Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My health insurance frustration, outrageous costs.

I've made no secret about my dissatisfaction with health insurance and the problems we've had with the bills this year. Today, I paid $1731.00 to pay off this years medical expenses. During a call today, I learned we could have used a medical payment program that would have combined half our medical expenses into a single affordable monthly bill.

I am beyond frustrated. I have talked to many people all year and I am only now learning of this program, after paying nearly $20,000 (in cash, out of pocket, non-reimbursed) for medical bills this year. We've had a tough time paying these bills and our credit score took a hit. Most months we paid more than our mortgage in medical bills alone, sometimes twice the mortgage because of prescriptions. We narrowly avoided filing for bankruptcy due to medical bills. We also avoided getting care because we could not afford another medical bill. And I became very sick when I tried switching to a different medication to lower the cost. It would have been a blessing had we known we could combine some of the bills. We could not lower the bills but this program would have stopped the calls from clinics that wanted a higher payment and did not care if we wouldn't be able to pay other bills and provide food for the family. Some clinics insisted they get $350 a month, others were okay if we paid $20, there was no uniformity.

I've shared our story with family and friends for the sole reason of keeping health care insurance reform in people minds. If you haven't experienced the hardship of the bills, you are very lucky and I sincerely hope it remains that way. If you are like us and have felt the impact of outrageous health care costs, please consider sharing your story. I am getting involved in groups that are advocating for change, the more people who share, the more we'll be heard.

It's easy to think these medical bills were a result of having a child with extra needs and it can't happen to the average person. We have supplemental insurance for Joseph that covers what our insurance doesn't pay. These medical bills came from the rest of the family. This could happen to anyone who doesn't have good health insurance.

If you saw the front page of the Star Tribune on Sunday, there was a story about a family who had a high deductible plan and how those plans are causing financial turmoil. That is what we experienced when Greg lost his job last year and why we got hit so hard this year. Thankfully 2009 looks better because Greg found an employer with good insurance.

http://www.startribune.com/business/36786564.html?page=1&c=y This link is for the article in Sundays paper for 12/28/2008. It may only work for 14 days.

Thanks for reading this and if you want, you have my permission to share this story.

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