08-14-2007, 11:16 PM   #1
Sojourn
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Damage report

There are so many different angles to this disease and how it effects you. It's just amazing to me that you can end up in the hospital and be out of work and then have to face an incredible financial mountain. As if you don't have enough to deal with already. This goes for any chronic illness I guess. It's just part of the equation. Unless you're wealthy, these diseases can ruin you financially for the rest of your life.

I had good insurance for my recent hospitalizations and surgery but so far I already owe almost $5,000 for everything. And I still haven't gotten the bill for the most recent event. Now that really is not much compared to what it would have been without the insurance. But for most people, $5,000 amounts to more than just a chunk of change. I talked to the hospital billing department today. The bills for the hospital are about $3000 and the rest is radiology etc. If I don't pay off the hospital within a year, it goes to collections. And then your credit report takes a hit furthering your misfortune.

I'm really not complaining as I have been blessed in many ways and know my situation is little compared to what many face who don't have insurance or family that can help. But I never cease to be amazed at what all this costs. I'm just kind of flabbergasted. I've been getting the bills for the past couple of weeks now, but just added them up today. My minimum payment to the hospital each month is $250 to get it paid off within a year starting in October. My COBRA insurance is $388 a month for a couple of months until the insurance for my new job kicks in. This does not include the $2000 due to radiology, GI, anasthesia, and surgeon. It almost becomes like another job in itself keeping track of all the bills and payments.
08-15-2007, 12:21 AM   #2
soupdragon69
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Hey Sojourn,

I can see how you are trying to be balanced about all this but if it were me I would be jumping up and down! I agree completely the last thing anyone needs is financial probs and worries on top of this or any other chronic illness.

Many here in the UK complain about "our rubbish health service" and yes we have probs like there are with any system but one thing we dont have to worry about is the cost of drug treatments, or any other treatment including surgery unless we decide to go private and pay ourselves or via private health insurance. Many here think that by going private they will get "better care and treatment" but in reality it is exactly the same surgeon they would have seen under the National Health Service earning himself extra money and 9 times out of 10 the private hospital doesnt have the staff or the facilities to cope if something goes wrong and the patient ends up being transferred to an NHS hospital for further/ongoing treatment.

I think the insurance aspect for many of you folks is devil and deep blue sea because you are then under phenomenal pressure to find work that will cover you with insurance when perhaps you just arent up to physically working full or part time too.

I take my hat off to you all as you cope with this one each and every day....
__________________
Jan

IF YOU DON'T JUMP YOU WONT EVER LEARN TO FLY





Brittle asthma 1996, Hypothyroidism 1998, Severe Crohns ileitis 2006 , Severe IBS 2007, Inflammatory/Rheumatoid Arthritis 2008, Sebhorreic Eczema and Folliculitis 1992, Roseca, steroid induced acne and Hidradenitis Suppurativa 2008, Multiple allergies and food intolerances diagnosed from 2003. Newly diagnosed fibromyalgia Dec 2009. Newly diagnosed calcific tendonitis Jan 2010. Chronic Pain diagnosed Dec 2010.
08-15-2007, 08:16 AM   #3
D Bergy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
What many people do not know is that you can negotiate your balance with various healthcare providers/ institutions. If you have a balance that you cannot pay that is likely going to go to a collection agency, contact the billing office and tell them you can pay 1/2 or 1/3 whatever you can afford. Ask if they will take this amount as payment in full. Since the collection agency is going to take a huge chunk of your balance anyway it makes little difference if they discount your balance or give it to the collection agency. It is all the same in the end money wise.

Once you do this with one of the providers you can say "Joe Shmow the Anesthesiologist took 1/2 of my balance as payment in full. Would you do the same for me?" Doctors will assume if Dr. X discounted your bill already there must be a good reason and they may do the same.

A well written letter is often required for individual providers explaining your situation. More often than not, if you are financially unable to pay they will accept a lesser amount. Especially, if you have no insurance at all.


D Bergy
08-15-2007, 06:58 PM   #4
skipscrohns
 
Healthcare is continually on the rise, but when it comes to your health, or your life in some cases, bottom line is that you need medical attention....and of course it is to your advantage to have Health insurance, hopefully thru your employer.

Back in February 06', my Crohn's was flaring up and I was bleeding internally and it just wasn't stopping on it's own after seven blood transfussions. Surgery was mandatory at that point...I was in the hospital for 12 days, and the cost was 134,000 dollars....lucky for me my Health insurance paid 130,000....the cost is a shock to the system, but when your life depends on it, you really aren't thinking about the monetary part of it.

Skip
08-16-2007, 08:41 AM   #5
Kev
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Halifax, NS, Canada

My Support Groups:
I can only commisserate for peope who either don't have insurance coverage, or who are in areas where health care isn't subsidized by local or federal governments. I've got two stories to tell... My folks, after my Dad retired, did some travelling. Due to the nature of my moms' health, Dad alway bought travelling insurance. They went to florida, and my Dad had an ulcer rupture w/o warning. he ended up in ER, then went to surgery... spent 6 days in hospital. The bill? over $140,000... thank God that there was insurance, otherwise their retirement, their home, all would have been wiped out... Like, Dad eventually got an 'itemized' bill, he had to go over it item by item, sign that he received that treatment, whatever.. and some of it was ludicrous... like, they billed him by the sq. ft. of the ER cubicle he was in.. or... $75 per pint of blood, plus $50 per pint to type & cross match it, plus the cost of someone bringing it up, and putting it in his IV line... or $20 for the paper cover on the pillow on the ER bed... come on now, $20 for a paper cover???
Each dr, nurse, etc., who was anyway near my dad was billed for.. even 'cleaning' staff.. they charged him twice to clean the OR where he was operated on, before and after the operation.. Maybe this itemized list was too itemized because it had to go thru Dad, the private insurance company, and our provincial health care plan

