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It’s Always About Money

Anyone with a chronic illness is very aware about money. I don’t mean in a whether you have it or not sort of way. I mean in a chronic illness is a serious everyday condition that not only requires time, but it’s own financial commitment.

Our healthcare experience is different

We’re not your average go-lucky American who goes for a yearly physical once a year (which, by the way, are now mostly covered by insurance) and that’s it. We see our primary care physician once a month plus numerous other specialists. Those doctors prescribe medication we take every day, they order tests, blood work, infusions, x-rays and other procedures that we have to endure so these diseases don’t wreck even more havoc on our bodies.

With chronic illness, we are hyper-aware of cost

If we have insurance, we are hyper-aware of our yearly deductible, each doctor’s visit co-pay, out of pocket costs for prescriptions and procedures. And, unfortunately, the way insurance is set up in this country, we are still responsible for a portion after coverage.

Trying to plan medical expenses

At the very least, we can kind of plan for these medical expenses, but planning doesn’t diminish the extra money we’re spending on this tough condition. These routine costs are a good percentage of our incomes and, because of that, we are very aware of any extra financial burden.

Cost for non-routine medical visits

Unfortunately, what I’ve stated above doesn’t even cover the “not so routine” things. We see different specialists for un-related problems or even the same doctors for new symptoms. We don’t really have a choice unless we want to play Russian Roulette with our health. This means there are extra co-pays, more tests, more blood work and probably, more medication.

A series of unexpected health issues

I met a few of these extras myself recently and was forced to decide if I wanted to spend the extra money. PS. I didn’t.

First, my sinusitis flared and I had to see the specialist at least three times, not including the procedure appointment. A tendon in my left wrist became inflamed and I had to see my orthopedic surgeon.

My ENT pushed an antibiotic rinse on me after I had a reaction to the antibiotic. It was a compounded powder. My insurance didn’t cover those types of medications. I had to pay an out of pocket cost equal to three doctor co-pays.

Do I even have a choice?

I told my doctor I couldn’t pay that much for the medication. He said I really didn’t have a choice.

My insurance company recently excluded one of my medications and I had to pay out of pocket.

I told my rheumatologist I couldn’t pay out of pocket. He said I really didn’t have a choice.

It’s always about money and I wish my doctors understood that.

These healthcare cost can impact finances

The monthly cost seems very insignificant but it adds up. What if I put that extra chunk of change every month for a routine medication? That’s money I can’t then spend on a medical emergency. Those “measly” dollars add up quickly to hundreds of dollars that I won’t have if I’m suddenly hospitalized or some other incident occurs.

But, our healthcare is what’s keeping us alive

It’s always about money and not whether we have it or not. We are counting coins to make sure we can afford our healthcare because, at the end of the day, that’s what’s keeping us alive and we have to be careful where we put it.

Do you feel the same way I do? LMK in the comments.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The RheumatoidArthritis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Lawrence 'rick' Phillips moderator
    1 month ago

    My health insurer told me recently that so far this year I have run up a tab of almost $400,000 this year. Of course they paid a fraction of that cost given the discounts and the other places they off load the cost of my care.

    I find that obscene. I asked Sheryl if I was worth that much to keep going. that depends she said. Depends, I asked? Yes, it depends on what her alternatives might be. Well, nothing new there. Its been the same answer for 42 years. 🙂

  • Daniel Malito moderator
    1 month ago

    @mysengupta I know this all to well. At least in NY, doctors HAVE to give you a payment plan, so that helps. Also, I make deals with all the hospitals so that I just pay them like 20 bucks a month. Of course I will be paying until I am 172 years old, but at least I don’t go broke trying to get it all paid at once. It’s a real issue, though, and what’s our choice? Just be sick? That’s no kind of choice. Good info, keep on keepin’ on, DPM

  • Monica Y. Sengupta moderator author
    1 month ago

    Daniel!! That’s something I should have put in the article. Most (if not) all doctors offer some sort of payment plan. In DC they don’t necessarily advertise it but if I ask they are happy to accomodate me.

    It’s so frustrating because I did a little math and saw just how much I spend on my stupid health and just on routine co-pays and things! 🙁

    Thanks for commenting!

  • Lawrence 'rick' Phillips moderator
    1 month ago

    As afar as I knwo the only choice I do not have i when it comes to insulin. after insulin, I reserve all choices.

    Of course with the prices of insulin, that is not much choice at all.

  • Monica Y. Sengupta moderator author
    1 month ago

    Insulin is so expensive but it’s been around for so long. I don’t understand how they price things in this country.

    Rick, you bring up a good point. Ultimately, I do have a choice but I guess I the responsible decision is to go with what will keep me healthy?

    Thanks for commenting. I hope you are well!!

  • Lawrence 'rick' Phillips moderator
    1 month ago

    Insulin is a tough medication to figure out. But one thing to remember is that insulin is very different today than in 1923 when it was discovered. Many folks forget that what we have today is connected in name only to the product that was first manufactured as a life saving medication.

    Still it is much too expensive for many and just completely out of reach for a few. When it is literally needed to live, there must be a better way.

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