So here it is.

The following has been hard to deal with, much less talk about…

This is what has been going on:

First the good news ~ We managed to afford get into a medical plan that did not have a $10,000 dollar deductible (this would have been for each of us, BTW!).  Our deductible for this plan is $2,400. each. Payments to the primary care are up by $10 per visit.  Payments to specialists are supposed to be $55 but we are being charged $65 because the specialists want a physical piece of paper as a referral from our primary care physician.  Our primary care physician was under the idea that her request via computer system to the specialist WAS a written referral.  After all, the specialist agreed to see me when she asked them to, didn’t they?  She doesn’t even HAVE a paper referral, never needed one before!  It is a mess.  Now $10 a visit doesn’t seem like much until you add up all the visits we have been going to lately!  😦  Oh yes, and once we have met our deductible we have $300.00 copay each for the ER, the hospital, and any procedures we have done.

Bob got sick and collapsed at the end of June.  We managed to get him inside and checked his blood sugar and his blood pressure.  Blood sugar was OK, but blood pressure was 60 over 30!  We called the paramedics because Bob kept blacking out.  When they arrived they recommended that he go to the hospital.  That is a 20 mile ride.  It cost $700.00.  The insurance wouldn’t pay any of it!

While he was at the hospital they checked him from his big toe to the last hair on his head and all points in-between.  Anyone who entered the room and said “HAY!”  has sent us a bill for their services.  Once they stabilized his blood pressure they wanted to send him home, only every time he got up his BP fell through the floor again.  They admitted him.  He spent the night and all of the next day and evening in the hospital.  Anyone who entered the room and said “HAY!”  has sent us a bill for their services.

Eventually, they sent him home with instructions to not go to work for two days and to see his primary care physician.  She referred him out for blood work and other testing, and to a heart specialist to make sure his heart isn’t the problem.   The heart specialist took more blood, x-rays, an ultrasound and a stress test.  When the Doctor got done with him he said his heart is very strong, and that Bob has a very minor heart murmur.  He never knew that!

The primary also sent him to the Dermatologist to get a mole on his neck checked out.   The verdict?  Basal Cell Carcinoma.  You can read about it HERE.  It is one of the most common skin cancers and apparently likes to grow under the surface with roots leading out into the surrounding tissue.  In order to get all the cancer, and to take out the least good tissue, the Dermatologist has him scheduled to go to his Decatur office to have it removed.  The process will be performed using a technique called Mohs Surgery  You can read about that HERE.   

The bills for all of this are still rolling in.  I believe that Bob has now met, or is close to meeting his $2,400.00 copay.

We still don’t know what caused his blood pressure to bottom out.

At this point, as we have met our deductibles for the year, I am now going to schedule my vein surgery on my legs.  I was putting it off because it was so expensive but there really is no reason for me to wait.   Besides, if I wait till next year I will have to start over on that nasty deductible!

 

Favorite Bobism from his hospital stay…

After being served a dinner of spaghetti, mashed potatoes, over-cooked cauliflower, and a nasty banana pudding, he quipped:

“I think they’re trying to starch me from the inside out.”

Seriously?  Spaghetti and mashed potatoes?  😛

~*~*~*~

Oh yes, and my colony of bees has collapsed.

Zip

Zilch

Nada one left.

I went out to check on them and they were all laying in a pile in front of the hive.  It was in the late spring.  So my guess is that they got dosed by a crop sprayer.  I will try again next year.

 

Advertisements

69 thoughts on “So here it is.

  1. cecilia says:

    God help me, what a performance, the american medical system is a disaster, how did it get this crazy? AND to lose your bees on top of all that.. misery.. all that and they still don’t know where the bleed is.. At least if they don’t fix your car you don’t pay a bill right?

    c

  2. dou dou says:

    😦 Hang in there, it will get better! I wish they would have figured out a cause for the low blood pressure though. If they can’t figure it out, I don’t think you should be charged!

      • dou dou says:

        Don’t I know it. Recently had a similar situation with a doctor, all she kept saying was “I don’t know” and “I need $3000 for tests.” Seems like they are afraid to say anything now unless they have ten tests to back them up. I miss the old days…

        But life goes in cycles, up and down like a roller coaster sometimes but it always goes back up. We are all due for a big upswing it seems 🙂

        • Lynda says:

          Yeah-howdy! Let’s hear it for the upswing! (I believe there was some serious language about physician responsibility in that big tome called the “Affordable Care Act.”)

