, over-priced, independent health insurance policy. And this is a huge oversight for this entrepreneur and single mom because vision care is essential to my family. I have a 10-year old kid who not only wears glasses, he had eye surgery when he was 4-years old to correct Strabismus—a condition that causes the eyes to cross.
I will never forget the day I watched my little guy get wheeled off on a gurney toward the operating room, while I stood helpless in the doorway watching him go. I cried for the entire hour he was in with the surgeon. A couple hours later we were home and I was told that he’d want to take it easy for the rest of the day, but he was up running around the house within an hour. (Meanwhile, I was emotionally exhausted and wondering if I could justify a glass of wine before noon.)
Today my son’s eyes only cross when he’s tired and not wearing his glasses. And thankfully, his heavy vision prescription has improved each year since. It turns out that sometimes kids can outgrow vision problems (or improve as they grow).
Our family doctor did not notice my son’s vision issues when he was younger, even when he was an infant and I mentioned to the doctor that I thought his eyes were crossing. My concerns were dismissed. It would be another three years before I would push the issue and the family doctor would suggest we see an eye doctor to be sure.
So despite our intense history and having the eye doctor’s personal cell phone number saved in my phone, it didn’t occur to me that I needed to get vision coverage for us. I took for granted that vision coverage would be included in my regular health plan.
The majority of our readers here are just like me—self-employed, and many are also single parents. It’s imperative that we take care of our eyes and our children’s eyes, and annual vision exams play a huge role in that.
As we age, the risks of developing serious eye diseases like Macular Degeneration increase, something that stole my grandmother’s vision and deeply affected her quality of life over her last decade. I also have a dear friend who was diagnosed with it in his 50s, and he expects to be completely blind in a matter of years.
But when we catch problems like this early, we have a better chance of getting a handle on them before it’s too late to turn back. I’ve never been an alarmist, but as I write this—wearing my thickest pair of reading glasses—my goal is to encourage you to remember how important vision coverage is for you and the people you love.
And even better news? Unlike the outrageously over-priced health insurance plans that don’t include vision coverage, an individual vision plan with VSP can start Justas low as $17 per month! I spent more than that on lattés this week. Here’s another cool fact: VSP serves more than 72 million Americans—that’s one in five people in the U.S.!
You can learn more about VSP’s insurance packages here, and you can also download an excellent free report that the company is offering: Making the Gig Economy Work for You: A Must-Have Resource Guide for the Self-Employed.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored blog post, paid for by VSP. All views are my own.
Stephanie Chandler is the author of LEAP! 101 Ways to Grow Your Business. She is also CEO of http://AuthorityPublishing.com, a custom publisher of nonfiction books, and http://BusinessInfoGuide.com, a directory of resources for entrepreneurs. Also visit http://StephanieChandler.com