A few thoughts since I wrote about paying for surgery when you don’t have health insurance.
First, I need to say that while I don’t have health insurance, it isn’t because I don’t want it. I can’t write about why I don’t have health insurance, but from my readers I know that securing health insurance is not as easy as you might think.
Get a job and get health insurance… it’s pretty easy. But if you don’t have a job there are two significant factors that preclude you from *easily* getting health insurance:
- Price. I know people who easily pay more than $1,000 each month for health insurance. This is not an option for everyone. I have readers of this blog who are just looking for $30 for groceries or their utility bill.
- Qualifications. Getting health insurance on your own usually means some contract nurse comes to your house to have you fill out forms, do blood work, and some other tests. A few weeks later you hear back. If the health insurance company thinks you are too risky for them, guess what? NO HEALTH INSURANCE FOR YOU! Worse than the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld. They own a racket and when you are on the other end, it SUCKS.
So let me reiterate… my post about how to pay for a surgery when you don’t have insurance was NOT about how to get around health insurance, or to say that health insurance is bad or unnecessary. We’re working on getting insurance, but we haven’t been able to yet. The post was more about:
- Letting you know that you can actually negotiate with the service providers (doctors and hospitals) to get SIGNIFICANT (50%+) discounts, and
- just sharing how SCREWED UP (the cost of) health care is if we can get 50%+ discounts by paying THAT DAY.
Here are two comments that came on my Facebook post that triggered this followup:
>> You are fortunate to be able to pay 3400 dollars out of your pocket in one payment. What of those that can’t?
I am very fortunate to be able to pay that out of pocket. We did have this planned and had time to figure out where the money was coming from… that was definitely a benefit. But I realize that many people don’t have $3,400 sitting around. My point in the post was just to share that you COULD save that much money if you could figure out how to get the payment together. Most people (me included, before this experience) don’t know that you could even question this big hairy institution.
>> It is great that you’re able and willing to self-pay, but what is something happens and your bill is in the hundreds of thousands or even millions? I sincerely hope that never happens to you, but it happens to a lot of people. If you self-pay and don’t have your own insurance, then doesn’t that really mean that you’re shifting the risk to those who… Read More are paying federal taxes? And how different is that than being an advocate for single payer?
Again, this is why I’m writing this clarification. I’m not saying “don’t get health insurance because you can save 50% by paying upfront.” I’m saying “Did you know that you could even negotatiate?” I’m writing more to the people who can’t get or don’t have health insurance – which is A LOT of people.
… so that’s it.
Here’s one more LAME update. The doctor’s office coded the procedure wrong, so the quote from the hospital was $5,000 low. That meant we got hit with an additional out-of-pocket $2,500 charge (if we wanted to get the 50% discount) that we weren’t expecting. Fun? Absolutely not. Wish I had health insurance right now, but for us the discount is the only option we have (other than sitting on double the amount and making payments until my kids move out).