Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Cost of not having Health Insurance

Yesterday afternoon I developed a headache. Not your average "Oh, my head freaking hurts" headache. It felt like my brain was entirely too big for my skull and was trying to bust free.

I have had migraines before in my life. The last two years I was on Active Duty, I experienced migraine headaches almost on a weekly basis. But, for the last two years (since I got out of the Military) I have not experienced a migraine.

I thought I was through was those pesky things.

Until today.

When I woke up this morning to bring the girls to school, my head was still throbbing. By noon, it felt like someone was stabbing my head with a knife. Unable to take the pain any longer, I asked my boyfriend to take me to the Minor Care Clinic in town.

Cost: $127.20

The cost break-down is as follows:

$93 for walking into the door

$29 for administering injection

$15 for Phenergan injection

$22 for Nubain injection

Total: $$159

I received a 20% discount, which brought the total down to $127.20. I am really not sure why I got a discount. Perhaps it was because I was paying in cash? In anycase, I am thankful for the $30 savings.

Before I went to the clinic, I called and asked how much an estimated charge would be for going in for a migraine. They told me over the phone that there was the $93 charge and up to the first $100 would be due the same day as treatment and anything over that amount would be billed.

Once the doctor realized I was paying out of pocket, he did some magic tricks on the paperwork, turning my 15mg of Nubain that I actually did receive into 5mg of Nubain so I wouldn't have to pay for the entire amount. Pretty nice doctor. At first he was really concerned about my costs being too high. I told him as long as it was something I truly needed to stop the pain, I would pay. I just didn't want to pay for things that were unnecessary and that wouldn't stop the pain.

I have looked into health insurance before. Unfortunately, insurance is much more than I could afford at the times when I was looking. Approximately $300 a month and then the insurance not stepping in to pay anything until after the first $5,000 a year was just not something I could afford. That would mean that I would have to pay $8,600 in a year before insurance stepped in.

Of course, something catastrophic could happen. In case of an auto accident, I do have a medical rider on my car insurance, since that is the most likely event to occur given my age and health condition. Really, outside of the migraine history and knee issues (incurred during service) I have excellent health.

I paid for the visit out of my "buffer" fund. I will have to replace those funds in the May budget. I already have a "dental" fund; in May I will also develope a "medical" fund. My goal is to have $1000 funded in the medical fund by the October 2009 budget.

This will take away from my debt snowball, but it is important that I have some type of "buffer" fund put in place in case of medical events.

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