Monday, October 06, 2008

Lessons on Health Insurance

Today I received my bill from the hospital stay last semester. I stayed for 2 nights and 3 days while they pumped me full of antibiotics and waited for my fever to go down. There were no major surgeries, no chemotherapy and no limbs were removed, and the pre-insurance bill still came out to a heart-stopping:

$8,639.12.

[I wonder what the 12 cents were for. Why even include the cents in huge purchases like that? I propose that we get rid of pennies in any transaction that involves more than $1,000.00. Just round up, people.]

After insurance, the total that I have to pay comes down to a much less terrifying $760.44.

The lesson here is that health insurance, although expensive and occasionally evil, is essential. Even if you're a non-smoking non-drinking non-drugging student triathlete, you need health insurance. The good news is that because you're a non-smoking non-drinking non-drugging triathlete, your insurance is probably going to be cheaper than mine.

When I turned 23 in December of last year, my parents' insurance dropped me and didn't inform me that I had no health insurance. In fact, I lived for the next two months thinking I had insurance before an unfilled prescription forced me to call the company. After spending two hours on the phone while I stood on my head and pressed zero over and over, an Indian guy across the world finally informed me (through a substantial communication barrier) that I had no health insurance. Thankfully, I bought the student coverage the next day, because a few weeks later I was lying in the hospital bed at DCH wondering what the heck was wrong with my body and if my Evidence professor would cut off my ear for missing his exam.

The bonus lesson, then, is that you should check up on your insurance at your birthday to make sure you're still covered.

There. Now, if you don't have insurance and have an accident after reading this, I will not bring you Arby's while you're in the hospital, and I will not feel guilty about it.

4 comments:

nicolle said...

so true.

i've gotten lucky not to get too sick when i've been uninsured, but i maintain that one of the most exciting things about starting my job this fall has been the sweet health insurance package. it's such a weight off my shoulders.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it can be ugly without insurance, I had a friend in grad school who didn't get student insurance while he was getting his MBA and shattered his leg during a bad skiing accident (to his credit, he's usually an amazing skier). He needed two surgeries to fix his leg and ended up owing over $25,000. His parents couldn't afford to help him pay for the bill, so he had to take out another loan to cover his hospital bill and will be paying it off for a while. It's just not a risk worth taking to not get insurance, unless you really can afford it.

Adrenalynn said...

I'm so glad I live in Norway, where we have "free" health care! Of course, we pay for it in taxes- and the system is far from perfect. But it gives some sense of security.

Congratulations on the book, by the way! The cover looks great!

Sharon said...

Thanks! I'm so excited about it, I can't even explain it. Pre-order it :)