It is with heavy heart & tears in my eyes that I write this post. I wanted this blog to be funny little snippets of my life. Nothing to heavy. Nor did I want it to be a bitch-fest for first-world-problems (wait – isn’t that most blogs). But life seems to throw you a curve ball when you least expect it.
Up until the end of January 2009, I took my health insurance for granted. I had always worked for corporations and was covered. But that January I was one of the casualties, like so many others, of the economic crisis & was laid-off from a job I loved dearly. Myself & hundreds of others from my company were given our severance packages & sent on our way. I seriously feel like I’ve been in a panic ever since.
The severance package was quickly gone replacing all electronics that were previously provided by my former employer, paying off debts and still paying the rent & all the bills with unemployment checks that were half of my salary. Oh, and with the stock market crashing, my 401k was virtually none existent.
I didn’t know where I was going to find a job at my salary or benefits. I had worked hard to get where I was AND had never “not” had a job since my first one, as a paper girl in the 5th grade. But finally at the end of 2009, and down to my last dollars, I got a new gig…with a small company that doesn’t offer health insurance.
“That’s fine – I’ve been paying for my own for the last 9 months,” I thought. But you realize quickly the difference between a $250 deductible & a $3000 deductible. And all it takes is one trip to the emergency room to put you in dire straights. Or one mammogram & biopsy, as were both my cases.
The emergency room was last year. I had never been to one, EVER, but last summer I got suddendly ill (like it came on in minutes) that had me uncontrollably vomiting & unable to stop. At the point that I was foaming at the mouth like a rabid dog, I finally called my old housemate, who’s husband rushed me to the emergency room. Twelve hours, 2 IV’s, a diagnosis of “well it could be virus,” and $3000 later, I was sent home & on my way. I didn’t qualify for assistance – I make to much money they said (I guess you need to be at poverty level), so I went on a payment plan, which I’m still paying on.
Fast forward to last month. Regular mammogram – found a lump – wasn’t alarmed since I’ve had them before – but they wanted to ultrasound & biopsy. “Sure, have at it,” I said.
I got one of the insurance bills last week. It was around $450 after their “discounts.” I wasn’t happy but I could live with it. I got a bill on Monday from the hospital of charges they’re sending my insurance….$4100! Really? To shove a needle in my boob? The $450 was just the doctor part..I have not idea where I’ll be at the end of this.
When you buy your own health insurance, your not really buying insurance – you’re buying a discount. And a shitty one at that.They may pay 100% after your deductible (ridiculously high), but it’s 100% of what they “think” they should pay – not what’s being billed. And what they “think” is usually nowhere near what you’re billed.
Now this isn’t a rant about whether or not we should have socialized healthcare in the country, because let me tell you, I’ve traveled abroad & that system’s got it’s issues too. But there is something seriously jacked-up when it comes to your doctor’s bill & your insurance and they start playing “Let’s Make a Deal,” and your left with the pieces.
Crap! But what to do? You have to have it or at least I do, because I’m a “cover my ass,” kinda gal…and right now I feel like they have me by mine. At least the “girls” (boobs) are fine.
P.S. I’ll be back to my normal self tomorrow…oh – did I tell you I need a root canal?