Paterfamilias and I had dinner with friends the other night--friends whose oldest child is about to graduate from college. They are recovering from the $50,000 a year it's been costing them and looking forward to his independence, particularly his financial independence. He doesn't, of course, know exactly what he wants to do. He's hoping to take a year or two to figure it out.
That brought back a lot of memories for me and the pater. When our kids graduated from college--lickety-split, within one year of each other (talk about recovering from tuition stress)--our daughter headed out to the West Coast : She loved painting and wanted to be an artist. Our son went to New England: He wanted to see if he could make it as a writer. Both of them took part time jobs to support themselves--to pay their share of a shared room in a group house and their share of the spaghetti that they lived on. So they were independent--except that they did not put aside any of their earnings from part-time work for health insurance. Naturally not. What 22-year-old who has had nothing more than some sports-related injuries to deal with, thinks about health care coverage.
But we did. There they were, far from home and on their own. But what if something terrible happened to them--an illness that put them in the hospital or required high-priced specialist care. Naturally, we'd want to make sure they were in the best hospital for their problem and hire the best physicians we could find. There is nothing in life that we love or treasure more than our children. So we took out so-called catastrophic health insurance policies for them. I say for them--it was not something they were going to do. And we didn't see it as an indulgence. We weren't insuring them so much as our assets. A 10-day stay in a hospital and a few visits to a specialist could wipe out our savings.
Our friends at dinner hadn't had the chance to think this little "dependence" issue through yet. One thing that has changed in the past year or two is that several states have passed laws allowing parents to cover their adult children--most set limits at 26 years of ag but in Florida, it's 30.
Insurance for those young adults is something worth planning for. We'll all need our assets for the little luxuries of life for our children's children--when they finally arrive.