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Hospital Bills
photogeek
crschmidt
Over the past week or so, I've been getting bills for my hospital visits last week. There were a whole bunch of seperate bills, for the different times I was there, but most of them came last week.

This week, another one came. Different color, but non-inclusive with the other ones. I called the number, and found it was for the physician's time, and that the hospital/ER time is billed seperately. She asked me if I had health insurance (no) if I wanted to apply for Free Care (I don't qualify) and when she found the answers, offered to pass me off to someone who might be able to get me a discount.

Cool. She did. I got a discount. I gave my credit card number to pay, transferred over to the hospital department to pay that bill. Needed to get a call back from the manager. While I'm waiting, Sarita, from Mt. Auburn calls me back and tells me that some woman just called up and tried to pay my bill. Confused, I ask Jess. Not Jess. Call Jess's mom. Not Jess's mom. At this point I'm really confused, because I only got the bill about 20 minutes before -- how the hell could someone else have had the account number from the bill I just got? Call the hospital back to tell them to just forget about random benefactor, and pay my bill.

Me: "I have no idea who it was, so we can just ignore that."
Her: "Okay, I won't run the card then."
Me: "Sounds good. So we're all set now, right?"
Her: "Yep. Did you want to pay today, while I've got you?"
Me: "Uh. I just called and gave you a card number, right?"
Her: "When?"
Me: "About 10 minutes ago..."
Her: "Oh God, so that was you. I'm so sorry."

Turns out that the woman who called up wanting to pay my bill was... you guessed it, me!

Ah well. Everything's paid off now. (Well, put on credit, anyway.) So I don't have to worry about it. And hey, I can write the medical expenses on itemized deductions next year!

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Turns out that the woman who called up wanting to pay my bill was... you guessed it, me!

I laughed so hard at that my chest hurts now.

You don't have health insurance!? Isn't that a really bad idea?

If I had held health insurance since I became a contractor, it would have cost about $200/month, for the past 7 months.

I just paid a $700 hospital bill, the only medical bill of any kind I've had in the time I've had no health insurance.

Health insurance is designed to cover catastrophes, and standard medical care if you have a need for it. Up until this point, I've had no catastrophes -- this is my first visit to a doctor since I had my hernia checked out 3 years ago while I was still at school -- and I have relatively few 'regular' medical needs since I'm a very healthy 22 year old kid, basically.

However, I should have health insurance, and have been looking into it for a while, for both myself and Jess and the girls. (They're currently covered by MassHealth, but there are some things that MassHealth doesn't cover -- like Dental and some of Jess's meds, that normal medical insurance would.) The best way to get the insurance is to talk to a small business association and get it through them, which takes time and money, neither of which I've had in abundance over the past 6 months, so it just kept getting put off for paying the rent instead.

Now it's looking like I may be gainfully employed (and therefore, offered benefits through an employer) in the near future, so I will probably just put it off for another couple weeks (during which I don't have the money anyway) and see what happens with my job situation, before deciding to go the (much more expensive) route of getting insurance seperate from an employer.

Note that the $200/month is a low estimate: it could very well have cost significantly more than that, but that's "Just for me" ballpark figure. For anyone playing along at home.

It's about $450/month for standard health insurance (I looked into this before I took my job). However, you can get "catastrophe only" health insurance for something like $80/month (the websites I found say $20, but I could swear it was more). This has a really high deductible (something like $500+), so it basically wouldn't help at all for things like this emergency room visit. However, if you were ever to need serious medical care - like if you or Jess got into a car accident or one of the kids got a serious infection requiring hospitalization - it would leave you covered. It's a really smart plan for contractors and entrepeneurs...affordable, yet you don't get totally screwed if you get sick.

Yeah, the quote I got, after paying Mass Businessessman's Association (or something like that) an $85/annual fee, was $800 for the 4 of us, which isn't bad at all. I just never ended up getting it, because the money wasn't there when I needed it to be.

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