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Don’t Get Sick In America

Posted by miss m on Wednesday, June 15, 2011 @ 11:28am in Finances, General Blather, Hysterectomy, Sickness and Health Issues |

My hospital bill showed up last night. As you probably already know, on May 29th after two days of extreme (and increasing) pain, I went to the ER. Though I have a day job, it does not offer me medical insurance.

I was in the ER from about 5pm until about 6am the next morning. At that point, they transferred me to a room and I was discharged around 3pm Monday, May 30th. I was discharged to follow up with the OB/GYN for surgery to remove my uterus and the basketball worth of tumors and cysts that I was filled with.

While in the ER, I had two shots of morphine, fluids, anti-anxiety medication, and a strong NSAID painkiller. They did blood work, a CT scan as well as two ultrasounds (one external and one internal.) Here’s my bill.

$13,347.20 Yeah.

But, they’re nice enough to give me a “40% uninsured discount.” Oh well, that’s MUCH more manageable.

I mean that brings it way down to $8,008.32 – Pocket change practically! Who cares that I didn’t even make that much money for the entire year at my day job last year?

Let’s not forget, I still need surgery. Which will include a minimum of an overnight stay again. And which will, I imagine, be more expensive then the bill I just got. For which, I need $2,600 just to pay the OB/GYN and which does not include the hospital or the anesthesiologist fees. For which I still won’t have insurance for.

Now I filled out the paperwork with the hospital to request charity to pay some or all of my $8,000 hospital bill. But there’s no guarantee I’ll be approved. And even if I am, it may not pay it all. And, in any case, I still have another round of medical bills forthcoming when I have the surgery. At this point, I’m not even sure the hospital will actually allow me to schedule the surgery. I asked the financial aid woman how that works and if I can get pre-approved since I need further medical care. She said when you have the date set, to contact them again and work out “a payment plan.” Which means, they might require money down as well – money I can’t even know how much it’ll be until I have an OR date set.

Do you see the absurdity of all of this? Do you see why my blood pressure is 159/90 right now? Do you see why I can’t sleep, am in a perpetual state of panic, am scared for my very life and yet powerless to do a damned thing about any of it?

Do NOT get sick in America. If you’re like me, odds are you won’t be able to afford to get well. And if the illness doesn’t kill you, the stress probably will.

12 Comments

  • Nikki-ann says:

    UNBELIEVABLE! That’s totally shocking! It makes me glad of the UK’s National Health Service!

  • miss m says:

    Can you believe people *cough conservatives and Republicans* believe there’s nothing wrong with the current system? They are completely opposed to any form of medical health care reform and honestly believe the system works exactly as is. With a straight face they will say if people want health care, they should have insurance, period, end of story. It’s disgusting.

  • annaonthemoon says:

    OH MY FUCKING GOD! That is outrageous!!

    Sending you love, hugs, kisses, and will be promoting the hell out of you and trying to find you more crafts to sell.

  • miss m says:

    And today I just got a $245 bill from Radiology. Because the seven THOUSAND dollars they charged for the CT scan wasn’t enough?? They also had the nerve to put on the bill, “because of these tough economic times, we’ve reduced the amount to make it easier” (or something like that.) ARG!!

  • Blake says:

    May I ask who you expect to pay for these things? Shouldn’t you be responsible for your own healthcare costs? If not, then who is supposed to be responsible?

  • miss m says:

    I don’t expect anything from anyone. What I’m asking is that anyone who’s able to please consider making a purchase from my shop or my fundraiser shop. Or, to simply pass on the links to help other people find my shop.

    When an emergency happens, and your medical bills are more then you make in an entire year, asking for those who are able to help bring awareness to my situation and consider making a purchase at my shop to help out isn’t “expecting” anything. Nor is is denying responsibility for the bills. I don’t think it’s too much to ask for a little compassion and aid in times of great trouble and strife. We should all try to help one another to the best of our ability because this life is a shared life and no one person is an island unto themselves. Everyone needs help now and again, everyone.

    If you chose not to help, that’s your prerogative. But there’s nothing wrong with asking for help when a burden is larger than you can carry on your own.

  • asteampunkwitch says:

    I know it may not be much comfort, but fwiw, when I broke my ankle a few years back, and had to pay out of pocket, I calculated up what it would have cost me to pay my contribution toward insurance for the years since I’d had any. In the long run, even with ~$16k in bills, it was cheaper for me to self pay Go figure. :-p (However, as the norm, I’m relatively healthy, so it’s a few hundred a year, tops if I go get checkups, one or two sick visits and a prescription a year.)

