The quieter you become the more you can hear ~ Ram Dass



Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Alphabe-Thursday

For the letter H I chose Health care relating to cancer since that's something I know about.  This might be a blog post that I might be hating myself for in the morning but hopefully, it won't be too controversial.  I'm not meaning for it to be.  Honestly.

In May of 2004, I went for my regular gynecological exam and it seemed I was healthy.  In August I went for my mammogram.  I was home a couple of hours and the doctor called saying I needed to get to a surgeon right away. You can imagine how horrified I was. The next day I was at the surgeon's office getting a needle biopsy.  The following day, I was told I had breast cancer and would need surgery. The day I had to go in to talk about what kind of surgery, I felt hopeless and hysterical inside. It was a good thing my husband and friend went with me.  Also, the wonderful surgeon I had let us tape the whole conversation so I could replay it one hundred times or more just so I could understand what happened at that meeting.  I realized also if it wouldn't have been for that mammogram who knows when I would have found out because you couldn't feel it.

The real cost for my surgery (mastectomy) , doctors, tests. was approximately
$14,871.57

Because we had an HMO paid for by my husband's employer at the time the cost to the insurance company was
$5,704.16

The cost for my cancer treatment, tests  (not counting the pills I had to take during chemo and am still taking after chemo) was approximately
$28,073.25

HMO cost was
$13,653.21

I was lucky in some respects with the cost of my cancer treatment because I only needed 4 chemo treatments and no radiation.  If I lived in another state the cost may have been more or less.  This also was in 2004, I can only imagine how much the prices have gone up. 

I can't help but think while people are debating health care and what to do about it what would have happened to me if I had no health insurances or was under-insured.  How would I have paid for it.  I know there are people out there grappling with this now.

I know a lot of people think health care is not a right in America but there is just something wrong to me that some people can't afford it.  Just sayin.

Go over to Jenny's and see what others picked for their H words, I can't wait.  H was again a very hard word for me, but I would imagine its not as horrendous as I is going to be.  http://jennymatlock.blogspot.com/2010/03/alphabe-thursday-h.html

36 comments:

Carol said...

I feel your pain...we got a bill for my DH gall bladder removal only...and only the hospital portion... 16 thousand!! That isn't counting the test; meds; and doctors fees! Thankfully, we too, have insurance...but I could only imagine the stress from having an issue such as a gall bladder removed without insurance. I hope someday, we can figure out a way for it to be fair/available for everyone!

lissa said...

you are right about healthcare, I do wish people can get the health free, but we live in a money world so I don't know if that's possible at all

I like your honesty here, thanks for sharing

mrs. c said...

I am having knee replacement surgery at the end of the month and the other done in June and I know it is going to be costly but I need it done. I am a teacher and our school system is in debt and I know next year they are going to cut our benefits and it's going up so I have to do it now!

The Muse said...

www.divashammer.com
H meme

I am glad you posted...and I hope that doing so helped you feel a bit more free.
The system...as all systems are...are so complex, that the resolutions to problems are thus even more complex.

It is my deep hope that you continue to be C free and that your days be joyous!

Christy said...

didn't you know that in polite company you shouldn't talk about religion, politics, money, age, weight or healthcare? :)just kidding.

Christy said...

didn't you know that in polite company you shouldn't talk about religion, politics, money, age, weight or healthcare? :)just kidding.

Jenny said...

Because of my school affiliations I am careful to not voice political thoughts...

But I will say I Honestly Hate the Healthcare dilemma we are in.

Wow...so much for not voicing my thoughts!

I'm glad you could get the care you need...even at such an exorbitant cost!

A+

Jo said...

As a canadian ... i am so very very thankful for my universal healthcare ... but like everything there are downsides ... like doctor shortages ... lack of funding etc ...

Steph said...

Your post is helpful in allowing for dialogue related to health care; but also, even more so, in expressing thoughts, feelings, concerns, and actions you took when diagnosed with breast cancer. Thank you.

jaydubblah said...

