So, I just got a collections notice for an old medical bill that I was under the impression my insurance company had taken care of – and if I don’t pay it by the 10th, it’ll get reported to a credit agency.
Luckily, it’s only $465, and since I shit gold (the link is entirely genteel), all I need is a quick trip to Taco Bell and bam, taken care of.
What I’m thinking about though, is my trip to the hospital for the appendectomy, and the reason that there’s still plurality support for an insurance system that doesn’t work. The simplest explanation I can think of – we’re just really, really used to it.
I kept overhearing conversations about a.) worrying about paying for it later and/or b.) needing to cut back to pay for this visit among other patients. And it’s just a tradeoff we’re willing to make because we know we’ll have to make it: I’ll eat less next month to pay for this, not drive as much, make smaller credit card payments (or charge it!), whatever. And I keep thinking about the fact that in virtually every other major industrialized nation, it’s a huge part of life that they simply don’t have to deal with. Of course, Sicko touched on all of this, but it’s something that’s very easy to forget as long as the healthcare system remains an invisible suck on your paycheck.
There’s also, I think, the pathology of “coverage”. We tend to judge insurance by all the things it could theoretically cover, rather than how it covers the exact thing or things we need. When we frequently (and often, inevitably) run into issues, our response is often that it’s the price we pay for the overall coverage we get. Then we get sick or hurt the next time, go through the same deal, but hey – if I get Crohn’s, that’s so taken care of.
Anyway, tomorrow, I’ll be off to save my credit. Share stories of insurance shittiness should you feel the need to commiserate.