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.
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.