Monday, September 14, 2015

United States healthcare is a god damn travesty.

I think pretty much everyone knows that I had my adorable and perfect baby Penelope way back in April. I knew full on when I had her that we were going to have some kind of balance to pay. I have never, EVER missed a payment on anything, let alone the hospital. I have always paid my balances long before any payment plan was to come to term and 98% of the time I have paid my balances in full on the first statement.

We have health insurance, obviously, but it doesn't cover much at all. Our deductible per year is actually $9,000 for family.

Let that sink in.

That is over and above what we pay out of each of Matt's paychecks just to have the insurance.

Tell me where this is a "benefit" to us?


So I have a hospital bill for Penelope which is about $1600 that we have to pay, and my bill which is about $4500 that we have to pay. Thankfully, Matt has an HSA through work and that was enough to pay Penelope's bill in full and a portion of mine. Not much, I still have to come up with $3000 or so, but it's better than not having the HSA at all.

Today, after these checks were cashed (according to my bank account) the hospital billing department calls me to tell me that unless I can pay $700/month, they are going to throw my account into collections.

EXCUSE ME? Are you fucking serious?!

You're telling me, a customer that has never had a negative mark on my account and who JUST MADE A PAYMENT, is going to collections? Meanwhile we have people who just don't pay their accounts at all? I'm being punished because of them? Are you kidding me right now?

Then she, after picking up on my dead silence as I'm trying to count myself off the ledge, starts asking, "Well ma'am, if you can't afford that, what CAN you afford?" Um, I don't know. You see, our bills vary every month and I send everything I can. I don't even have a savings account anymore- it is gone except for the $5 to keep the account open. My credit cards? Maxed out. I am literally barely treading water over here, so fuck you and your collections threat. You'll get what I can afford to send you. She even said I already had a negative check on my account because they mailed my bill to the wrong address. An address I have not been at for over two years. My hospital and insurance records ALL have my new address so quite fucking frankly, I don't understand how you can screw that up at all. I've been getting bills all along to my new address so tell me why your fuck up is now my negative mark?

Don't even get me started on the over the top charges for a pediatrician that we NEVER SAW, or the doctor who supposedly checked me out and one never came. I didn't see an OB my last day there. I only saw a nurse, in the hallway, who told me I could go and just to pick up my papers at the desk and have someone walk me out. Nobody walked me through discharge. I did my own discharge but you better believe I'm getting charged an over the top amount for it.

I just... I can't keep doing this. I'm just so tired of it, you know? I just... I just want a break. I see people who blatantly use the system- they lie to get as much as they can and I cannot bring myself to be that person no matter how broke I am. I refuse to be deceptive to get a break. I just can't. But it's those people that just get everything. They get all of the help from governmental agencies and I'm eating cereal for dinner and trying to stretch a gallon of milk. I feel defeated.


thotlady said...

Trust me, taking the high road makes you a better person. I know it doesn't seem like it now. But it always pays off. Hang in there!

Bethany Magnie said...

Wow! This makes me mad for you!! The heal care system is totally messed up here in the US which is part of the reason I chose to go with a midwife instead of a hospital. I'd highly recommend it for next time, if there is one. It was a very personal experience as well as being wayyyy cheaper than our local hospital. We actually initially went with them but they lost the first labs I ever even had with them so we decided to search for a alternative almost right away, I'm so glad we did!

Unknown said...

Goodness gracious! This sounds ridiculous! Hope you get it figured out...and in the meantime, hang in there!

Claire said...

You know, people here bitch and wine about the NHS when they got to wait 3 hours at the a and e for a course of antibiotics when they sniff more than once, and our prescriptions have gone up to just under 10.00. But we are just so lucky. I would never be able to afford to be ill if we had to pay. x

Unknown said...

Tell it sister! Why the fuck do they ask for an insurance card at EVER visit when they're not going to even bother updating the address? $700 a/month?!! That lady must be off her rocker. Listen, as far as I know, it's illegal to send someone to collections if they are currently paying on an account. They could be paying $5, $10, it doesn't matter. If it's something, they can't be sent to collections -don't let them bully you like that. Know your rights. I had a huge hospital bill once too, but my priority was to pay my credit card off first because it didn't make a lick of sense to accrue interest on it or to pay finance charges just because I had to pay a medical bill.

Why Girls Are Weird said...

And this is one of the (many) reasons I'm not having kids. How does anyone afford them? I mean birthing ALONE is ridiculously expensive. And then 18+ years of paying for them. Sigh. The American dream is pretty laughable.

Unknown said...

I was hit a few months ago with a $1600 er bill because I was in so much pain I called the doctors office they said go to the ER sounds like a kidney stone. After the recommended testing etc, I walked away with the same pain killers I had before I walked in to the ER's office with the diagnosis of "We don't know why you are in pain". I missed three days of work and was on pain killers and still- they didn't know.

Then I get hit with that bill. The total of the bill came to over $9k but my portion was $1600!!! I couldn't believe it. When I had both of my kids my bill was maybe $500 for each one and I was hospitalized several times with both of them during my pregnancy. I even called the hospital and said- I can have kids cheaper than this and she said yes. I'm sorry. ER time is in high demand so you pay more. . .Um what??! You are a hospital! Your floors are full of high demand areas. I just couldn't believe it.

My experience isn't as bad as yours but geez!! And then people wonder why we self diagnose with WebMD.

Shann said...

I can't even begin to tell you how upset this makes me. Our healthcare system is so messed up. I can't believe she was going to send you to collections. Just ridiculous. If you've never been behind, they should be happy you're sending it what you can. Some people never send anything at all. Ugh. I'm sorry you're going through this.

Mattie @ Northwest Native said...

SO messed up! I should move to Canada so I can afford to have babies. But so many people here don't want universal healthcare because they say it's socialist and blah blah blah. JUST GIVE ME UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE!

Domicile 37 said...

this sounds like my conversation to My Family Mobile and when I had an old hospital bill. Those people, I say....UGH!

Julie H said...

I thought there was a thing that just as long as you are making payments they can't send you to collections for medical bills? Maybe that's just here? We still owe $15k from Scott's blood clot trip 2 years ago. I send $100 a month. I'm not going to be broke and starving because I have shitty insurance and the hospital wouldn't work with me (and they don't charge interest).

Ruth said...

Last year my husband had an MRI and we had to make payments. They set it up for more than I could pay so it would be done in a year. They told me if I couldn't afford it after a couple months to call back and they would send me forms to fill out. I did that and they sent me a discount card that took care of the bill and everything through their hospital for a year. Maybe ask about financial aid.

Caitlin said...

Ugh, this is so frustrating! I'm sorry that you're going through it.
xo, Caitlin
And Possibly Dinosaurs