  3. Jackie says:

    Oh, Lynda, your plate has really been full with serious things (along with spaghetti/mashed potatoes!). Thank you for sharing. Many of us will be praying for you and Bob during the next weeks of surgeries, recoveries, and those darn draining bills. I’m really sorry to hear about your bees as well. It’s sad that they were zapped by chemicals that NONE of us should be exposed to. Please keep us updated about everything when you can. Big hug!

    • Lynda says:

      Jackie, it has been stressful, but we will do alright in the end. My bees on the other hand didn’t stand a chance against the crop dusters! 😐
      Thank you for the hug, and yes, I will write more as it happens.

  4. Littlesundog says:

    Gee Lynda, I felt kind of weird hitting the “Like” button. That blood pressure drop really concerns me. How odd that they can’t seem to find the problem. And I guess you’re right about forging forth with your vein surgery. How will you two manage any mountain cabin work this year?

    Oooh, I wish I lived closer! Between you and Bob and the dogs, I think you need some extra help!

    • Lynda says:

      I understand, Lori. As for work on the cabin, well we still have many layers of paneling and wallpaper that need removing… and in the summer heat we have many acres of grass that need mowing.
      HA! Bob was reading over my shoulder and said: Yes! We could use your and FD’s help. But even if you helped we haven’t the money for supplies at the moment. (Psst… Bob is going on an interview for a better job today, and we are hopeful) 😀

  5. Vicki says:

    Sorry to hear about the health insurance debacle, let alone poor Bob’s health issues. Hope he is stable and feeling much better.

    Yes, ‘copays’ as you call them happen in Australia too. We call them Gap payments and certain Specialists/Surgeons charge them on top of what Private Health Insurance covers.

    FYI I got charged something like $260 from a ‘consult’ by the Anaethetist for a surgery (on top of the surgery fee). As I was being wheeled into the operating theatre, the Anaethetist came up to the trolley and said “Hello, my name is Mxxxxx, I will be your anaesthetist for today” – and that is the only ‘consult’ which could have been the $260. LOL.

    I do so hope all works out well for your future health (you & Bob).

    • Lynda says:

      We’ll be OK, Vicki. We just won’t be getting much done on the mountain this year. Demo and grounds maintenance will just have to be the order of the day for many days to come… 😉 Bob is doing much better, thank you!
      Can’t believe the cheek of your anesthesiologist!

  6. pattisj says:

    Sorry to hear about your bees and all the health issues (and bills)! Our deductible was raised from $2500 to $3000 per person this year. Every year they make changes to the plan, and more comes out of our pocket. I priced a couple prescriptions through the online pharmacy our insurer uses. Not the savings one is led to believe, but there was enough to make it worthwhile.

    • Lynda says:

      Patti, we have added up the higher costs all round and found that our government subsidy, is far outweighed by the applied monthly taxes are greater deductibles and co-payments. We are not saving under the new regime. It is costing far more!

    • Lynda says:

      No charge for an ambulance ride?!?! In California we paid a small fee each month on our utility bill to cover the cost of ambulance services. I would gladly pay the monthly fee here if they would set it up. As for the bills, these too shall pass.
      Thank you, Simone.

  7. katechiconi says:

    I feel for you. I was diagnosed with cancer 2 months after losing my job. I was single and had no other income. Somehow I kept the health insurance payments going, but would have starved without help from friends. Good luck with your health, both of you…

  8. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    Wow Lynda, sorry to hear about all your health troubles):
    About your bees though? You might want to report the death to your local extension office. Up here, the Province has been keeping track of hives that have been poisoned for the last couple of years… Do you happen to know if there was corn/soy planting going on near where your hive died?

    • Lynda says:

      Thank you. You know, I used to say It can’t get any worse but have lately found that not to be true. However, it will get better. Eventually. 😉

        • Lynda says:

          Do you remember who first said that? I remember a comedian saying it, but don’t recall who. I just tried to Google it and got nothing. 😛
          Still funny after all these years, thanks, Linda!

  9. jmgoyder says:

    Oh Lynda, I am so sorry to hear this and feel bad for being a bit unbloggy atm and therefore neglectful. I know this won’t help but please know I am thinking of you both. Jxxx

    • Lynda says:

      Julie, it does help, thank you, and I totally understand about being unbloggy.

      I have also been floating about in a life raft at the moment. We are stronger than we imagine, you and I. We just keep paddling to keep afloat and send out messages in bottles from time to time. What else can we do?

      Blessings to you, Julie!

