Saturday, October 13, 2012

Getting Blood From A Stone, The High Cost Of Healthcare

Problem: Undiagnosed Crohn's Disease which caused scar tissue that lead to a small intestine blockage. There were no symptoms prior to the blockage and had Hubby been seeing a physician regularly they never would have diagnosed it. The blockage required a day in the ER followed by surgery plus 3 days in the hospital.

Hospital bill...............................................$32,780.00
Emergency room bill.........................................810.00
Cat Scan..........................................................310.00
Abdominal Xray.................................................82.00
Total debt..................................................$42,948.00 and we are not sure all bills are in.

Also, Hub has developed an infection. It may be MRSA. He has what looks like a boil on the edge of the incision site. We'll know on Tuesday, and then we'll have additional medical bills for more treatment. It was under the steri-strips holding his incision closed so he got it in the hospital. On his first and only stay. At an award winning hospital according to NYS Health Department.

We have no insurance, and thanks to Wall Street and their shenanigans have lived on  $19,000 a year for the past 6 years.

I had planned on giving up our satellite in order to have the money to pay towards the bill, however, NYS now DEMANDS that two of the business taxes must be filed online, and notifications are now emailed. This means I MUST maintain an internet connection. Since Winter is approaching, we are looking at an additional $400 every few weeks to heat our home. So, there is absolutely no way to reduce our living expenses to find enough money to pay any bill with enough money per month to pay it off in a timely manner.

We have requested charitable assistance with the hospital bill. The hospital has offered half off, and we are asking for help with the half we are going to have to pay. My income is presently frozen due to that request. I had lost clients to nursing homes and the company didn't have any new clients to give me. Now they do, and I can't take them until we receive the determination. Then I'm going to have to push for full time instead of the 24 hours I was working.

I'm not even going to look at how Hubby will manage to pay for his Medicare which he will be getting in 2013. Then there will be my Medicare in 2014. Which I will have to pay for out of my work earnings since I can't retire with full benefit until 2015. Heavy sigh.

People who have no idea what medical care costs don't want to pay for health insurance. They have no idea how quickly they could need medical services and how much debt they will incur without it. There's a tremendous rate of inflation going on in the area of medical costs. Our bill, in the year 2012 is higher than the combined costs of ER services, hospital stay and surgery for our youngest son and his wife in 2007. Their bills combined equaled $30,000. He had appendicitis, she had a prolapsed bladder that required surgical repair. She was in the hospital a day longer than Hubby. This means that medical costs have more than doubled in 5 years. Controlling the cost of health insurance isn't going to make much difference if there is no control over how much can be charged for services.

I think that before people claim we have the best healthcare in the world, they need to sit down and research the number of deaths caused by medical mistakes, the number of deadly infections hospital patients acquire and the infant mortality rate here in the US. They might find we are no better than those countries that have single payer systems. Being better doesn't mean being the most expensive.


  1. I'm so sorry to hear this has happened to you. I hope your husband is okay now and that he didn't develop an infection. Our system is terribly flawed and if the Republicans take over. well...
    We have great healthcare for the rich. That's all. I see people every day who can't get help except from the ERs. Take care.

    1. There's definitely something there. I'm just hoping it's not MRSA.

  2. RM,
    The hospitals will accept a deal on the bill. But, that may still not be enough. Medicaid may be and answer.
    ObamaCare isn't great but it is better than nothing - which the GOP wants to take us back to. Even Romney said people with a pre-x can use the ER. Folks, the whole reason for having health insurance is to get you into see a primary care physician BEFORE your ass ends up in a ER!
    I don't want to be rushed into a ER with a heart attack and have to wait to get seen because somebody's kid has a tummy ache...

    Repealing Obamacare is something the Republicans have been after since it became law. And, as the election came closer they started occassionally saying "and replace" - that enraged the bagger right and they have stopped using that term. Look how much money the GOP is taking from the insurance lobby...

    I wish you the best - hang in there.


    1. In NYS the Medicaid income limit for 2 people is $11,000. We are over limit and don't qualify. Seniors making less than $14,000 a month with serious med issues can pay a spend down and get it, we're over that limit too.

      Since I know this and see how little actually is free, I have a serious problem with those baggers and assholes like Mitt with their 47% freeloader statements. They should live on what I see my clients living on. Most of them make less than $900 a month.

  3. You sound eligible for Medicaid. These staph infections are serious business. Don't take it lightly. Good luck.

    1. Income limit in NYS for Medicaid eligibility is $11,000 for a family of 2. This years income with Hub not working will be around $16,000. We will do what we can do to pay these bills and hope nothing else happens until next May when Hub qualifies for Medicare.

  4. Sherry hang in there - the system is not set up for us.
    the Ol'Buzzard

    1. Yup, I'm hanging in there. We're just going to give everyone a set amount of money each month and then once the smaller bills are paid off add that amount to the bigger ones. Might be paid off by the time I die, might not, but once I'm dead I'm not going to care.

  5. oh gosh this is what I have to look forward to; mounting medical bills I won't be able to pay for either. Make sure you guys stay on top of that infection.

    1. Well, since my Mom and my Dad both died from complications caused by MRSA, we're on top of it. I'm just grateful I still have a husband.

  6. Why do bad things happen to good people. My prayers for you and to your family. Try to be positive as always no matter what. I know it can be really depressing with a mounting bills but you have your husband. Nothing is more important than that.