Anyway, 2nd story.. Here in Canada, we supposedly have universal healthcare.. I dunno if that's exactly true.. I ended up in the ER, had to wait 12 hrs to see a Dr. because anyone can go there... as you don't have to pay to go, hence everyone does.. whether it's actually an emergency situation or not.. but I'm digressing..
so, after my 12 hr wait (in extreme pain) the dr is making the rounds. patient next to me is in rough shape... chest pains, heart history.. but has no private insurance
I'm not trying to eaves drop, but as anyone who has been in such a place knows, there aren't too many secrets.. Guy should be admitted, but he is told that theyv'e got no beds available.. So, now it's my turn.. dr examines me, says that I need to be admitted.. but that's no guarrantee.. nurse comes along, learns that I have private insurance (I was still employed at the time, we had total coverage), and next thing I know I'm in a semi private room with cable TV and a telephone. I don't know what happened to the guy in the next bed in the ER, just know that as he didn't have private insurance, and they had no ward beds available, he wasn't admitted that night... How bad does it get here in canada? Well, my mom once had a heart attack, and they kept her on a gurney in a hallway for over a week because she had no private insurance, and there were no ward beds to be had. I ended up in a female ward because I needed emergency surgery and they had no male ward beds available... Anyway, I'm rambling... Just that there seems to be a stupid situation at play here.. extremes. either it's all private coverage, or else its all public coverage that goes too far, stretches too thin, and ends up with gaping holes in it that only private coverage bridges. Theres' got to be a happy medium.
__________________
KEV

Dx'd July, 2006
Meds: Flagyl, Cipro, Pred, AZA.. to no effect
Low Dose Naltrexone Nov 2007 - May 2014
Remicade June 17th, 2014
08-16-2007, 02:55 PM   #6
kskitt
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Location: Maidstone, United Kingdom
im glad that at the moment i am in education still and am gettin free prescriptions etc,but i am worried about the cost once i am earning and having to pay 6 odd per prescription
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08-16-2007, 06:09 PM   #7
vickyoddsocks
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Location: Lincoln, United Kingdom
Im a student in the UK too, and until recently i was paying 6 each time for prescription, but now iv done one of those pre pay certificates. It was 98 for the year but DEFINATELY worth it for me, so i'd recomed doing that. You can even do it all online now! (Do you get Student Disability Allowence, if you dont mind me asking, because im in the process of applying for it now)
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08-16-2007, 06:50 PM   #8
Sojourn
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
From the impressions I get here, and read elsewhere, the government health care system in the UK seems to be a little better than in Canada. But I have heard that in both places private insurance will help out a lot in regards to the kind of treatment you get and how long you have to wait. There should be a "happy medium." I'm not totally for government-funded healthcare here in the U.S. because the Military and Postal Service are about the only things our government does efficiently. I'm afraid they'd make a disaster of healthcare. But something definitely needs to be done, I don't know just what. Especially for people with chronic illnesses.

Here's a story that just came out today some of you all may have read about a guy that killed his wife because her medical bills were so high and he couldn't pay them.

Kansas City Man Accused of Tossing Ailing Wife From Balcony Over Medical Bill


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Stanley Reimer

KANSAS CITY, Mo. A man threw his seriously ill wife four stories to her death because he could no longer afford to pay for her medical care, prosecutors said in charging him with second-degree murder.

According to court documents filed Wednesday in Jackson County Circuit Court, Stanley Reimer walked his wife to the balcony of their apartment and kissed her before throwing her over.

The body of Criste Reimer, 47, was found Tuesday night outside the apartment building, near the upscale Country Club Plaza shopping district.

Stanley Reimer, 51, was charged Wednesday. He remained jailed on $250,000 bond and was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday.

In the probable cause statement filed with the charges, police said Reimer was desperate because he could not pay the bills for his wife's treatment for neurological problems and uterine cancer.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,293451,00.html
08-17-2007, 05:46 AM   #9
kskitt
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Location: Maidstone, United Kingdom
no i didnt think i was eligible for it,im doing a diploma in child care and education,so im not at uni yet.
08-17-2007, 09:35 AM   #10
Sojourn
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
D Bergy said:
What many people do not know is that you can negotiate your balance with various healthcare providers/ institutions. If you have a balance that you cannot pay that is likely going to go to a collection agency, contact the billing office and tell them you can pay 1/2 or 1/3 whatever you can afford. Ask if they will take this amount as payment in full. Since the collection agency is going to take a huge chunk of your balance anyway it makes little difference if they discount your balance or give it to the collection agency. It is all the same in the end money wise.

Once you do this with one of the providers you can say "Joe Shmow the Anesthesiologist took 1/2 of my balance as payment in full. Would you do the same for me?" Doctors will assume if Dr. X discounted your bill already there must be a good reason and they may do the same.

A well written letter is often required for individual providers explaining your situation. More often than not, if you are financially unable to pay they will accept a lesser amount. Especially, if you have no insurance at all.


D Bergy

Thanks Bergy, When I was in the hospital about 5 years ago I did not have insurance. But when I got out, I got a job truck-driving so I would have insurance. When I tried to negotiate the bill down, they told me that I made too much driving a truck and because I didn't have any family or kids.

The bus driving job I have now makes just about as much as truck-driving so I don't think I'll be able to get the bill lowered. But I will try. The billing department told me to call back when I get the bill from the most recent hospitalization. They said we could look at it then.
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