Thursday, January 19, 2012

Medical Bills & Life Insurance: A Whole New Perspective



My family is going through some medical issues at the moment. It's been quite a year already.

My sweet, wonderful grandfather (aka Lolo, Filipino term for grandfather) already has leukemia. He has gone through chemo and was in the hospital late last year with pneumonia because his doctor failed to keep him up-to-date on his vaccination. I received a voicemail from my grandmother on Thursday saying that my grandfather was in the hospital since Monday. They didn't want to worry the family so we weren't notified sooner. Come to find out that he has cancer and a surgery to remove the mass is a possibility based on the capabilities of his 86-year-old heart and how he'd like to move forward. Eventually he chose to move forward with the surgery and later doctor's confirmed that's it's the only choice he had.

I went to visit him as soon as I could. I was happy to see that my sister, father and uncle were already there, alongside my grandmother. It's definitely a crazy feeling to first lay your eyes on someone you love confined in a hospital without their own clothes, sharing a room with a stranger and in a strange place. When I walked into the room, his back was to me as he was sitting in a chair. My father and uncle were standing close to him. My father was explaining what his options were in half English, half Tagalog. I have always appreciated the slow, consoling way that my father would explain sensitive topics. I could hear the concern in Lolo's soft voice and my eyes couldn't help but water. But I had to make sure that they didn't fall. I didn't want Lolo to turn around and see me upset. Lolo has such an a great sense of humor that I couldn't let him see me upset or concerned, so I put on a huge smile when he finally turned around and happily said my childhood nickname.

Later, that same day, Lolo was sitting there quietly as we talked amongst ourselves. Brent, my nephew, came up and Lolo asks "Where's Brent?! I want to see Brent." He puts his hands to his face and sobs a little. My sister figures out a way to fulfill our Lolo's wish and they arrive two hours later. Ah, the love of a grandfather for his first great-grandchild.

Two and a half weeks later, days of fasting and the surgery has been done, pain is gone, I am happy to say that he is now home. I am happy to hear it was a successful surgery and although he had to spend his 87th birthday in the hospital, I hope we have quite a few birthdays to celerbate with him.

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Then my uncle is in the hospital with an unknown diagnosis (to me, anyway) and then a lung collapsed Tuesday evening. His wife, my aunt, was in the same hospital and had surgery yesterday. Together, they have four children and four grandchildren. May they both and their families get through this with shining colors.

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I personally had to go to the emergency room days after my birthday luncheon in September. I went to my PCP's office and by the time I got there, the pain in my stomach was so incredible that where my eyes watered and I had to concentrate on breathing just to get through periods of sharp pain. At my pain level, I was told they can't do anything for me and I should go to the emergency room. Thank goodness it was just a block away and I could drive myself. I was assigned a room probably 30 minutes after checking in and was there for a total for 4-5 hours. Many tests and procedures were done and three different kind of medication. The pain ceased and I was released.

Two and a half months later, I receive the damage for my shy-of-a-workday stay in the ER.

$10,000!

Pardon my French, but Holy Sh*t! Yes, thank goodness I have a job and medical insurance. The remaining due is still $1,500. I believe that equated to the price tag of my car! With the expenses of the upcoming wedding and honeymoon. I really wish I didn't have to pay this. I can't even imagine what the costs are for each of my family's hospital stays equate to or how they're going to pay for it! A coworker's brother was in the hospital for five (5) days and it cost $700,000. If I am responsible for 15% of the total cost, their bill for this $700K service must be $105,000. (Depending on insurance coverage, of course.) It's an absurd amount of money! But really, how much money would you pay to save the life of someone you love?

What are you doing to protect yourself?
What are you doing to maintain your health?
How would you pay these medical bills?
If you pass, how will your family pay for your medical bills? Outstanding loans? Funeral services?


These are important questions and I am personally at the point of my life that I need to quit procrastinating and seriously find a solution to these questions, all the while maintain being relatively healthy. (Join me at MyFitnessPal.com to keep me in check! Username: bappletree)

Last year, we thought about getting Life Insurance. When we were about to sign the paperwork, DB was laid off so we put a hold on it to minimize our monthly expenses. Now, we are looking at it again as the wedding date approaches and a friend of mine, Julia Perry, has recently become a New York Life Agent. (Please tell her I sent you!) You really need to be prepared for the unexpected and should you pass, the loss felt by your family is stressful and painful as it is. Ensuring/minimizing your financial burden on your family would be appreciated, I'm sure.

It is not too late to make a New Year's resolution. I'd suggest:
1) Do something active every day. A walk around the block on your lunch break. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Hit the gym. Yoga. Crunches in front of the television. Jog with your dog. EAT BETTER!
2) Give Julia Perry a call. New York Life has great options that fit your budget. Some coverage is better than none at all.

Trying to do either of these things is better than not making an effort at all. Give it a whirl! I am. Will you?

2 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry to hear about all that your family is going through, and I agree that health care costs are outrageous. I grew up without health insurance and my family members still don't have it. It's a travesty that this country does not provide health care for its citizens.

    ReplyDelete