Wednesday, February 02, 2005


This just does not surprise me:

Reuters - Half of all U.S. bankruptcies are caused by soaring medical bills and most people sent into debt by illness are middle-class workers with health insurance, researchers said on Wednesday. (Yahoo)

Pooteewheet missed the last stair at our house the other day while carrying a load of Christmas paraphernalia to the basement and twisted her ankle pretty good (I was there to watch and was very pleased not to hear any loud cracks). She noted that she had wrenched it good and should go have it x-rayed. In the past, my response would have been - immediately, go. But since my company switched to "consumer-driven" health care this year and I opted for a high-deductible, low cost office-visit option (based on the assumption that if I was in a big accident it could cost me no more than $3000 and my wife usually has a lot of office visits) I instead said, "Check with the doctor first and see if x-rays are covered and consider whether you really need one." So the system works - my wife may have a broken ankle, but thank goodness they have forced me to stop and carefully consider whether the injury presents the possibility of long-term problems, how that affects my bottom line, how much I'm willing to pester an office worker instead of a doctor (well, have my wife pester an office worker), and whether I'm willing to gamble on my wife's capacity for self-diagnosis to help them avoid an expense. When she's limping in a few years I can plan ahead, switch to the low-deductible version for a year, and get the resulting, chronic problems taken care of (optionally, maybe I can get one of the scatter vans that can see through your car to drive by and check her out).

It's not as bad as all that - like I said, no cracking noises - borrowed crutches and an old ankle wrap for a few days, minimal bruising - but very different in how we treated it compared to our healthcare coverage in the past even though my costs have not changed considerably.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Funny, I am self medicating as well. Since I messed up my back last week, for second time AFTER my surgery, I already know what the doctor is going to say "Yep, you hurt it, here is a referal to physical therapy". Since my co-pays are now $40 and I have a good idea of what exercises they are going to give me at pt, I will treat myself at home. This should save me at least $200.

Of course, I am sure my diaganosis is correct. I have been watching a lot of ER and House lately.