Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Cost of Health

I posted on Facebook that Dianne had to have her gallbladder removed last Friday.  It was a simply and informative post to let a lot of people know what was going on.  So I was surprised that the next time I logged on Facebook suggested that I add a link for friends to make a donation.  I simply let that pass but I have been thinking about it.  I know the final bill even after insurance will be a lot of money and it will be something that will set us back a little bit in our most recent plans but wow, Facebook must have a great number of people having to collect money to pay their medical bills.  Even in the age of the Affordable Care Act.  What struck me today was a local sports commentator and former coach retweeted a GoFundMe page for an Iraqi War Veteran and Police officer in Michigan who is being treated for cancer.  Here is link that I assume is legit: Dave Imber

So I got to thinking about even having good insurance having an emergency medical condition can be a life altering event even if it routine because of the financial impact. A few years ago a Kaiser Family Foundation report found that one in three Americans had trouble with medical debt. Many of those are insured, still had crushing medical bills, after paying premiums that are difficult each month.  Gerri Detweiler, director of consumer education at Credit.com  wrote “Just because you have good insurance that doesn’t mean you won’t have large out-of-pocket costs."  And that is the problem.

Insurance is confusing, high deductible policies are becoming the norm, in-network/out-or-network are getting more confusing, and the often you have to fight lone and hard when something is out of whack.   I recently had a bill that was coded wrong and saved over $600 on the bill.  I called several times and finally got someone to listen to me and figured out the problem.  That was an education process for me.  It appears that you can be in your network, you can have a doctor order, and your insurance can know what you are doing and depending on where you get your work done the cost of the exact same procedure in the same zip code.  That is amazing.  What is more amazing that we don't know the prices before we go to the hospital so we can't comparison shop.  We can do better. 

So many people rage against what the rest of the world does with single payer.  While it would raise our taxes it levels the field so that our police and veterans or hardworking Americans can afford to have their health taken care of without a system made to confuse and intimidate the consumer.   So as we prepare to see exactly how much Dianne's medical condition costs I will say her care was wonderful, the doctors, nurses, and aides were all amazing and helpful.  So there is a part of me struggling to put a price on that. 

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