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Topic Those who can't afford health care Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By karolinakitty On 2009.07.31 22:37
I just read all the posts in regards to the health care reform. I joined in on the AARP sessions and wrote my senators here in SC about what health care reform means to my Jim and and here's our story.
Jim and i met only 5 years ago. We both were seperated from other spouses and had grown children. We both have worked in the food service biz most of our lives. In between Jim was a trucker and i a floral designer.
10 years ago Jim was brutally beaten with a crowbar and left for dead in a ditch. The hospital treated him the best they could and only gave him a mere 5% chance at living life. He was homeless at the time and not insured. As soon as he was out of the coma and could basically walk he was sent out on the streets with no where to go. He pulled himself up, and only by the grace of God, was able to become a Chef and get his life together. Now most think that being a chef is such a glamorous job and has lots of benefits. UH that's only on TV in most cases. Although he was an executive Chef at a unniversity in NC, and had the option of health care, he was denied insurance and deemed uninsurable and basically blackballed due to his TBI. He could however purchase insurance at $1500/month that was not even worth 2cents. oh yeah, he also has PTSD since the attack also.
Three years ago he started having symptoms similiar to those he had in regards to the brain injury. Short term memory loss, pains and stiffening in limbs, he couldn't even handle a second chef posistion in a country club because he had to do some line cooking involving tags and orders which he couldn't co-ordinate enough to finish one order and then do the next. Not having health insurance, ya just move on, You don't go to the doctors because you can't afford it.
Over the last year he has gone down even further, so as not to go over all the symptoms of PD, he had almost all the symptoms. We found a retired neurologist who gave us a consultation, in order to get a referral to go to a neurologist about 1.5 hours from where we live. This first visit was a whopping $500, for the uninsured that is. All other visits would cost $135 per visit. Well Doc wanted an MRI, EEG and PSG (sleep study) done. This of course to eliminate any other issues, and go along with the first neurologists possible diagnosis of PD. So i got on the phone and called for prices. Yes, you can do that. SO i first got all the tests prices for the uninsured. They are as follows. MRI was $4235, EEG was $2595, PSG was $6342. SO since they all asked for insurance and i was given a price for uninsured, i called all the same places and got this using one company i had named Aetna. MRI was $635,with no charge to me. EEG was $695 no charge to me. PSG was $795 with no charge to me. Now I know that's why you pay a premium for insurance so you do not have to pay for health care However, these are the prices charged to the insurance company for the same exact test that some one with out insurance pays the more premium price. If you can't afford health insurance or have been deemed uninsurable why is it that you get charged almost 10x as much as someone with insurance. I know the answers but it just gripes my butt.
We have paid our share of taxes. We have worked hard all our lives. I myslef had worked 2 and 3 jobs to raise my boys, for my first husband was a $%#^@, and would quit a job at the tip of the hat and then not work again for a year. Yes, my fault for staying with the bum but i put in my time and taxes. Jim the same thing. He worked often several jobs after his TBI just to keep things going. He paid his share of taxes also.
So when i hear everyone ranting about how much in taxes are we going to have to pay for health care for all. Is not one human life worth a little something? Aren't those of us who have worked hard have a right to something? Is it 100% Jim's fault that he was beaten, wrong time/wrong place. Is it our fault that our system of insurances is so screwed up that an honest hard working man, who now has a dibiltating disease, not be entitled to some type of health care.
Then once you CAN get health care you have medications. I say thank God for together Rx access. Without this discount prescription program we would not be able to afford his precriptions.
Then there is the disability process. He was denied the first time around because of his intellegience. Well since our visit in January, and going back in April he has tested for mild dementia and is going down fast. The doc slowly has increased meds but the slide continues. His case worker from this first appeal process called today and wants more info about his daily life habits. It's been a fun ride. If, and i say IF, he gets disability this round he will be eligible for medicare in December of next year. However in the meantime we are on our own. Any testing, any doctors any hospital visits we have to take care of ourselves. Now Jim can't work so there is me, i am our only source of income. I also thank the Lord we own our home, at least there is no rent to pay. Many days i Thank God for what we have. We are truly blessed ...... please don't take me wrong.... i don't mean to give a sob story .... but what IF we didn't own a home... what if I couldn't work ..... there are so many people out there far worse than we.... what are they doing about health care?
So basically, I'm venting, I want my Jim to get better even though i know he'll have good days and bad. I know that things will get worse, i know that i'm grateful we have a good hopefully 5 years before it gets real bad. I want him to have the peace that if he needs to see a doctor, we don't have to decide between that or food on the table. Plus dealing with coming home and finding fridge doors open, cupboards left open and trying to find out whose called or where's the mail. how did you get that scrape and pretty soon....how in God's name do i work and take care of him. We have no family close which means a caregiver in order to work... again of which comes out of our pockets because we have no insurance.....
I know that his slide is worse than i see in most posts. That worries me too. Is it the meds or is it beacuse maybe he has had PD longer than the doc thinks. He's 52, walks like he's 72, talks, not like the intelligent man he was but stumbles trying to find the words. Grumpy as as old goat, when he was such a patient understanding type. Don't ask any questions about date, time, or where anything is ...he just doesn't know. Maybe, just maybe, if he was able to get help years ago it would have been caught sooner and maybe he wouldn't be sliding as fast as it seems.
Maybe, this particular health care reform act, is not the answer to all prayers, but something needs to be done for those of us who have worked hard and paid our taxes. Those who have been deemed unisurable need help, insurance companies have them by the nuts. Something needs to change, we are a free country held captive by health professionals and insurance companies. As one doctor said on our local news, Medicare works...insurance doesn't always work.

