I thought I was safe. I thought it was all going to be ok. I have health insurance, why would I have anything to fear. Cancer doesn't scare me, the cost of fighting it keeps me up at night. Please follow me below the fold and share your healthcare horror story.
I woke up three weeks ago around 5:30AM, horrible pain to my lower right back and right abdomen. I'm a nurse, so I assessed myself and figured it's either appendecitis or a kidney stone. Naturally I couldn't drive; called good ol' mom and to the ER we went.
After a good shot of Demerol, extensive exams, lab results; I was approached by the ER MD whom stated I had a small kidney stone that was close to being expelled. I was ecstatic, I figured I'll be able to get back to work soon. Unfortunantely, he also said I had a large tumor to my right kidney. I began to cry; I knew I was in for a bad couple of months and spent the next 3 days in the hospital.
After discharge from the hospital, 4 CT scans, a Chest X Ray, an MRI, a biopsy, I knew I was in for some extensive medical bills. My Urologist called me in for a appt and diagnosed me with Renal Cell Carcinoma (Clear Cell Type). I was angry, just three years ago I had been diagnosed with Testicular Cancer (Pure Seminoma). I was still paying off bills from that surgery. I lost my right testicle, and know the doctor said a Radical Nephrectomy was my best option. Great, now I'm going to lose my kidney as well. Surgery was scheduled for January 6.
Fast forward to January 3. It's a Friday, and the phone calls started coming in from my Urologist and the Hospital. Pre-Registration; Confirm your name, your date of birth, emergency contact. What got me, "It looks like you have a limited insurance, your share is $6,107 and can you take care of that right now?". I told her I didn't realize I had co-pay. "This isn't a co-pay, this is your share. You've almost maxed out your benefits, your insurance is only going to pay $1,063". My recent hospitalization had almost maxed me out. I told her I had nowhere near that amount, and she forwarded me to the Financial Department at the Hospital.
Second phone call came in, a gentleman. Apparently the earlier figure was incorrect. My share was now between $20,000-$21,000. My heart sank. He said he wasn't sure how much the hospital was going to want upfront. I did call the financial department, spoke with a nice lady who told me to come in for my surgery and "Make payment arrangements".
I'm 29, I got plenty of years, when I get better, maybe taking up a second job I can pay it off. But if I don't make it with this insane amount of money they want, how can anyone who makes less than I make it? I think of the poor CNA's, Techs, clerical staff.
I wish I had advice, or some resources. Our healthcare system sucks. I told my mom it's cheaper to die, which is quite sad. I will update tomorrow and leave more goodies on my hospitalization.