Last month, I was in the hospital a couple of days. My blood pressure spiked to over 200, and I was experiencing chest pain and pressure. Urgent Care called an ambulance; they wouldn’t even let me drive to the ER. Do you know what an ambulance costs these days? Mine was listed as $1067 on my insurance account. Yikes!
I was sent straight to the Cardiac Care Unit. You can guess what happened next: tests and more tests, no sleep (I was there two days), barely tolerable hospital food (it took them until dinner the second day to figure out what “no meat” meant), and lots of bruising from needles as the bloodsuckers did their thing.
I felt pretty good that first day. They shot something into the IV that lowered my BP, and the chest pain eased considerably. The second day, however, I was cranky and out of sorts, and my stomach hurt from not being able to eat prior to a stress test. I don’t do well without food, not since acquiring H.Pylori when I lived on the hobby farm.
The upshot: I had a little fluid around the heart. They said it wasn’t serious and would probably go away on its own. They never told me whether or not that was what drove the BP up, so I still don’t know, but now I take a calcium channel blocker every morning. They wanted to foist two different meds on me, but I refused. The one is proving adequate.
I skipped the follow-up visit to the main doctor. I say “main,” because half a dozen saw me during those two days, and every one of them asked me to repeat what brought me there. And of course they all charged me for that visit too. Tell me, why do they get up to a thousand bucks for fifteen minutes of their time?
While I’m at it, why does it cost so much for CT scans and MRIs?–the equipment is usually long since paid for–and if they wheel you to Nuclear Medicine, watch out!
Two days in hospital: $25K
I have ACA. The insurance company didn’t like my recent flurry of medical activity and sent the next bill so I’d get it two days after the payment was due. I’m organized, though. I was waiting for it to show up, and when it didn’t, I called and paid over the phone.
Bill didn’t show up again this month; I paid it online.
I will give them NO EXCUSE to drop my insurance, and I’d be a fool to think this unexplained delay in receiving the bill is an error on their part. Insurance companies want to take your money; they do not want to pay out for anything. That’s why they must be destroyed as we change to single payer.
I’m dealing with another health issue now. Suspected diverticulitis. Christ, this has been a bad year for me medically. I feel like I haven’t been well in months, and in fact, I’ve been in pain most of this last month. Lower left abdomen, to be exact, which is why they think it’s diverticulitis.
They handed me antibiotics at Urgent Care, I took them, but the pain is still there. Tests will now be done to confirm or deny the diagnosis. They won’t be cheap. I’ll need that insurance.
I turn sixty-five in February. Private companies have been sending me crap in the mail for months regarding Medicare; how did they get my personal information? There can be only one answer: the government gave it to them.
You people who think it would be great to go on Medicare so everything is easy and taken care of blah blah? *snort* They have fucked that up too, with Bush’s “help.” His Part D was a Big Pharma giveaway, and we pay the price.
Part A is free. That covers 80% of hospitalization. Part B, which is doctors and tests and shit like that, must be paid for with monthly premiums. This year, that premium averaged $120/month. Part C is a combo of A, B, and D (the prescription drug coverage), but that puts you into a PPO/HMO, meaning you see doctors in the network or suffer the consequences. I want to see the doctor of my choice, so I’m opting not to choose C. Part D is purchased by the user; average cost per month seems to run around $35. Then you must buy “gap” insurance to cover that 20 percent Part A doesn’t. I have no idea what that costs yet. I’m terrified to check, but again, it’s arranged privately, with companies designed to rip you off and overcharge.
So now we’re up to around $150 a month for insurance before adding another, say, $35 for the gap insurance, and we’re almost to $200. I currently pay $38 for the ACA. Medicare will cost me almost five times as much.
“Stay on the ACA then,” you say.
Can’t. Government won’t let you, and if you don’t sign up during open enrollment during the year you turn 65, you will be punished by having a fee levied against you. I don’t use that word incorrectly. Punished is what you hear on the recording when you call Medicare.
Imagine having a government that threatens its citizens like that! I was appalled and a little scared. What the hell? Shouldn’t the government be afraid of its people?! They’re absolutely not. I get the feeling they often view us as vermin to be exterminated.
A friend of mine is going through exactly the same thing as me right now: signing up for medicare. She’s had cancer twice and is still taking medication for the second bout. You should see what she’s gonna have to cough up a month. She’s freaked.
The fact is this: America needs a robust national health service, and we could easily afford it if we stopped waging war. Our military budget is bloated and wasteful, and a few people/companies are becoming gazillionaires because of it.
Until we change our priorities and put people first, things are only going to get worse, and not just in the medical industry (I use the word “industry” correctly; it’s a damn business, and we are their marks). Our infrastructure is failing, our education system is a joke, and the food we eat makes us sick and fat.
But hey, if we wait a couple more decades, climate change will take care of everything for us, so we might as well party hearty, eh?