Here’s a tip for everyone: get health insurance.
I mean it.
I should have had insurance at the end of 2004. Between an agent who was impossible to get hold of and a company who couldn’t seem to get my records from my doctor’s office in a timely manner (they claimed they never got them, the doctor’s office says their records show they were in fact sent), the policy that I had signed up for was vacated. Naturally, while we were trying to figure out what was going on and trying to find alternate coverage, so as not to deal with the Agent From Hell (AFH), I was diagnosed with cancer.
Ha, ha, say the corporate overlords who run the insurance companies. No insurance for you! Pre-existing condition! Neener, neener.
No one actually said that, of course, because as soon as the biopsies came back, I knew I was going to foot the bills and I didn’t have the patience to listen to anything like that.
I’ve not yet received a bill from the hospital, but apparently while I was completely out of it the first day, a very nice lady from the financial office stopped in and had a chat with my mom. She also brought along the printout from the first day’s festivities: about $15,000. That would be for the surgical stuff, staff, room, whatever drugs they pumped into me, and so on. I’m sure the following days weren’t billed at that particular rate, but we’re still waiting for their accounting to catch up.
My ENT’s office called me, and then sent a nice letter with his total: just shy of $8,000.
And some of the others:
PET scan: $4,000.
CAT scan: $2,000.
Radiation oncologist: $5,000.
Medical oncologist: $5,193.
Pathologists: $300 .
There’s more, but you get the idea. I have to say, though, that everyone we’ve dealt with has just been great. The first medical oncologist the radiation folks tried to get me into wouldn’t even take self-pay patients. The second one did, and as an added bonus, the doctor agreed to shave 50% off the total bill, which is why that’s such an exact number up there. They also wanted half up front, either by credit card or cashier’s check, because as the nice woman in his office said (and not in an offensive way, of course), they’d been burned by people not paying or bouncing checks or what have you. I told her I understood perfectly, since I run a business too, and I would happily give them what they asked for in return for their generosity. This is not to say that it’s possible for me to do this for all of these fine people, but hey, I’m alive, and they’re all very understanding that it’s going to take some time to get them what they have due.
If you have the opportunity, do yourself a favor and get health insurance coverage, even if it’s catastrophic insurance at a minimum. If you never need it, more power to you. That’s the best possible scenario you could get. If you do need it, you’ll be happy you had it.