Wait, How Much is it?

With any disease, it comes with a cost. It’s not just the emotional cost of dealing with something that comes on unexpected.  There is also a monetary cost to having a disease. I have dealt with the monetary aspect of the disease. It has really taken a toll, and I’ll explain why.

Medical insurance wasn't a big issue at first

Before I was diagnosed, I had no other medical issues. I was under my parents insurance, since I was under the age of 26. When I was diagnosed, I had taken a job at a private school, which offered medical insurance. Schools generally have great insurance, so all the tests that I had to have done did not cost me much. I honestly don’t even remember how much my bills were.

Suddenly, I ran out of insurance

When I went in for my first initial surgery, the turn around time was going to be five days. I was supposed to be back at work three weeks later. With Christmas break looming, I was really only going to miss two week of school. With my sick days ready to be used up, I would still get paid my full pay each day. I did not know that my insurance would soon run out as I was in the hospital for three hundred and seventy-one days.

I remember when my insurance company cut me off. Well I guess I never really thought about it, since I had bigger fish to fry. I remember hospital coordinators coming into my hospital room to go over my options. I clearly was not working; hence I was not making any income. I basically was placed on “welfare” insurance. This insurance allowed me to stay in the hospital and still receive the care I needed. But, what I didn’t realize is that it did not cover everything.

I started to think about this big cost

As I started to feel better, and the weeks were being counted to days, left to go in the hospital, I started to think! I started to think about the cost of my entire visit for the last year and six days. I can imagine that it was astronomical. The bills started to come in during the weeks. Even though there was a substantial amount of things I was not charged for, the bills were still very high. And I was not done being admitted to the hospital.

In the next few months I had to return to the hospital for a few set backs. Some required an ambulance transport. I had to simply call each hospital, and ambulance companies, to negotiate a deal (a payment plan so to speak). Some bills were in the thousands of dollars. Then the weirdest thing happened… the bills vanished. I was making payments on all of them, low payments but nonetheless they were payments. I was finally able to get my payments low enough that eventually they were forgiven.

The high finances are an added stress that IBD patients don't need

Presently, I work for a school district that takes care of my benefits. But should we have to pay for medicine and procedures for IBD drugs? Why are these tests that are so critical for our well-being, and diagnoses, so expensive? I know that we have advocates that go to Capital Hill, trying to help Crohn’s and Colitis patients get financial help, so they can get the best treatment without spending all of their money, or not having enough money. When will we get the break we need to get the financial help we need, to be healthy. It’s a stress us IBD patients do not need.

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