Life

Thrown Into the Health Care System

Thank goodness for insurance. Seriously. It’s a pain in the butt to pay and deal with, but when you have to use it, it’s a God send.

Luckily, Kevin had the foresight to set up really excellent insurance – both auto and health.

So, all of his home care equipment is covered by our insurance. His hospital bed, the trapeze above his bed (which he uses all the time to help him sit up and get out of bed), his bedside commode (though we’re working on weaning him from using that and getting him into a regular bathroom – which we successfully did yesterday and today!), his shower chair, (which we won’t attempt to use until his fractures heal and he’s not wearing any braces – I’m giving him sponge baths right now), and his wheelchair.

This is Kevin’s wheelchair:

Because of the surgery on his posterior (or butt, in layman’s terms), he requires a cushion. Though this cushion is not very soft (it consists of multiple rubber tubes that you have to air up), it provides him with stability and helps soften his injury. (Poor guy is constantly shifting his weight off his left butt cheek to try and provide himself with relief from the pressure).

He also has that sliding board you see in the picture. We use this to help him transfer from the bed to his chair, or from his chair to the toilet. You wouldn’t think a piece of wood be so valuable but his transfers would be more difficult, or in the case of getting to the toilet, impossible, without it.

Though we’re not paying for any of this stuff (well, technically we HAVE paid for it in premiums over the years), I still keep track of the cost of everything. And as you can imagine, everything is over priced. And I guess home support companies feel they CAN over charge because, after all, insurance companies are paying for it – the money isn’t coming directly from patients.

Hence ONE BIG PROBLEM with our health care system.

For example, I about had a coronary when I saw the rental invoice for that cushion you see in the picture. *Can you guess how much this sucker cost? Use your wildest imagination – I bet you still won’t be close. I’ll give you a hint – it’s WAY over priced, in my opinion.

Even though I loathe our current president and everything he stands for, even though I couldn’t DISAGREE more with our current health reform law, I won’t argue that something needs to be done about health care costs. I’ve seen, firsthand these past few weeks, just how expensive everything is. And it doesn’t have to be that expensive, but since insurance companies are the ones paying, the health care industry takes advantage of that and hikes the cost. I mean, why not? If companies (people) will pay the price, then why wouldn’t companies jack the cost? (Think how expensive cars are – if people refused to pay those prices and stuck to used cars, the price of new cars would come down – it’s simply supply and demand).

It truly is insane.

But here’s the deal, when you HAVE to have this stuff, when you HAVE to rely on the health care system to take care of your loved one, you don’t have a choice. You’re thrown into the system and you have to hope everything is taken care of for you.

When tragedy strikes, the cost is really the LAST thing on your mind. Health care debates are no where near the top of your priority list. You just want the doctors to work their magic and take care of your loved one.

And people, they DID. They really, really did. Every person, doctor, nurse, PDA, tech, they were all fantastic, both here at home and at MU in Columbia. They all took superior care of Kevin. (Well, it helped that Kevin had a great attitude, cracked jokes and made them laugh, too. As he says, “What’s done is done. Being bitter won’t help things.”)

And America really DOES have a top-notch health care system – it just needs (a lot of) work.

I think it’s a bit ironic that I was SOOOO into the health care debacle, voiced my concerns loud and clear and here we are, in the midst of it. But here’s the thing, I STILL feel the same way. I’m STILL passionate about an industry that proves crucial when something tragic occurs. And I will continue to loudly protest what the government is trying to do to it.

It’s just NOW, I have a better understanding of the issues and feel like any opinions I offer henceforth will be a little more informed and passionate because NOW I have a bird’s eye view of how it all works.

*Read the first comment – I reveal how much the cushion cost.

3 thoughts on “Thrown Into the Health Care System”

  1. Oh my gosh, you are right – I was nowhere close to estimating the cost and I tried to guess pretty extravagantly, too. That really is just absurd. I agree with you about the supply and demand thing – it’s a major part of why so many things are over priced.

  2. Yeah. That’s insane. And I’m not surprised one bit at the cost. My guess was around $600.

    We had a few trips to the ER this year. It was almost $1000 for me to go to a local ER (not even the hospital!!!) to get 5 stitches in my hand. Oh, wait. It was more than that. The $1000 was just the ER cost, not the added cost of the doctor (which was a couple of hundred). In.Sane.

    Thank God for insurance. We wouldn’t be able to afford it any other way.

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