This afternoon I received a text message from my sister. We use the same credit union for our banking and she and her husband had just received the same text, supposedly from this credit union, notifying her of an “alert” on her account. My sister is smart. She was suspicious of this text. She sent me a text message to see if I had received anything similar. I had not. Then I checked my account online to see if there were any alerts there. Still nothing. So then my sister called the credit union directly….not at the number that came in the text, but instead on a number she found on the credit union’s web site. My sister’s suspicions were confirmed. This was a phishing scam.
Crooks have gotten pretty clever with their attempts at identity theft. Phishing scams are everywhere. It could be a text from “your bank.” Or an email from “your student loan servicer.” A phone call from “Microsoft.” A phone call from “the IRS.” It’s everywhere. Protect yourself. Be suspicious. Never just click on the link in the text or email. Find a genuine phone number for follow up. Never give out your personal information on a phone call that you didn’t make. Never let someone who called you have remote access to your computer. Be smart. Be suspicious. Don’t be scammed.
What is the one thing that you should always buy with hopes of never using it? It’s not that embarrassing pair of skinny jeans in the back of your closet. It’s not the platform pumps that you grabbed on clearance and never wore. It’s insurance. Health insurance. Car insurance. Renter’s insurance. All of it is important. And you hope and pray that you never need to use it. But if you ever do need it, you’ll be amazingly grateful that you have it.
Today I’m going to focus on health insurance. I have a really good health insurance plan through Penn State. I pay extra for the option of a lower deductible plan. And I’ve never been so grateful for it as I was at the start of August. One fateful night at the start of August I started experiencing stomach pain. At first I thought it must have been something I ate, but my husband and I had eaten the same thing for dinner and he had no ill effect. A couple hours later I found myself in the emergency room, and then spent the next few days in the hospital correcting the issue that had caused my great pain. And recently I got a hospital bill for just over $1,000 for that ER visit and hospital stay (due to my deductible and co-insurance responsibility). And that sounds like an awful lot of money. Until I think about what that bill would have been without insurance. Without the health insurance my bill would have been over $19,000. Nineteen thousand dollars!!!! I can’t even comprehend the financial mess I would be in if I had to come up with that kind of money for four unpleasant days at the hospital!
If you don’t have health insurance…now is the time to act. Penn State students are eligible to purchase this platinum plan offered through Aetna. The deadline to purchase for fall semester is Tuesday, September 6. Worried that you can’t afford it? Stop by the financial aid office. It is possible to increase your student loan eligibility to allow for the cost of purchasing insurance.
No one ever likes to think about spending money for an insurance plan they may or may not ever use. But the cost of not having it could be much, much greater.