Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Day 19-21: Health Insurance and My Soapbox

Preston and Katie
Halloween 2012
Yesterday, Preston had his wisdom teeth out.  What would have cost nearly $3000, cost us $300.

Eric and Quinn went to the Dermatologist yesterday.  I have no idea what their first time patient + office visit costs, but I'm sure it was something----something we only paid a portion of.

I do know that they both came home with prescriptions that are evidently so expensive, that they came with rebate cards.  What's interesting/sad, is that when I read the fine print on those cards, I found out they are only useful for folks with insurance.  Seems counter-intuitive.

On November 10, 2009, Eric broke his femur while mountain biking in Arizona.
Rescue, Ambulance, Surgery, Hospitalization---all covered by our insurance.

On November 16, 2009, Jenna went into the hospital with what was likely a problem appendix.  She was even admitted and surgery was scheduled for the next day.  Luckily, the doctors weren't feeling a rush to use the knife, because they ended up deciding it wasn't her appendix after all.

Those two incidents right there, could have put us in debt for the rest of our lives, had we not had insurance coverage.

In 1992, 1994, and 1998--Years my children were born.  All in the hospital.  Uncomplicated births.  The bills that came with "insurance portion" and "your portion" were staggering.  

In 1993, I had a precancerous condition that had to be addressed.  Minor day surgery.  No anesthesia needed.  Just a portion of my doctor's time and a few fancy tools.  The bill was for over $3000, and I paid my little co-pay of $25.  

I take medication every single day.  Stuff that I need to be healthy.  Meds that keep me OUT of the doctors office.

Preston would have been just fine if he'd kept his wisdom teeth.
Eric and Quinn's lives were not in danger if they hadn't gone to the dermatologists yesterday.

However, the rest of the things I listed were things that HAD to be addressed.  
Things that, if not addressed, were life threatening.
I remember saying something to my doctor about my little surgery about insurance or not insurance.
"Wow, this costs so much!  What do women do that don't have insurance and can't afford it."
Her answer was callous and cold (Eric hated her).
"It develops into cancer and they die or they put it on their credit card."

I don't know where any of my friends or most of my family members stand on the healthcare issue that was a hotbutton topic during the last election.  I really don't understand the finer points of the Affordable Healthcare Act.

I do know, that my Dad had to choose between his medication and his groceries/heat/electric bills.

Healthcare act or no Healthcare act, I am profoundly thankful that my family has insurance.  
Thankful that we do not have to choose between healthcare and crushing debt.
We, in my family, do not have to put a visit to the hospital "on our credit card"---or worse yet, "die".

We are the richest nation on the planet. 
We, if we truly follow in Christ's example, have an imperative to take care of one another.
No one should ever have to choose between treating cancer and making a house payment.


  1. I second that notion.

    I am grateful for my health insurance that when I was hospitalized for two months and my bill ended up being over $1M, I paid less than $2500 for my care (with copays, etc.) out of pocket. My insurance settled for something like $200k, but had I been uninsured, my bill would have been the whole amount.

    We were watching a documentary about the poor last night and I asked (seriously), how do women give birth when they don't have health insurance? The idea of not having any one to help (even just a doula, midwife at home) made chills run up my back. I feel very lucky today and hope that at some point everyone has access to affordable health insurance.

  2. I do have health insurance and for that I am so thankful. That said, I am highly disappointed that so many people decide to live off of the system, take state insurance and walk away like it's no big deal. It is a BIG deal, they should be thankful. Some of them are thankful and appreciative... others feel like we owe them more, free meals while they are there taking care of their children, free soap, free toothbrushes, toothpaste. It's disappointing to me. I hope people can be thankful for something as simple as insurance, whether or not you pay the premium.