Monday, August 15, 2011

Medical bills

The medical bills just keep rolling in. I cannot even begin to explain how many of those white envelopes appear in our mailbox every day. I literally have a PILE of bills and insurance claims sitting on my desk.

And I have been avoiding looking at any of them. When you have cancer and are struggling to remain positive, the last thing you want to do is try to figure out your insurance claims and pay your outstanding medical bills. At least, that is the last thing that I want to do. Other folks may pay their bills right on time. Not me. I am a procrastinator extraordinaire!

I finally sorted through it all yesterday. And it was very unpleasant. Long story short... my annual out-of-pocket expense is $6000 for in network providers and $9000 for out of network providers. At the beginning of all this mess, I thought I had a $3000 deductible and that my insurance would pick up the rest once I hit that magic number. WRONG.

After I hit my $3000 deductible (which took all of about four doctor visits and procedures), my insurance pays 80% and I pay the remaining 20% up to ANOTHER $3000. That's where I get the magic number of $6000. But that's not all.

If I see someone who is out-of-network, my annual out-of-pocket goes up to $9000. Now is that $9000 separate from the $6000 or is it another $3000 tacked on to the $6000? Questions, questions.

That means when this year is all said and done, I will have paid $6000 PLUS whatever I have incurred out of network to the tune of either $9000 or $15,000. Lovely.

I am quickly learning that just because a doctor accepts my insurance (Anthem), it does not mean he or she is "in network." It means he accepts my insurance and that's it. I should know better.

But when you have cancer and you are trying to stay positive, you want to be seen by the best doctors in town regardless of in-network or out-of-network. At least, that is how I have approached my healthcare. I want the very best people working on me even if that means I have to go to M.D. Anderson or Sloan-Kettering. Period.

And all things considered, I am pretty lucky. I have savings that I can use to pay all these bills. And I have insurance - as lousy as it seems right now it's better than not having insurance. So I will quite my bitching and moaning and just pay my bills. Tomorrow.


  1. Goodness, that must be so stressful. Happy to hear you are trying to find the best in this. I am reading about your journey and sending you good thoughts. Thank you for stopping by my sister's blog (chinese tumour) and leaving her some positive vibes.

  2. Healthcare costs are through the roof! Its so hard to take care of yourself and get regular check-ups but how do you do that with it costing an arm and a leg. That is why I am glad that there are Provider bill audits.