self-medication

i’m sitting here with a wee bit of ben and jerry’s light phish food (here’s the phull phat version, my medication of choice during my pregnancy with hellboy), freaking out quietly. while i’m still chagrined that this stuff goes for $4 a pint (MAYBE $2.99 on sale on a cold day in hell), it’s WAAAAY cheaper than what i found out i would be paying for the IVIG if i *didn’t* have health insurance.

see, i got an interesting letter today informing me of my benefits. the IVIG alone — and we’re not talking any of the tubes or IV apparatus, we’re not talking about the nurse who has to hook me up and take me off and monitor me, and we’re not even talking about the freaking doctor visit, which of course, i would get charged above and beyond all of it — would cost a couple thousand. each time. and i have to go every 4-6 weeks. ad infinitem.

now, as my friend suzanne likes to say, we (she and i, not the Royal We) have the mathematical ability of raccoons. (okay, so now she’s in a position of serious responsibility that requires mathematical ability, and i’ve proven that i can make it through graduate level courses which require things like the application of quantitative techniques. but old fears die hard.) but even so. i can do the math and figure out that, at a rate of every 6 weeks, this would cost over $30,000. A YEAR.

i could kiss the feet of the people at my insurance company. i could kiss the cheeks of the people who are coordinating this life-saving stuff for me. and i should probably kiss anything BS wants for having health insurance and for providing this life-saving paper for us all. but it does make me wonder heavily about all the people out there who don’t have good health insurance, or health insurance at all. and it makes me wonder about all the people who don’t seem to want to have any sort of national health program beyond medicaid and medicare.

i may yet become an activist on this frontier. i find it so frightening that i get access to quality care simply because i can afford the insurance, the co-pays, the out-of-pocket expenses. what if i couldn’t? where would i go? should i simply die? i shudder to think about that; i have a feeling that is the case for a lot of people.

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3 Responses to “self-medication”

  1. Yikes! Yeah, IMO it’s better not to calculate things like that. For peace of mind. I will cheer you on, however, if you decide to become an activist!

    I don’t know if this will make you feel better, but when I think of trouble with insurance, I think of Akio’s dad. From what I’ve been told about Akio’s dad, Tom (whom I never met, sadly), after retirement he was a ranting, long-white-bearded, crotchety old goat (but lovable: just thinking about him makes Akio laugh). He had his health problems and had insurance from his long years of Federal service. However, he spent many days of his retirement typing angry letters to insurance companies. I have seen a copy of one and it was hilariously funny in a very sad way. He ranted about the lack of customer service and the payments that hadn’t come in and ranted about the fact that he was practically blind, couldn’t see the keys on the typewriter, but was compelled by rage to write angry letters. Man, I really wish I had met him…

  2. I’ll take up that banner next to you! Todd just found out that we have to pay $900 for treatment that is apparently not covered by insurance. Sure, it wouldn’t kill him not to get it, but it would make him extremely uncomfortable. GREAT. Now he’s looking into us getting private insurance, instead of sticking with my work’s. But even so, we’re extremely lucky to even have insurance, let alone possible options. Like a lot of people, we were uninsured for many years and thus only saw doctors in emergency rooms.

    A., I could totally see Todd sending a letter like that today.

  3. FWIW, my gallbladder surgery last Fall only cost me a couple hundred out of pocket with copays n stuff. But, if I hadn’t had health insurance, guess what the total of everything would have been? $27,000. And, this was “outpatient”. I’m not kidding.

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