It's been a rough year for us with urgent care and emergency room visits, doctor's appointments, tests, and procedures. Last year our co-pays were lower and a few years ago, we rarely saw a bill with our insurance. We paid our premiums and co-pays and the insurance paid the rest.
Unfortunately that isn't the case. Ken had a kidney stone this year. The emergency room visit cost us nearly $7K. The procedure they did to blast it was about $23K. We paid our co-pays but we're still going to be left with $715 to pay.
One of the benefits for my job - a flex plan. I set aside money every year for medical expenses. This year we were going to do eyes and teeth. That was the plan. It won't be happening. My flex plan funds have been eaten up with co-pays, prescriptions, and tests. I don't have enough left to pay the hospital bill for Ken's procedure. I'll be budgeting that in - somehow.
We aren't done either. I'm supposed to have an allergy test and sinus surgery this year. I'm waiting on approvals from the insurance to be able to do these things in the hopes I won't spend six months on antibiotic.
I guess paying off bills and loans is going to be slower than I hoped. I look at my budget and wonder how I'm going to fit in yet another bill and the continuing costs. I start to wonder if I should put off some of the procedures, cut back on prescriptions, and so on. All in an effort to save funds. But aren't I supposed to put my health first?
Next year the state is going to self-insure. If I'm paying this much now, how much more will I be paying? I already have a lot of money taken out of my check for benefits and insurance. How will we manage if I need to set aside more? These are some of the questions weighing on my mind. It makes me wonder if I should cope with my health issues and not have tests done. The allergy test is $1000 if the insurance doesn't cover it. I won't be having it done if the insurance denies it. The question becomes how much will the insurance cover? Same with the surgery. They'll be knocking me out which means a full day in the hospital if there are no complications. How much of it will the insurance pay? How much will go on our ever growing bill? Makes me wonder if it would be better to wait. Antibiotics are less expensive but the stress on my body is unbearable.
We're lucky in that we have good insurance. I cannot imagine how bad it is for those who don't have - or won't have - good insurance if ACA (Obamacare) goes away. I'm also very concerned with what happens next year with my own insurance. With self-insurance, I'm betting we will end up paying more - probably a lot more. This is one of the reasons I am going ahead with the tests and surgery this year. It is an added stress for me, especially since working for the state means raises are rare and small if you do get one. I'll hope we don't go too far into debt in order to get these things done.
The one good thing - I believe I've finally made the last payment for last year's medical bills. Now I have to figure out how I'm paying this years. Anyone want to buy a book?
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