  • miss m says:

    Yeah that’s the sad thing. Even WITH insurance, a lot of people can’t get the tests or treatments they need because of deductibles and co-pays and such. It’s just such an absurdly broken system!

  • annaonthemoon says:

    Blake,

    Miss M fully expects to pay her bills on her own. No where does she ever say “pay my bill for me”. However, one way Miss M makes money is through SALES on her Etsy shop. By asking people to look at her Etsy shop and to pass on the links, she is merely trying to get her link passed around as much as possible. Purchasing something from M puts money in her bank account that she can then use to, you guessed it, pay her medical bills. Yes, she has a direct donation link as well, but that is because people specifically have asked her how they can send her money instead of purchasing something.

    I came up with the idea for PhoenixFunds because M and I both craft, and we’re both friends with loads of crafters. I thought if I could get some of us who make different items to donate them to a shop dedicated to M, it would help her boost her income. Most of us would LOVE to be able to just give our friends money when they need it, but unfortunately, none of have a money tree in our yard. But if we can donate an item that costs us a negligible amount in supplies that M can sell for profit, we’re all able to help her in our own way.

    You don’t have to look at the websites or even pass the links around.

    However, I think it’s the responsibility of the US Government to take care of it’s citizens and there SHOULD be funding available for people in M’s situation. To think that she’s been denied care because she is an unmarried, childless woman is absolutely ridiculous!

    I moved to the UK in January 2010 and have benefited from the NHS when I needed emergency surgery back in March. We estimated that if I had been in the US when it happened, I’d have been looking at over $20k as an uninsured adult. In my opinion, that’s ridiculous. The US self-proclaims itself as the “best country in the world”…but then why are our citizens struggling for healthcare? Here in the UK, you have an option of taking out private insurance on top of the NHS… but having the NHS means that people who can’t afford private insurance will ALWAYS get care when they need it.

    Apologies for getting up on my soapbox, M!

  • Allye says:

    I am trying to forward this along to everyone I can girl. I am truly sorry this is happening to you. 🙁

  • morgan22 says:

    First, I feel your pain…. I went through something very similar last November after the birth of my second child ….I was misdiagnosed as having a water infection but once the doctors finally listened to me and saw me at the hospital I was admitted immediately, numerous ultrasounds and internal exams later and I was rushed into surgery the same day…. they were able to remove all masses and I am so blessed that I didnt need to have the hysterectomy that was threatened ….thank goodness for the NHS thats all I can say … I feel utterly sick reading your story and knowing how lucky we are in the UK that we have access to free healthcare … and discounted prescriptions … I’d say I can’t believe the charges but I attended University in South Carolina and experienced first hand the cost of healthcare …. not to this degree but I was shocked back then. I too worked part time prior to my illness and although I was on maternity leave at the time (so didnt technically need to take any time off work) I was laid up for 6 weeks and I wouldnt have gotten paid my full salary for any of that time but I would have been entitled to statutory sick pay – which isnt a lot but at least I would have had something coming in … there is no way on earth we would have been able to afford to live on my husbands salary and my statutory sick pay alone on top of those incredible hospital bills …plus, my husband had to take some unpaid time off work to look after our newborn baby as I was unable to even hold her for approx. 3 weeks… I can’t get my head around the fact that the most developed country in the world is still comfortable leaving people to suffer when they can’t afford the help …. having said that if I had the answer to how a successful health service could run in the US then i’m sure I could somehow run for office or be a millionaire!
    After all that waffling I just want to send you some love and hope across the atlantic … I spent the first part of my evening browsing wdwmagic planning my as yet unbooked trip for next month and the last 2 hours discussing the benefits of living in the UK (despite my desperation to live in the US … this keeps my head well and truly screwed on..) I really hope things work out for you and you manage to get all the medical assistance you need. Being of the same age and having been through an almost similar experience I have real empathy ….

  • miss m says:

    Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and well-wishes. Believe me, the way things are here is absurd. It’s so broken and leaves people so broken too. I’m sorry to hear you went through the same sort of thing, though I’m glad it worked out for you. I really wish people would wake up and realize the way things are done here is just wrong and that it’s not fair good people can be destroyed by one medical emergency.

    Thanks though for the thoughts.

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