Bypassing life insurance

Friday we celebrated – if you consider managing to stay awake in front of the TV until 10pm a celebration – the three month anniversary of Steve’s triple bypass surgery. We continue to be very grateful that the arteries in his leg have adapted so well to their move uptown to his heart. And even though his sternum went through something akin to “cut along the dotted line,” it has knit back together just fine.

We hope and pray that this reworking of his plumbing means that we can look forward to Steve being around for many, many more years.

But his new lease on life has put us in a bit of a quandary because it happens to come at the same time that we have to make a decision about his life insurance policy. We’ve been making the same monthly payments for the past 10 years. However, the policy expires in a few weeks and if we rollover the policy to a new one with the same maximum benefit, the monthly premium will jump 1200% to about $4,500. If we could afford a monthly payment of that amount for any reason, we wouldn’t be renting a condo in Cotati.

So what to do?

You wouldn’t find me a few miles up the road at the Graton Resort and Casino gambling, but am I willing to gamble that Steve will live for at least another 15 years and instead of making monthly payments for life insurance, we could use the money to replace one of our 150,000 mile, 12 year-old cars? Should I call up Alex Trebek and get a “guaranteed acceptance” Colonial Penn policy? No need for me to concern myself about how to cover the funeral expenses; Steve’s already told me just to have him cremated and put the ashes in a Starbucks cup.

And if we do want to buy life insurance for him, it’s a little more complicated now that he has had heart surgery. While we think he’s the picture of health, insurance underwriters don’t necessary think that way. So if we get a policy that we can afford the monthly payments for, it will pay out enough for me splurge on a vacation – assuming I fly Southwest for a long weekend in Southern California and stay with my daughter.

Steve and are finding it a little strange to be contemplating the risk to reward factor when it comes to his life expectancy. Today was a really good day but trying to guess what will happen in the next 10 years? Like Scarlett O’Hara said in Gone with the Wind, “I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.”

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