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It costs an awful lot of money to ALMOST die!

The picture below is not for the faint of heart. If you are prone to heart palpitations, seizures or fainting spells, and have not taken your medication today, I warn you not to go any further. If you are easily frightened at the movie theater, you may not want to read any more. Go ahead, avert your eyes. I warn you, this isn’t pretty.

This is my hospital bill from my recent experience with almost dying. It leaves me wondering how many people they actually knock off when they see this kind of bill coming at them. It certainly must not do much for repeat hospital business, but the undertakers must love it!

So, nearly $100,000 later, I’m still here, thank God, but now is the perfect time to rant on health insurance. Because if this had happened just a few days later, I might not have had health insurance, and I’d be looking at selling these kidneys that failed me on the black market to pay for medical treatment.

Not that long ago, I probably would not have even looked at this bill. When Jim was with Microsoft, we had what I will call The World’s Best Health Insurance Coverage EVER. In 14 years, we’ve had no copays, no deductibles, no costs for prescriptions, reimbursement for eye glasses, no referrals – nada. It’s been healthcare bliss.

When Jim went out on disability, we had our COBRA premiums covered for a while. But now those premiums are all ours. And they’re scary.

That World’s Best Health Insurance Coverage EVER now costs us just shy of $2000 a month.

Oh my, I should have put a warning there, too, huh? Are you up off of the floor yet? Dusted yourself off, rubbed the “are you freaking kidding me” out of your eyes?

That’s right – monthly health insurance for my family is almost $2000 a month. And it’s great, awesome, amazing coverage.

But because we can’t afford to continue to pay $2000 a month, plus afford those luxuries we’ve become accustom to like eating, clothing, and a place to live, we’re going to be dropping the World’s Best Health Insurance Coverage EVER and replacing it with something way less adequate.

For that reason, we’ve been looking at how much health care has been costing us. For the girls, knock on wood, it’s minimal. Other than well visits, the girls have rarely been to see the pediatrician. For Jim, most of the bills are eye related, and we’ve been very fortunate that the VA Hospital will become his primary medical care at no cost to us. But for me, the past year has been my unhealthiest. I’ve been in the hospital four times – and of those four times, once was a week for a really serious infection, and another was my recent stay in ICU with that nearly dying thing. And for that, we’ve been really lucky to have the World’s Best Health Insurance Coverage EVER.

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But now we won’t. And while our monthly health insurance bill is still looking like it might be in the range of almost $800, the coverage is going to be dramatically less. I’d be looking at this $100,000 bill, and know that about 20% of it would be our responsibility. And then there would have been a copayment for the emergency room. And then there would have been a maximum put on the radiology services, so I’d owe some more there. And then I’d have to pay my deductible for the year.

And then I’d be so grateful to have these kidneys returned to good health, so I could sell them on the black market and pay the hospital bills to get them healthy.

I won’t tell you there’s something wrong with the healthcare system in the United States. You already know that. But in case you see me selling pencils on the street corners, you’ll know I’m not trying to pay for another trip to Walt Disney World. I probably just need an aspirin.