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Testimonial: Coping with Unexpected Health Challenges

Tom and Jennifer Ferguson

In the spring of 1994, Tom Ferguson suffered kidney failure. His transplant required a month of hospitalization, resulting in his inability to work for four months, and necessitated numerous, time-consuming trips to an out-of-city clinic for follow-up treatment.

"When we heard the news of Tom's illness, our whole family felt helpless," recalls Tom's wife, Jennifer. "Right away, we knew we were in for some tough times physically, emotionally and financially."

Costs began mounting almost immediately. When the time came for his kidney transplant, Tom lost his income because he had to shut down his business for eight weeks since the surgery rendered him incapable of working. A month later, the transplanted kidney had to be removed when an artery burst. The emergency surgery caused other complications and he was hospitalized for six months. Government disability replaced only a fraction of his income. Group health coverage available through Jennifer's employer quickly reached its claim limit. And that meant relying on the savings the family had been putting away for retirement.

"It tears me apart to see the tremendous burden my illness puts on my family," says Tom. "The hospital visits, constant medical decisions, and our harried day-to-day routine has drastically altered our lives. But I really feel terrible that our family's financial security is constantly in question."

Three years after Tom's unsuccessful kidney transplant, the Fergusons still saw no relief on the horizon to their financial burdens.

"I wish we'd prepared our family better by having a supplemental insurance plan as well as my group coverage," confides Jennifer. "We wouldn't have had to use as much of our savings to cover these extra expenses. We wouldn't have put our children's education at risk. Tom's illness would still have changed our lives, but not our financial future."