Hi, I feel we are so fortunate in the UK to have free medical treatment. People complain about the waiting lists and the standards and some people do choose to pay or have insurance but that is expensive in itself.
My H is very silly but I do hope you will have time to Visit Me

My name is PJ. said...

Oh Viki, you're point is so well made!

I believe the big, powerful United States should be ashamed of itself for the health care debacle.

mbkatc230 said...

I totally agree with you. I had gall bladder surgery 2 years ago and the bill for the surgery was over 15,000.00. Just for the surgery. Thankfully, we did have health insurance, but we are about to lose our benefits and I just pray that we stay healthy until we can figure out what to do! Never be afraid to voice your thoughts, that's what blogging is all about. Kathy

Julie Schuler said...

Uninsured for over a year. Hate the health care system. Out of pocket, routine gynie appointment and Pap smear- $360. Which might not seem a lot, but when your unemployment is $300 a week, it do take a bite! I don't think we ever finished paying the bill for my youngest son's delivery- and that was with insurance! I hope they don't repossess him.

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Wanda said...

So agree with you Viki. We have a good insurance plan and am so thankful, otherwise I feel we would be homeless. I spent a month in the hospital once and husband had colon cancer surgery. I feel all deserve good health care!

Sh@KiR@ CK said...

I am so sorry to hear about your pain
and the amount spent.
I have my mastectomy done too,
but we have health care and it did not cost me anything.
Healthcare in Malaysia is one of the cheapest and finest , indeed.

Happy Thursday!

hugs

shakira

HOPE FOR GREAT LAKES NOW!

THEME THURSDAY-HATS

Catherine said...

Interesting H post, the healthcare issue can be a big headache!

Blessings,
Catherine

Together We Save said...

Wow - I Hope your Health is better now.

Debbie said...

I tell you this was an awesome post. I think a big huge part of the problem is/was this. I worked for an oncologist many years ago...i worked for her for 8 years.....she made a salary of about $600,000 a year.....some of the cost of the chemo drugs where very expensive...no doubt...however, the insurance companies where paying out in some cases double of what she paid....I blame the insurance companies for a lot....from what I hear, her salary has diminished down to less than half of what she was making...what does that tell you? I am glad you are well, and you did get the care you needed....we can only hope things take a turn for the better for our kids future.

Cathryn said...

The current "health care reform" debate held by our politicians is actually Health Insurance Reform--the politicians aren't looking out for the people they represent--they are looking out for the insurance industries. There are 12 insurance lobbyists to each politician. Be sure, our politicians are receiving a huge kickback if they pass the mandatory insurance act that the insurance industry wants them to.

Sorry--but I'm one of those who works 2 full time jobs and still don't qualify for health insurance as we know it today.

Riet said...

IN this country we can't believe there is no regular healthcare in your country. Over here it is the law to be insured for basic healthcare . We can choose for a basic insurance or extra's, like for dentists and other not basics. Surgery is always payed for as that is in basic also specialist treatments are basic. Hopefully you are are all better now?

Amy said...

I worry about healthcare. I'm fortunate that both my hubs and I currently have good health insurance. But I worry for those who don't and for what it will be in our future. But by faith I believe the Lord will provide.

MrsJenB said...

It's always a tough situation when it comes to healthcare costs, isn't it? I couldn't believe that my father-in-law's helicopter ride from one hospital to another was $12,000! Just for transport! And it wasn't exactly an option to NOT transport him that way - at the time they weren't sure if he had a brain aneurysm or not and were sending him to a better hospital. It was really an every-second-counts situation.

I am happy to say that this is being taken care of...but my eyeballs almost fell out when I saw that bill!

laterg8r said...

wow, costly!!! but your health is worth it :D

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

We live in a country where there is extraordinary wealth. I can't believe we can't find the money to make sure everyone has basic health care.

Very thoughtful post. Thanks for putting a face on the controversy.

kim said...

