As a sports mom for the last 8 years in arguably what is one of the most dangerous sports (football). I have firsthand knowledge and experience in how multiple Doctors, Emergency Rooms, and Urgent Care visits can add extra strain to our pockets. My youngest son has played football since he was 8 and it seems the higher the level of play (he now plays high school ball) the more frequent and serious the injuries became. I have found myself at the Dr.'s office or ER sometimes twice in one-week due to some type of injury, strain, or awkward feeling that arose the next day. As parents, we understand the risk that comes along with having a kid in sports, especially if it is a contact sport. We know injuries are a possibility, but we also understand that our kid has a true love for the game and we can't imagine taking that from them. I mean why else do we invest hundreds of dollars into equipment, gear, special clothing, coordinating sock and shoes/cleats, and even individualized training. After your child has played any sport for more than 2 years, the money spent on the "extras" becomes the norm and we plan for it every year when it's time to do it all over again. If your child grew like a weed as mine did, sometimes we had to buy shoes twice a year because by the time flag season rolls around in the Spring he had outgrown the ones we had just purchased in the fall for tackle season. Again, this became the "norm" and we just budgeted for it.
However, one thing we did not budget for is the increase in co-pays due to Doctor visits, cat scans from concussion scares, x-rays to rule out broken bones, stitches from deep cuts, and follow-up visits for physical therapy or re-checks before he could be cleared to play again. Co-pays in the amount of $25-$45 were being paid out weekly and medical bills from other services rendered were constantly rolling in. I begin to do what I presume most of us do when it comes to medical bills. We pay it, if we can. if not we arrange to make payments towards it. It wasn't until I realized that I was paying over two hundred dollars a month in medical bills ALL related to football injuries, that I begin to see how big of a problem this was. Football was starting to cost us way more money than we could ever imagined and I had no idea what to do apart from pulling my son from the game. A game he had been playing for years, a game he loved dearly, a game he was good at. Parents know this is not even a true option, so we sucked it up and continued to pay the price and sacrificed for our child’s happiness.
Fast forward two years I'm sitting at my annual open enrollment meeting for work and they mention this new benefit that we would be offered, it's called AFLAC. Like most of you of course I had heard of AFLAC and seen the crazy duck commercials but I really had no idea exactly what they did. The representative begins to explain to us that it is supplemental insurance and it pays money directly to the policy holder instead of the Doctor or hospital if you are sick or injured. This grabbed my attention and I was curious to hear more, when she talked about one plan specifically I knew I probably needed to give it a try. They had something called an Accident indemnity plan, this plan pays you money anytime you or one of your dependents seeks medical attention due to an accident or injury. What, who knew something like this existed? I sure had never heard of it. When she wrapped up her presentation and we were instructed to go see her if we were interested I did just that. I had questions about the specifics of this accident plan. Would it cover sports injuries, was there a maximum number of accidents it would cover per year and most importantly would it be affordable.
To my surprise all the answers to my questions were pretty much what I wanted to hear. This plan almost seemed too good to be true, and although I still was a little bit skeptical I felt it was worth a try based on the cost. For about $600 per year, I was going to get paid every time my son was seen for an injury, no matter if it was at the ER or his pediatrician. I was going to get paid more if he had to have x-rays taken, and even more if there actually was a broken bone. This plan even came with built in life insurance if me or my dependents were to meet our demise due to an accident and these benefits applied to all of us, not just my athlete son. It covered my clumsy daughter, my careless older child and us as parents. The job made it easy and deducted my premium out of my check every 2 weeks and so I went for it.
This little $22 per pay period accident plan became and to this day is still a blessing for me and my family. I have used it more than twenty times in a year and been paid on every claim without a fight. The $120 that is sent to me just for seeking medical attention for injuries is more than enough to pay my $25 co pay for the Doctor's and my $100 ER copay. One of the best parts is whatever money I am sent I do not have to use it towards a medical bill. If I need to buy groceries or keep the lights on that week instead AFLAC doesn't care and they don't make me show proof that I used the money for the medical bill. That was one of the greatest aspects of the plan in my opinion. As mothers’ we are usually the ones who must miss work to get a child to an appointment. Missing work often correlates to missing pay, which can start to cause more financial strain. After having this plan for a year, I became the company spokeswomen for AFLAC and every year when we had open enrollment I would suggest all the employees, especially the ones with children in sports go inquire about an accident plan. I was a walking advertisement for them and I still say that agent owes me money for doing her marketing (insert laugh here).
As parents, we often try to give our children the world. We make sacrifice after sacrifice and we do it without hesitation because, well that's what parents do. It was nice to find out there was a product out there that feels like it had a sports parent in mind. I will say that this plan isn't just for children who play sports. Remember that clumsy daughter I mentioned earlier, yea I've had to use if for her also. Who runs into the wall and gashes their head open, who falls down the stairs and sprains their ankle? that would be her. Although this plan isn't just for sports moms. I think it's a no-brainer choice for a sports mom, any mom. Every year not only do I make the money back that I've paid out in premiums but I make more. I want to add that thankfully my son has not had any serious injuries, the biggest issues we have had were concussion evaluations. Being able to recoup your money off of small incidents, while having coverage there in case something major was to happen makes the cost of this plan a very small price to pay for the peace of mind it provides.
If you'd like to learn more about AFLAC accident plan or any of their other supplemental plans please visit https://www.aflac.com/business/products/accident-insurance.aspx.
L. Brooks is an independent insurance agent; for your supplemental, life, or retirement needs you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org