Wednesday, May 1, 2013

OMG redux

So, this is kind of a follow up from my last post...

About 26 days ago, I bought some meds for Kenin that were $633, and today I spent $412 for 5 days worth of meds.  What the hell, people?  As stunned as I was before, I'm even more so now.  This will not even cover him until his appointment next Tuesday.  I can't believe the cost of trying to stay alive. 

It must not be enough that I have to pay on 23 different doctor or hospital bills every month.  And please note that I said pay "on", not pay off.  I have what I consider to be decent (not great) insurance and still have tens of thousands of dollars in medical debt.  It only took us 2 months to the day to hit our deductible.  Two months!  Now I have just over $3000 until we hit our out of pocket maximum for the year.  That may not sound like much to some of you, but that's an ass of money to me.  That's almost 3 months rent.  That's 8 months of car payments.  That's about 5 months worth of groceries.  That's an ass of money, any way you look at it. 

Please understand, I'm not asking for a handout, or a hand up or anything at all.  I just want to know why it's so freaking expensive to be sick in America.  We make too much money for any kind of assistance, and I'm happy to say that I have a job and insurance, but it's almost not worth it.  Well, actually, it isn't worth it.  The 23 medical bills that I pay every month?  I can't even pay enough on them to keep us out of collections.  According to this CNN article from 2009 (and you know it's a WHOLE lot worse now),

Bankruptcies due to medical bills increased by nearly 50 percent in a six-year period, from 46 percent in 2001 to 62 percent in 2007, and most of those who filed for bankruptcy were middle-class, well-educated homeowners, according to a report that will be published in the August (2009) issue of The American Journal of Medicine.
Overall, three-quarters of the people with a medically-related bankruptcy had health insurance, they say.

"That was actually the predominant problem in patients in our study -- 78 percent of them had health insurance, but many of them were bankrupted anyway because there were gaps in their coverage like co-payments and deductibles and uncovered services," says Woolhandler. "Other people had private insurance but got so sick that they lost their job and lost their insurance."

There is obviously something broken within our healthcare system.  I don't know how to fix it and the folks that might have some good ideas can't agree on anything. 

You know, when I was younger and I had to go to the doctor or even when I had my kids, I had to pay very little, if anything at all.  I think I paid $100 each to have my kids.  The first time I really had to pay any real medical bills at all, it was 6 or 7 years ago and we had a Kaiser Permanente HMO plan.  But I was okay with it.  The co-pays were $25 and then $10 or so for meds.  It was definitely affordable and I'd love to have that now.  But my employer has Cigna and we have a $2400 deductible and an out of pocket maximum of $5500 before they will pay 100%.  And thank goodness they do, or else I'd be well over a hundred thousand dollars in debt versus tens of thousands.  Thinking of it in those terms almost makes it seem bearable.  Almost.