Wednesday, November 04, 2009

I'm one of the lucky ones.

I don’t have insurance. So I don’t go to the doctor. Didn’t get my annual. I’m an asshole who can drop money on fancy yarn, movies, train tickets, but when it comes to medical issues, it's “eh, everything’s probably fine.”

Then I started peeing blood.

Some things… you give them priority.

I called the after hours line at the doctor last night and they paged him for me. He made me feel a lot better and offered to see me before the office was even open. He was wonderful when I had my appointment and made me feel safe. I did need a medication for a bladder infection. Thank God, it’s a common enough medication that there’s a generic and it’s not expensive. I was able to join my grocery store’s Healthy Saver Plus plan for $7, and as such, my pills were only $4. I can’t even IMAGINE what the appointment is going to cost, considering there was lab work; last time, a new patient consultation and wart removal was over $220 (but I had insurance). Considering I went in not knowing what this thing was, and afraid it was some sort of melanoma, $220 is nothing compared to what it could have been, let alone the future cost as I would subsequently become uninsurable thanks to a "pre-existing condition."

I just can’t believe people want prices to stay this high. The fact the grocery store can still turn a profit giving me a medication for $4 that they would normally sell for over $50 says volumes about what’s wrong with health care here. I know I’m very lucky to have plenty banked that will pay for the appointment, but had it been more serious and required IV antibiotics, I could have been bankrupted. I just can’t fathom that this is okay here.

I'm feeling much better now. My symptoms had begun to abate on their own last night, a fact which would normally make me say "well, I must be better, no need to go to a doctor," as I always have with past bladder infections. But, considering the massive scare I had last night, I decided this time, it wasn't worth the risk. If I had opted to save myself $2-300 by not going in, I could end up spending thousands of dollars later if the symptoms returned and were worse. But it's a gamble that so many of us are forced to take. A gamble that I never thought I'd be making. It makes me think about how much I took the ability to go to the doctor for granted. I was lucky to have the luxury, that it was a matter of a few dollars' copay, the inconvenience, or feeling like "'it's no big deal" that kept me from the doctor. Not "if they want to give me medication, I don't know if I can afford it."

I just can't understand why this is okay.

1 comment:

a frog named purl said...

for reals. really reals. i was two business days from being uninsured when i ended up the hospital in emergency surgery. that and all the costs to follow.. yanno what, i don't even want to think about it. the other part of it is, except for that one dramatic traumatic experience, i have only ever gotten sick when i didn't have insurance. even whe i was working and had the insurance it was hard to decide when to and when not to go see a doctor. so hard to get time off from work. i am glad you went and got it all taken care of. and that it was something easily treated. i alwasy felt there was somehting terribly wrong with the health insurance system in the US but really had no idea until i saw "Sicko". it's really just unfuckingbeleivable.