  10. tootlepedal says:

    I am glad in a horrified sort of way that you can get your leg fixed. I hope it helps. I am amazed at your fortitude.

    Looking at your troubles it makes me angry to think that the idiots running our country seem to think that the American health service is the model to copy.

  11. shoreacres says:

    Oh, Lordy. First of all.. that blood pressure bothers me a lot. Is it holding around normal now? Is he staying hydrated? Dehydration can cause low blood pressure. I have to really watch myself, because just drinking a couple of glasses of water when I come in isn’t good enough. If you drink a lot at once, most of it passes through and doesn’t hydrate at a cellular level.

    I measure out 64 ounces in a pitcher and put it in the refrigerator at night. In the morning, I start drinking, and by the time I go to bed, that baby has to be empty. It makes a huge difference.

    I laughed at the mashed potatoes and spaghetti. When I was a kid, our church suppers often featured chicken and noodles on mashed potatoes. It was a common dish — actually, rather a special one, because the noodles always were homemade.

    As for the bills, you have my sympathy. I had a horrible experience in January-June, because of my annual physical. I’ll spare you, but will say that Medicare patients are getting it stuck to them, because they’ve cut Medicare benefits to pay for Obamacare. I’m no longer allowed to see my physician for an annual, and none of the lab tests were covered. You know, exotic things like cholesterol, blood sugar, red and white blood count, etc. The bill for lab work was a thousand dollars, and my BlueCross/BlueShield wouldn’t pay a penny, because Medicare supplement doesn’t pay if Medicare doesn’t pay. Sigh.

    For many reasons, I started looking for a new doctor. It took twelve trys before I found one would would take me on. No one wants old people, i.e. people on Medicare, because of the low reimbursement rates. I’d love to find a concierge doc, but can’t afford that.

    I wish I could do something to help you out. Maybe I’ll buy a lottery ticket this week, and if I win, we’ll split it!

    • Lynda says:

      Wouldn’t that be nice! (the lottery win)

      Bob and I have surmised that dehydration may have been the cause, though none of the medical experts will say. They’ve simply scratched their heads… That said, Bob is drinking lots more water and has arranged with his boss to work out of an inside office. His old hole in the wall was out in the shop and not air conditioned. With the summer heat and humidity it gets like an oven out there. He is now doing his machine work in the mornings and does his computer/paperwork in the afternoons.

      Previous to this incident the doctor had him on BP meds because his BP was too high. For the time being it seems to be right where it should be without the meds! This is a blessing.

      It just doesn’t pay to get old. Who thought up that euphemism about “the golden years”? I want to punch them in the nose! 😉
      So starch with a side of starch is tradition? Hm, maybe when it was in early practice it made sense, after all, people really labored hard each day and probably burned it right off!
      I too find it hard to get comfortable with a Doctor. I did find one I really loved, she was awesome and really knew her stuff… but when I inquired about why she left the practice I was informed by one of the office staff that, “She had been moved to a [demographic] location where she’d fit in better.” I didn’t like her replacement (he was deaf as a post!) so I went back to the doctor I had before her. It is a 50 mile round trip, but at least she hasn’t lost her hearing and prescribes what I need based on what we discuss, not what she thinks she heard! (The deaf one prescribed pain medication for my knee after I showed him my knee and discussed my previous vein surgery. Scary.) :mrgreen:

      Linda, I know we will come out OK in the end, but it will take awhile. I’m just scared about the future and how quickly we came into this predicament.

  12. glutenfreezen says:

    Oh my goodness. There is nothing worse than medical issues and then having to worry about insurance and how you’re going to afford everything! I’m so sorry to hear this. I certainly hope that Bob is feeling better and there haven’t been anymore BP scares! I will pray that the mole removal and your vein repair both go smoothly!

    A few weeks ago I was having severe heartburn from the Lyme Disease antibiotic and anti inflammatory so I stopped in to the local minor ER clinic to see if they could recommend a good prescription antacid. Well, I was in a lot of pain and they took one look at my BP which was very high and said, “can you take yourself to the ER or shall we call an ambulance?”. Evidently they thought I was having a heart attack, which of course I wasn’t. But I went to the hospital ER like a good girl and just like you, everyone who touched me sent me a bill. We hadn’t met out deductible either and had to pay for the majority of that visit out of pocket. Over $2,000!! Horrible. I feel your pain.

    • Lynda says:

      Thank you, April. We often feel confidant and secure about our life and do not feel the need to worry about the what ifs. Then life snowballs and reality sets in. Yup, it’s an eyeopener to be sure. I have similar issues with strong antibiotics, and pain like that will raise your blood pressure! I do hope you are feeling better by now.