Yes, we do need something to change in this country, but not socialized or universal medicine. You will see a great decline in good doctors and less and less students deciding to become doctors. From what I have read it takes a long time to get surgery and life saving things done and sometimes by the time they say yes, it is too late. The insurance companies are the ones making big bucks as I worked for doctors many years before I retired.

Pondside said...

Hi Viki - so glad you were able to get the care that was so necessary. I find it sad that the greatest country in the world has such a poor system to take care of the health of its citizens. When we travel to the US we always buy extra insurance because we once had a medical emergency and had to spend time in the system - we saw the bills but didn't need to pay them ourselves, thank heavens! Frankly, there was no difference in wait time, care etc from here to there.

Betty (picture circa 1951) said...

I hope you are well on your way to good health!

Last October my son developed a cough and complained about his back hurting. His job was physical so we weren't too alarmed and he went to a walk in clinic and was diagnosed with bronchitis. He actually had a mass in his chest and a tumor in his spinal canal that was compressing the spinal cord. He had no insurance. He finally went to another emergency clinic and they sent him to the hospital emergency room by ambulance. He received surgery and excellent care and was finally diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma a treatable form of cancer with a high cure rate. Then I tried to find treatment for him. No one would take him without insurance. Finally, MD Anderson picked him up under their financial aid program for Texas residents. Without them he might have died. We hope we'll be able to find insurance for him, but now with a pre-existing condition it might be cost prohibitive. He'll probably have to file for bankruptcy for all the other bills.

I think I heard on television today that 70+ peoople die in this country every day because they have no insurance. I think I've got that right. You never know what will happen. Look at all the Enron people that were out on the street with their retirement money gone and no health insurance overnight.

Melinda Cornish said...

I am so glad you got that mammogram!!! I will flat out say that for a great country, our health care system sucks.....it is really sad....

Amanda said...

Hi Viki,I am so glad you have your health now. We are so blessed to live in a country where we have such competent health care providers. Our free system allows us to lead the world in medical research. As the aunt of a young cancer survivor, I am so grateful for our wonderful hospitals and doctors.

The health insurance debate in this country is certainly complex, and there are no easy answers. It certainly seems like it is more difficult for the uninsured to get health care now, than it was before the national debate.

Thanks for your honest post. And best wishes for continued good health.

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Vicki said...

Viki, it was a sad yet happy post...
So glad you got through this part of things. I know may who have or are going through it. I've been blessed so far....
thanks for stopping by my *H* too (o:

Rita said...

Sorry that you had to go through this but happy to hear that you had a good result.

I have a good friend in that position at the moment. In fact her photo is one that I included in my pictorial on hats.

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Jacque said...

Good Morning Viki,

Thanks for stopping by the farmhouse for a visit. We love having company!

I am totally with you on the Healthcare issue. I have a private policy because I am unemployed. I never know when they are going to up the monthly premium or cancel my policy. My husband is disabled but fortuately he has his SS Disability that helps with his bills. Like all of us, I have several issues with government control over healthcare. I worked for a physician for 11 years and know all about HMO, PPO, Medicare, Medicaid, BCBS, etc do to try to regulate healthcare costs. It is a no-win situation. I wish it would revert back to the old days--80/20--and be done with it! But, that is just MY opinion. Didn't mean to get into all of that--LOL

Have a great weekend and thanks for sharing your "H" with all of us.

Patti said...

Glad that you're better. Sounds like you are doing well....I believe that those who have insurance, will keep it and get the same care as usual. We just need to find a way to offer insurance for the working poor and oh my...all of those children who need it.....I'm just sayin'

Mumsy said...

Oh Viki, you made it through the letter H with blind-color!

I found your post very informative, and helpful to see the great big numbers of health care cost..No one really has a true idea how much it costs, if they're not in the situation..

mub said...

I wish there was a simple solution to the issue of health care. I feel really lucky that health care is (mostly) accessible here and since it's required by law to have, you can't be denied for basic coverage. On the other hand, you really have to stick up for yourself and FIGHT for what you need.