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$4500

December 2, 2019

Due to some bureaucratic confusion, I currently find myself woefully under insured. 

 

PLEASE NOTE- EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE FINE! My new insurance is going to be back dated and everything will be retroactively covered. It’s just that in the meantime, I am having the pleasure of getting my medical bills sent directly to me. And by “pleasure” I mean complete and utter bewilderment. 

 

This isn’t a post about politics. I personally believe in some sort of single payer system like the rest of the world offers their citizens, but I understand people’s fear about altering something that is literally life or death. 

 

The bill I got this weekend really floored me. $4,500. For a blood biopsy. 

 

If I’m being honest, I didn’t even know blood biopsies were a thing. But my oncologist said it would measure the amount of HER-2 in my system, which would allow them to see how well the medicine was working.

 

At the time my bureaucratic confusion had yet to begin, and my insurance was covering everything. I said yes to the biopsy because I had the freedom of not worrying about the financial costs of these medical procedures. I was simply able to follow my doctor’s advice. What a notion. 

 

And this blood biopsy seemed like a reasonable thing for my doctor to suggest. It’s not like he was telling me to get a skin graft or a lobotomy. Even though Jaimie might tell you I could use the latter. 

 

Also, as a rule, I tend to do what my doctor tells me to do. He’s the doctor. Not that I’m a passive patient. I ask questions and have strong opinions about my healthcare. But when push comes to shove, I give a lot of weight to what he says. I know I have a Master’s Degree, but it’s in Acting. It doesn’t really translate into medical expertise. It’s not like he can suggest a course of action and I can go, “Hmm…what would Timon of Athens do?” 

 

And like I assume he would yield to me if he had questions about the function of the Greek chorus, so I yield to him when he suggests medical procedures. 

 

So I said yes to the blood biopsy. 

 

Then this weekend, I got the bill. 

 

$4500. 

 

What if I didn’t have insurance? What if my insurance didn’t cover it? Doesn’t cover it. And I happen to be good at navigating the insurance and medical bills. What if you aren’t? What if I was too sick to do it. That would mean Jaimie or my parents in the midst of dealing with their grief would also then have to sort out all these bills and payments. And how do they come up with these numbers? How did they determine that a blood biopsy costs the same as a 2004 Toyota Matrix?

 

Part of me is glad I got the bill. While our medical industry can perform miracles on a daily basis, it can also leave people broke in its wake. Can they really claim something “Does No Harm” if their patients end up in finial crises? 

 

That’s something I wished that had covered in acting class. 

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