- Posted February 24, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Bitter pill: The cost of health care in the U.S.
I was expecting a quick in and out at the ER but no, a few questions from the nurse, then an exam by the doc and upstairs to a room I went. Emergency surgery followed the next morning and I remained in the hospital for three nights as the doctor wanted to monitor me for any possible complications. I presented abnormally he said.
I did not have health insurance. I have been growing my small massage and yoga practice for about three years. Being a single mom raising a teenage son, (who is on his father's work's health plan) I felt I would literally have to choose between health insurance or necessities such as food and or rent. It would be a burden to have "another car payment" each month.
I shop at Good Will and other consignment shops, buy discounted groceries and do not buy unnecessary "stuff".
The hospital bill ended up being around $14,900. I applied for assistance through the hospital charity plan and was rejected. the letter read that my income was the reason. Really? My income in 2011 was around $14,000. Yes, really. I applied for medical assistance through the medicaid office. The eligibility worker said she was almost positive that I would not receive assistance and that it is very difficult for an adult to receive any medical assistance. I was going to have to submit excruciatingly detailed information from my business records to prove my status. She made it sound as if I'd be wasting my time. I believed her and I stopped the process.
I visited a legal aid attorney (I qualified for that) for advice on how to handle the collectors that call my phone at least twice each day. He said that there is nothing in the statute that protects small business owners. Theoretically, they could confiscate funds from my bank account if a judgment was placed. if I had pay stubs from a job working for someone else then the collectors couldnt touch my accounts.
So, do I hide my money in my mattress? I told the lawyer that I wanted to work for myself, not someone else, and that I had gone to school and worked hard and continue to do so doing what I love to do. How am I supposed to do that? He remarked that I was the poster child for a different kind of healthcare and wished me luck. I submit this because I believe it is unethical. I am willing to contribute payment but feel the charges are outlandish.
I believe in capitalism and I also believe there's a better way.