The Power of AVMA LIFE: A First-Hand Account
Written by Dr. Brian Godsey
After I graduated with my DVM from Kansas State University, my to-do list seemed rather daunting. The one item solely in my control was learning the specifics of my life and disability insurance options.
We’d been given plenty of information during the last six months at KSU, and carrying coverage seemed like the adult thing to do.
After several long discussions with my parents and allowing my AVMA LIFE agent, to clarify some details, I elected to carry life insurance, disability insurance, and a few add-ons that seemed too cheap to pass up.
Being the bulletproof, twenty-something male I was, I later scheduled my routine physical with my primary care physician. I just wanted to get my rabies titer evaluated and knew it would take a doctor visit to get the blood drawn. The following day, his office called, and they mentioned slightly low platelets, slightly low white cells, and a possible lab error. “Slightly low” was their way of not being alarmists. A recheck revealed my cell lineages to be very low.
Two weeks later, I was in the office of a hematologist/oncologist. Six weeks later, I was seeing a physician at KU’s Blood and Marrow Transplant Center. Later, I visited MD Anderson in Houston, TX, for an additional opinion on my treatment options for severe aplastic anemia.
We had serious decisions to make regarding my health, but we were very fortunate those decisions weren’t limited by the potential loss of my income. I activated my future purchase option so my impending disability payments would reflect my increased salary after the first three years of employment. I added hospital indemnity insurance (available to spouses with no underwriting) when my wife graduated with her DVM.
My long-term disability insurance was utilized during my first two-month leave, and it has allowed me to take necessary time off since my bone marrow transplant. My hospital indemnity coverage has paid for all 36 days in the hospital. My rabies titer, which originally brought me to the doctor, was covered and will be utilized again when I complete the rabies vaccine series again in the next few months.
In retrospect, it’s hard to believe I ever considered not being properly insured. The quarterly cost on top of all my other bills and student loans, my ignorance of the information, and my naïve young and tough ideology nearly caused me to miss out on one of many lifesavers I’ve encountered over the last 26 months. Had I simply overlooked my AVMA LIFE information, who knows how things would have progressed. Looking back, I’m glad the only thing left on my original to-do list is to frame my diploma.