Monday, April 10, 2017

Health Care Bills: Well, It Could Be Worse

By the end of this week, it will have been three months since my stroke, fall and injury to my left arm. And the bills are starting to come due. In other words, insurance has paid what its going to pay and I’m on the hook for the rest.


For example, my expenses from stay at Cone Hospital where I had my surgery totaled in excess of $42,000.00. After insurance has paid its part, I’m still on the hook for $2,600.00+. And that’s just part of it. All told, total medical expenses for my treatment at Brunswick, Cone & Wesley Long hospitals plus ancillary charges for radiology, anesthesia and more will be in excess of $100,000.00.

Thankfully, I have health insurance but when this all over, my out of pocket expenses will come to about $10,000.00.


No, I don’t have $10,000.00 burning a hole in my pocket but I’ll be OK. I have a medical saving account. Also I can tap lines of credit through my bank and there’s the always reliable credit cards as needed. I am far luckier than a lot of people. Still, I’m racking up some debt to cover my share of medical expenses. And what happens if another medical crisis hits and I’ve already tapped out these financial cushions?  


This is why we need effective, broad-based reform of health care in this country. A lot of the focus for health care reform efforts is on people who do not have health care insurance but what about people like me? I’m not rich but I’m not poor. I will be poor if I have to keep taking hits like these for medical expenses.


I have health insurance and I’m facing $10,000.00 in debt for my health care. That’s money NOT going to the purchase of a new car or a family vacation or any of those other expenditures that keeps our free-market economy moving. It’s money NOT going into savings or investing for the future.


Again, I’ll be OK. I’m luckier than a lot of other people out there. There are people facing bankruptcy because of medical expenses.

That's that for today. Until next time, remember to be good to one another. 

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