Patrick Lach writes about choosing health plan then having a medical emergency in Wall Street Journal finance column

June 15, 2018

Picking the right health plan can be full of risk and uncertainty, even for a seasoned investment professional.

Soon after joining Bellarmine University's W. Fielding Rubel School of Business faculty last fall, Dr. Patrick Lach experienced a medical emergency that put his decision to the test.

Patrick Lach
Lach, an associate professor of finance and an investment adviser, writes about the consequences of his emergency appendectomy in a column for the Wall Street Journal.

He had chosen Bellarmine's high-deductible health plan because "it would allow me to open up a health savings account, which has several major tax advantages and can serve as an additional vehicle for retirement savings," he wrote. "I also thought that in the unlikely event of a major medical emergency, my wife and I would be able to afford the out-of-pocket expenses associated with the high-deductible plan since we live below our means."

After seeing his hospital bill, Lach worried he had made a mistake -- and he recognized that many people in his situation would probably regret their choice.

"The world of financial decision making is fraught with uncertainty," he said. "Investors must use the past as a guide when weighing the risk and reward of different decisions, but they should also consider the amount of risk they can afford to take and the amount they are willing to take. Based on the information I had in August 2017 regarding my health as well as my high ability and willingness to take risk, I think I made the right decision. The knowledge that I made the right decision helped to take a little of the sting out the payments I had to make for my appendectomy. But only a little."

Read Lach's column in the Wall Street Journal. If you encounter a paywall, try the link in his tweet below.


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