Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Illness Challenge

Our daughter wasn't feeling well earlier this week and we ended up needing to go to urgent care (what they call the ER at the MIT medical facility). This has been one of the big questions around not having a car--what about in case of medical emergency.

In case of a severe medical emergency, we're definitely covered. I could walk across the Riverway to the Beth Israel ER before an ambulance could drive to our house.

But what about minor emergencies, where you need to be seen today but you can't get into your regular doctor? I had two options in this case--I could have rented a Zipcar, but the problem is that it's too hard to tell when the visit is likely to end. Luckily, it's not too tough to call a cab in our neighborhood. The cab ride isn't cheap (about $16 each way, including tip), but it is very flexible and pretty quick. Of course, what happens if you don' have cab fare? In this case, a little planning solved our problem. We'd set up an envelope with cab fare in it when we first sold our car. That way there's no hesitation about calling because it's the end of the month and payday hasn't arrived yet.

Our planning paid off well and the cab got us where we needed to go quickly. It still was cheaper than renting a Zipcar for 3+ hours, or for going to an out of plan hospital ER (which requires a $50 co-pay).

Everyone is on the mend now. I'm glad we had a chance to test out our system and that it worked without any hitches. One less thing to worry about.


  1. To go along with your envelope of cash, you can post the numbers of the nearby cab services that take credit cards. (Unless, of course, you've sworn off credit and debit cards, too.)

  2. Good idea, David. (No, we haven't give up the plastic.)