  13. LB says:

    Poor health and the bees are suffering, too. So very sorry, Lynda.
    Our healthcare system, from one who has worked in it for over 30 years, did not become a problem with the ACA. It has been a problem for a long, long time. I’ve always wanted to know just WHO put the insurance companies in charge and in control. THAT is where the problem is. Ugh!
    Healing thoughts are with you and Bob.

    • Lynda says:

      Thank you, Laurie. I know what you mean by insurance companies being ‘in charge’ and I agree. I also know from experience that when it came down to it, my doctor was a good advocate and could work it out to get me what I needed. The following is commentary on my part, is based on what we and others we know are experiencing, and should not be construed as a rant.

      Well, OK, it’s a rant, but it is not directed to you. I just need to vent. 😉

      In our case, and many others we have heard about, we could afford our insurance and get medical treatment before the ACA changes. It is unbelievable that we are being given a price credit each month of $300 and then given a tax of about $97. That our covered expenses have all gone up. Our deductibles have more than quadrupled. Our copays have gone up. Our maintenance medication costs have gone up, and that we are paying for coverage we will never use. (I am 61 and have no plumbing, ergo I will never need or use maternity coverage.) My husband’s small shop employer has dropped insurance for his employees (this is happening everywhere) and we are waiting to see what happens when the other shoe drops for larger employers. It is going to be another major game changer to be sure.

      Once the monkey wrench was thrown into the works people in the middle income range were thrown for a loop. We need the coverage but can no longer afford the coverage we need. It was said that higher income earners should help to defray the cost, but as I see it it’s not helping anyone and they can still afford coverage. When I look at what is available and how the deductibles skyrocket on the lower cost policies, I can’t imagine how the low income families are seeing a benefit. That $10,000 dollar per person deductible policy is pretty mean. So I suppose if the person under that coverage is in the catastrophic illness category they will meet their deductible PDQ, but what a burden to carry financially. It remains that the day to day, month to month colds, flu, broken bones and minor injuries are going to be out of pocket. The copays alone will keep most low income families from walking through the door. To me it seems that the low income folks are paying for insurance and not receiving the benefit of coverage. And trust me, if we need to get to the hospital we may very realistically think about driving ourselves if an artery is not cut, or the other is not convulsing.

      It is rare that buying a sealed package will profit they buyer. And the majority voted for this plan sight unseen. The plan was not well thought out and the result is chaos.

      In summary: Is all out of whack. The rich can still afford insurance, the middle income are paying more and getting less, and the low income are still not able to afford to go see the doctor.

      I worry about how we will survive when Bob retires. I wonder if he will be able to retire. I think about working at Walmart or MacDonalds in my ‘golden years’ to pay for our medications. When I realize how quickly we (Bob and I) got to the state we are in now, it scares the hell out of me.

      • Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

        Oh no, it was VERY well “thought out”… (Can you say “Government Contracts”?):
        With all the finagling that went on behind the scenes before this bill was allowed to proceed, surely it’s obvious that this is NOT as it was originally intended? (“The best-laid plans of mice and men… “)
        BTW, the symptoms of brain fog and memory troubles you that described the other day, are symptoms of adrenal fatigue and brought on by stress and lack of good-quality sleep. You CAN come back from this, you have many good thoughts coming your way to buoy you up and don’t let anybody tell you that “it’s just old age”! Hugs, Deb

      • LB says:

        Certainly a “rant” is understandable and I, too, worry about you, and everyone else out there. I’ve been hearing these high deductible horror stories for years as our healthcare system has been broken for a long, long time. Whether the ACA is the right plan will be debated for a long time, but something had to be done; efforts to reform our healthcare system have been made for over 30 years and this is the first time something got to the table.
        Politicians (from both parties), the games they play, and their self serving motivations, are where the majority of the blame should be placed. I could share stories similar to yours, and have committed close to fraud to help my patients, well before the ACA.
        I am so sorry for you and Bob, and all other citizens whose lives and health are being played with because of politics and insurance companies. It infuriates me because I see it daily.

        • Lynda says:

          I guess I get so angry because Bob’s old policy through his work got cancelled. The deductible was only $500 per person. In contrast with the new deductible of $2,400 per person, and all the other rate hikes, it is hard to make ends meet. Bob is in Decatur at the moment getting his MOHS surgery. His Dr said the procedure would make his deductible for the year. yay…

  14. Animalcouriers says:

    The US health system is beyond me. Just have to hear stories like yours and Bob’s and we’re reminded of how lucky we are in the UK and France to have the first rate systems we do. Glad you think you’re on to a better thing than before. Hope they find out what did for Bob’s blood pressure.

