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Marisela “Mari” Falcon Ayala

Son’s emergency room visit gets Mom’s attention

Mother of three active boys

For every parent, your worst fear is your child getting hurt. That is what happened to me.

My three boys were playing, and one of them fell down the stairs. When I went to go check on him, I noticed a lot of blood gushing from his forehead.

I did what any mom would do. I didn’t hesitate. I grabbed a towel for his forehead, and we rushed to the emergency room.

A million things went through my head, but the last thing I was thinking about was the cost.

About a month later, I received a bill. It was for $4,300. My deductible was $5,000.

I was shocked. I wondered how I would ever pay.

I had to cover the entire amount myself, out-of-pocket. It was so stressful. At one point, the hospital threatened to take us to collections. I felt like I was drowning in medical bills.

I did eventually pay off the bill, but it took me eight months.

After it was over, I made some changes. First, I got a different insurance policy that better fit my needs. I also started putting money in a Flexible Spending Account (FSA). An FSA allows me to save before-tax earnings for a medical emergency or big event. Knowing that money is there helps me sleep better at night.

We also concentrate on creating a healthy family lifestyle. Practicing yoga also helps me manage the stress. And I enjoy spending time with my boys. We love to play together.

I’m so glad my son was okay. It was a scary and stressful experience, and I’m glad that I will be better prepared next time.

I wasn’t thinking about what the cost would be, I was just thinking about getting my son to the hospital.”