Run away now
Before you get sucked in!
All three of those topics (hospital, medical insurance, debt) are all entwined for us. I have to talk about all three to show the magnitude of how crippling of an effect these have on someone. I will start out with the shocker:
We are $40,000 deep in medical debt.
The same question I get asked by others is, “Well, don’t you have medical insurance?” Yes, we do. It is insurance through my husband’s work, but it is the WORST insurance when it comes to hospital stays and ER situations. The kicker is that our insurance will actually send us a check when we go for regular doctor visits. They pay us when we are sick…. Hm… Isn’t that odd?
We also get asked why we do not switch to insurance that is more reliable. The reason is because most insurance out there is too expensive. After researching what’s out there, I have found that most cost at least $500+ a month to have a family of 3 covered. That’s like having 2 mortgages to me. Not an option for our one-income family. If there was a way, we would switch. No doubt about that.
The crappy insurance we use has been with us since my pregnant days in 2010. The massive debt started there. Our insurance covered a couple thousand of the cost and we ended up with $15,000 we needed to pay from our pockets. Can I just say how the hospital charges an insane amount for every day items? Really, they do. I had a gauze bandage on my stomach after the C-section, and the hospital said they charged $1,500 just for the gauze! I still want to cry over that thought, but it also makes me want to laugh. What a joke!
Then my husband was in the hospital for 5 days and doctors did every test imaginable on him. Any time a doctor walked into the room that was like a $200 charge. So you can imagine how much we had to pay every time a doctor just stepped foot into the room. At one point, I wanted to tell them to not come in the room so we wouldn’t rack up charges!
This month, my son had a seizure and after calling 911 the paramedics arrived. I am very grateful to those 6 paramedics that arrived on the scene within 5 minutes. My two year old was unresponsive and I knew the paramedics would do everything they could to help him. My son was transported via ambulance (another thing our insurance doesn’t cover much of), and ended up at one of the best child’s hospitals in the area. After getting my son’s fever down and getting an IV, my son was doing better. I am still unsure of what this will all cost since we haven’t seen any bills arrive yet. Our debt of $40,000 will be more now.
I do have to say that I am grateful that we live in a society of great doctors and medical technology because they save lives. But I am very concerned and frustrated at the fact that insurance and hospital costs "kill" those who lack great insurance or have no insurance.
The kicker to all this is that people who do not make much money can get free healthcare. Yet those who work hard (including us) are seeping through the cracks of this thing we call healthcare. Technically, we probably have less money than those who are on free, government healthcare if you consider the amount of debt we are in. Kinda ironic. I'm not saying that those who are on free healthcare shouldn't get the help they need. I just think that if I owe a certain amount for something, they should owe the same amount. It may take them longer to pay it off, but it's the same deal for me...I pay as I can.
My husband and I also get asked why we do not just file bankruptcy. That is a whole other rant, but I will say that we are determined to pay ALL this debt…even though we feel like it was unwarranted debt. Too bad I didn’t go on a shopping spree, get a new car, and go on a million dollar vacation to rack up this debt. In some ways, I would understand the importance of paying off debt for things I did to myself. Things I did out of stupidity which would require me to learn my lesson and pay off the debt. But this happened to us—a family that is trying to be responsible. Life just bites you in the butt like that sometimes though.
And I will say that we have paid off at least $15,000 since 2010, but we have a LONG way to go. Back then I had a teaching job and all my income went towards that debt. Now, we have a different plan since I’m not working anymore. We follow Dave Ramsey’s plan to get us out of debt! That is another blog topic in and of itself.
You get dealt a bad hand of cards and how you deal with it is what matters.