    • Lynda says:

      Annie, it wasn’t the best before the change but we fared pretty well. Now with the new regulations I am truly afraid of what will become of us when we get old and frail. We thought we had planned for our future and now we see it was never going to be enough.

  15. Na Na says:

    Lynda, check the medication he had been taking before the episode. Even meds he may have been taking for awhile. Some formulas have changed in making the meds. Budget cuts and cutting corners has companies changing the way it’s made.

    My mother had a similar episode which turned out to be an allergic reaction to a medication her NP had prescribed. None of the NPs bothered to check her meds. It was me who read the pamphlets to check the warnings. They were too busy “being smart” and playing “doctor” and running tests to realize sometimes it’s a simple answer. Read those pamphlets.

    • Lynda says:

      I remember your post about that, Anita! I will have to check and see, and thank you for the reminder! I just hope the pharmacy gave us the technical inserts. Sometimes they don’t think we need to know that stuff…

      • Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

        I’ve learned more about prescriptions and possible side effects/interactions from the dispensing Pharmacist than the MD…
        To me at least, having a great pharmacist is more important than the person who actually signed the script):

  16. Emily Heath says:

    I hope all goes well with the mole removal. Wish you guys had a National Health Service like us in the UK, all the treatment would cost nothing here. Maybe the taxes are higher, but then even people who aren’t working and pay no taxes get free treatment. And it’s probably easier to pay the taxes as we go along rather than getting hit by unexpected huge bills. Really sorry to hear about the bees too, on top of everything else.

    • Lynda says:

      “And it’s probably easier to pay the taxes as we go along rather than getting hit by unexpected huge bills.”

      That thought has crossed my mind several times in the past few months, Emily. Bob held up his vintage bill clip on Thursday (a giant clothespin affair that was his fathers) and said with a smile, “Look! It’s getting thinner!” He has been so stressed not only by the health anomalies, but by that fattened clip too. Thank you for your kind words. They do help. 🙂

  17. Mary Strong-Spaid says:

    Lynda,
    We are having some of the same problems. I will be 61 in a few months and my husband is a few years older than me. A few weeks ago, he also had a basal cell carcinoma removed (from the back of his neck). Scary seeing how many health issues crop up at our age—AND right when we are going to start needing it, the health care system is exploding right before our eyes. I too am wondering how we are going to afford to get any older. Many doctors around here are retiring early because they don’t want to deal with all the new, rules, regulations, and fines (fines for not following the new rules). These days, it’s rather hard to find people in the medical profession that care, because they are too busy trying to deal with paperwork. Sometimes I work with the elderly and I have noticed that some of their medications are getting dropped from the Medicare approved list. Instead of $9 or $10 dollars for a co-pay, they are now being told that they have to pay full price (which can be hundreds of dollars). They don’t have that kind of money, so they just go home without the prescription. It’s beyond sad.
    In regards to the “Affordable Care Act,” I was very upset when I first heard Pelosi say, “But we have to sign it so we can find out what’s in it.” What? They weren’t going to read it first? Why? Who would do that? Without mentioning politics or the ACA specifically, my 2013 post “Travel Agent from Hell” centered around my frustration with this whole thing. No one, of sound mind, would ever sign a major contract without reading it. Now it’s we the people who are paying the price…….
    http://storieswithnobooks.com/2013/03/22/travel-agent-from-hell/

    • Lynda says:

      “Scary seeing how many health issues crop up at our age—AND right when we are going to start needing it, the health care system is exploding right before our eyes. I too am wondering how we are going to afford to get any older.”

      Mary, I am starting to wonder if we will be able to move at all now. Until this current ration of smack downs I was looking forward to our retirement and living for some time up on the mountain. No I ask myself, how can we? It is well and truly a mess.

      • Mary Strong-Spaid says:

        Agreed….and I don’t know, at this point, if anyone can turn this healthcare mess around. Never saw this coming. Medical bills can eat up a an entire life’s savings account so easily . And for those who are retired, or were about to retire, there is no way or no time to build the savings back up again. Depressing.

        • Lynda says:

          We are not alone in this. Normally it is a comfort to know you are not alone, not the only one, but this is turning into a nightmare scenario for us Baby boomers There are simply too many of us.

So how about that? Go on; say something!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s