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What's In YOUR Medical Savings Account? Probably Not Enough

By Gloria Diaz

Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!

Fort Wayne Reader

2013-07-18


Health care is still a hot topic in the United States because of ObamaCare, or the Affordable Care Act. Some people call it Satan's Plan to Ruin America. It warms my heart, really it does, to see old people, who rely on Medicare, scream about “socialized medicine.” Exactly where the hell would you be if Medicare didn't pick up some of your healthcare expenses? If old people, extremely poor people and little kids can get government healthcare, why can't everyone else?

Because there's way too much money to be made on people like me, not old enough to get Medicare, not poor enough to get Medicaid (yes, the hospital called to check) and not young enough to qualify for SCHIP, or whatever it's called. The insurance industry really struck a mother lode with the ACA. It forces people who don't have insurance for whatever reason, to buy it. I read today that the deadline for employers with 50 or more employees to provide coverage for its workers is going to be pushed back a year, in order to straighten out reporting requirements.

The real problem in this country, in my opinion, is the health insurance companies. What would you call an industry where you pay significant chunks of money each month for coverage you hope you never need, but when you do need it, the coverage isn't there? Robbery? The ultimate rip-off? A brilliant money-making scheme?

I call it the most evil horseshit imaginable. I have reason to be a little teed off about it. Let me tell you my story.

I dropped down to part time at one of my jobs, in order to save my sanity and to work more at the job I really enjoy. I figured relieving stress in my life would be healthier. So, when I went to part-time, I was still able to have insurance coverage. This company, which shall remain nameless, had previously dropped insurance coverage for part timers, but because of ObamaCare/ACA, decided to bring it back. So I signed up for it. It was a “reduced” medical plan, and I heard fellow part-timers say how crappy the coverage was, but I figured some coverage was better than nothing.

I'd been having digestive issues for a couple of years, but two bloody bowel movements in February confirmed something was wrong. I was prepared to ignore them (because I'm a typical American) but I told a co-worker about them and she was furious I'd not gone to the ER to have someone check it out. With fear in my heart, I made some calls and had a colonoscopy. I was barely awake before the doctor said I had an appointment with a surgeon four days later. I just barely remember him telling me he took a polyp out with the colonoscopy, but there was another one he couldn't reach. That's why I was seeing a surgeon. Turns out I needed a right hemicolectomy. I was terrified about how much it would cost, given my current financial situation, but I was told if I ignored it, I would have colon cancer in another five years or so. What would YOU do?

I dreaded the surgery. The doctor's office called my insurance company, which okayed the surgery, much to my surprise. I had it done, I recovered nicely. Then the bills started coming in, and I started feeling sick again.

Long story short, I owe $60,000. Yes, that's right. Between my colonoscopy and my surgery almost two months later, I owe the price of a house in my 'hood, or a luxury car. And yes, that's AFTER the insurance paid their portion.

So please, if you are secure in the knowledge that your insurance will cover anything that comes your way, go ahead and save for those “necesscities”: fancy car, lake home, college education for your kids, plastic surgery. But if not, I would suggest taking on a second and third job and save every single penny you possibly can for medical expenses. I didn't see this surgery coming, and I profoundly regret not socking away every single cent I ever earned so I could cover this bill. I regret every trinket, trip, meal or frivolous item I ever spent money on, because I swear, had I known I'd have to have this kind of surgery, I would have saved for it.

Yeah, right. Take a look at your emergency fund. I'd advise having at least $50K in there, just to be on the safe side.

Here's the thing: the majority of humans will have to have some sort of medical care at least once in their lives. Even if you never get sick or break a bone, you may need to have a test performed, or you may give birth. There are some people who have the heartless prick attitude, such as a former co-worker who, when I asked what happens to people who are uninsured and have cancer said, “we all have to die sometime.” He's retired now, and probably getting Medicare. Judging by his nose, I assume a large part of his healthcare expenses will be devoted to his liver. I didn't ask to be brought into this world, but I plan to stick around as long as I can. This means making changes to my diet and exercise plan. But I look around and wonder what the future will hold. There's probably a huge number of Americans who don't take care of themselves for whatever reason, and that's sad. The system is just as sick as Americans are fat, and I don't see a solution. Anybody out there have $60,000? I have some bills to pay—and my three jobs don't pay anywhere near what I need.

So please think about my story. If you think it can't happen to you, think again. And start saving your hard-earned money. You're gonna need it.

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