By lbellomy On 2009.08.01 10:26
I also want to say that www.pparx.org has provided me with 2 of my blood pressure meds and the other one is at a much reduced cost with www.togetherrxaccess.com So I am very grateful for this type of help that I get.
Lorraine

By caregivermary On 2009.08.01 10:28
Thank you for sharing your story. I'm with you 100%.

By Tara On 2009.08.01 15:13
karolinakitty,

I am very deeply moved by your story; far more moved than by any of the whiners and criers who complain about how long it would take to see a doctor under government-run healthcare. As I have said before, if you think that's bad, try NEVER seeing a doctor at all! Afraid of "socialized medicine"? Try NO medicine!!

My prayers are with you and Jim, karolinakitty. You have the kind of guts many people brag about having but few people really have.

Any of you anti-government people here want to take a jab at this one?!

By annwood On 2009.08.01 15:42
I would but don't think I want to hear the fall out.

By karolinakitty On 2009.08.02 19:28
lbellomy.... that's where i applied..it's been 2 months and haven't heard a word from bridges on the free drugs..guess he's not eligible. but the togetherRxaccess definitely helps with the cost..... thanx

By WitsEnd On 2009.08.03 13:44
Ditto Annwood

By number1daughter On 2009.08.04 00:19
That goes for me too Annwood.

By karolinakitty On 2009.08.11 21:23
Thank you all.... and thanx to Tara .... you hit it right on the head...try NO doctors..NO medicines for most of your life and you'll understand....

I also understand those who don't want government involved ... it's risky...at least to those who have had health insurance all their lives .... those who have had the better companies they worked for... deserve to keep what they have .... but again i stress those ..mostly through no fault of their own... can't get health insurance or pay higher, no, ridiculously higher premiums than others....
Jim didn't stand out on the corner that night in Sacremento and scream for someone to "Please bash me over the head with a crowbar and leave me for dead so i'll never be able to get health insurance again"...... Circumstances in life bring you where you are and you deal with it..... but it would be nice to have a cushion to fall on..... even if it is a government one......

Medicaid..from what i hear ... pays for just about everything..... So if you sneeze you can go to the doctors and get an antibiotic and whatever else ya need...
If you have no insurance and sneeze..well God Bless You.... that's it .....

Maybe that would be a good study to do ..... those who have insurance and those that don't ...... Do they abuse the insurance companies by running to the doctors everytime they sneeze as compared to those who have no insurance and sneeze and get over it the best they can....now i know PD and other diseases are not sneezes, but maybe if the insurance companies and the medical professionals focused more on PD, MS, Cancer and other diseases like these with treatments and causes..and refused to pay for anything that was nothing but a cold or "in the head" stuff we wouldn't all be talking about this now......

By lule On 2009.09.08 11:59
hi i'm very sorry that you had to gothrough this. i'm also in the same boat like you only that im able to pay for my medical bills through my business but its hard. keep in touch.

yrs

peter

By trapper On 2009.09.11 00:10
In the news today:

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.More than 32 million Americans tuned in to watch Obama's address on television, according to Nielsen Media Research. The viewership was down 39 percent from Obama's first address to Congress in February, when 52.3 million watched on television.

Obama, speaking to a nurses group, lamented new U.S. Census Bureau figures showing the number of people without health insurance in the United States rose to 46.3 million in 2008 from 45.7 million a year earlier. (ID:nN10392464)

Obama said his plan would expand coverage to 30 million Americans who are now uninsured, but would not cover illegal immigrants -- as some Republicans have repeatedly claimed -- and others who would refuse insurance even when available.

Three House committees and one Senate panel have finished work on a healthcare bill, leaving the Senate Finance Committee as the final hurdle before each chamber takes up the issue.<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Interesting, eh!

By hapidawg On 2010.01.19 12:32
Hi Karolinakitty -
I appreciate everything you said and have lived in your message. A long shot - was Jim ever in the armed forces? My husband was for a two-year period, never left the states but has VA benefits. Not full benefits, but they have been very helpful to us and have provided equipment - walker and a stair chair so he can go up and down floors, the medication and the physicians are great and the cost is minimal. I hope this is a possibility for you. Fortunately, I will qualify for medicare this year. My emergency room treatment two years ago was $8,000. Was it you, or someone that responded to one of your message that said something negative about the government trying to get more involved in health care and they said - try no health care. Only those who have never needed major health care can understand the importance of this bill. I have a condition that renders me uninsurable and I have counted the years until I would be eligible for medicare. I play a computer game with people from all over the world. We would be led to believe that the "free" health care in the UK and Canada is awful. But, that's not what the people from these countries tell me. They love it.

But, I digress. Was Jim every in the armed forces?

By karolinakitty On 2010.01.27 08:12
No ..... No armed forces ..... We too are counting the days until he can get medicare. Once he gets disability medicare will follow. If i read it correctly then it kicks in 2 years after you apply. In our case that is December of this year. He has been denied twice now and are in the last appeal process which takes about 18 months here in SC. IF he had his disability even then we would not struggle as much as we do.


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