I received an e-mail informing me that it was time to look over my health insurance coverage through Healthcare.gov for 2018. Okay! Great! Hopefully I can change things up and maybe get a lower deductible.
I was so, so, so very mistaken.
When my husband and I got married, and I graduated from college, I was no longer eligible for Oregon Medicaid. So, since my coverage was ending, I was eligible for special enrollment on the healthcare marketplace. I ended up going with a plan with Kaiser Permanente. Mostly because I was so unhappy with Salem Clinic, I wanted to find insurance that would take me to a different provider.
At the time, I chose the Kaiser Permanente Silver Oregon Plan, as well as the dental care add-on. The base health insurance monthly payment is $268, the dental care add-on is $25 extra. Okay, not too bad I suppose. Obviously I wish that the payments were significantly lower but I can make do. Even after choosing a plan with a payment I can sort of afford, the deductible is $3,000. Good lord, let’s hope nothing catastrophic happens.
Today I logged into the healthcare marketplace and went through the process of updating my profile and all of my eligibility information. When I was sent to the section for choosing a plan, I decided to go into it thinking about the real probability that surgery is going to happen and I need to have good coverage or else I won’t be able to have anything done.
I ended up choosing the Kaiser Permanente Gold Oregon plan. The deductible is $1,000 with a 20% coinsurance. I also added the dental care plan on top of that. Total monthly payment went up to $383.
Okay, I know that for some people that isn’t a big deal, I get that. But for me, it’s a huge burden. I work as much as I can without causing my body to physically give out. But adding the money that goes toward rent, electricity, and food, adding more on top of that is just insanity. I’m lucky I have a job and I don’t need to completely depend on my husband, but eventually I’m going to need help.
$90 monthly premium increase is not a small amount. The $383 isn’t even including what I will have to pay for co-payments. I did a bit of research into the estimated costs for everything that I am having done on December 5th.
“Joint Fluid Removal” $323
“Therapeutic Injection” $889
“Imaging Guidance for Needle Placement” $236
“Pelvis MRI Scan Without and With Dye” $1,944
For the total cost I’m possibly looking at about $3,392. My deductible is currently at $2,826. At the very least I’m facing almost $3,000 of medical bills for a few treatments.
And believe me, I understand that the machines are expensive and they need maintenance, and the staff needs to be paid their salaries. I get all of that, but I am kind of pushed into a corner and I don’t have any other real options. None of this is something that I asked for, and having to get injections and images and potentially surgery is the last thing I really want for myself. My options seem to be, live with the pain, discomfort, and limited mobility. Or, go into horrific debt trying to get my body fixed so I can live a normal life and do things I want to do.
There are so many questions I want to ask all of these healthcare and insurance providers, but obviously these will go unanswered.
Why do the premiums need to be so high?
Is it really necessary to charge thousands of dollars for certain procedures or medications?
Why can’t people help push harder for universal healthcare?
How do you sleep at night knowing that you’re the root of financial ruin for many people in the US?
Until those politicians and CEO’s of large health insurance providers know what it’s like to walk in an average American’s shoes, they will never understand the true need for universal healthcare. Until they have a chronic or life threatening illness and sub-par insurance, and have to wonder whether they’ll be able to afford a medical bill payment AND food. Nothing will change.