Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.
He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.
Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."
I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.
I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
How to Guide to Fighting For Health Care Reimbursement
Isn’t it ironic. I get medicare!! Two and a half years of justifiable illness, and I’m eligible for medicare part A & B. Only downside, it starts in Oct. 2008, after my transplant. Ha! Go figure. Of course, there are still benefits.
I’ve had a long hard fight with my cancer, but alongside my health struggles came the inevitable fights with my health insurance company. I was going to write about how to fend off the bills, but thankfully, someone has done it for me. Check out Sue Redfearn’s Nine Secrets Health Insurance Companies Don’t Want you to know at http://living.health.com/2008/03/07/nine-secrets-health-insurers-dont-want-you-to-know/
In the past year, I have unknowingly over paid $750 dollars in bills that should have rightfully been covered by my insurance. This is money I now know about. Once that money is gone, it won’t come back. Over the past two and a half years, every PET scan has been accepted and then rejected equaling over $60,000 in charges (Twenty PET scans at $3,000 a piece). Fight! Do not pay.
Why the discrepancy? The health insurance industry is a for-profit industry. Yes, some fat cat business person is profiting off of our suffering. You can thank former Pres. Nixon for this idea. Hospitals are not for profit.
How can a not for profit pay a for profit industry? Hospitals try the path of least resistance, passing the difference in cost or the refusal of payment on to the patient. The best suggestion to combat this, don’t pay until you are sure you owe. Work out any payment plan with the billing department. Communicate and try to be nice when you do it. Twenty dollars a month will keep you out of collections and in treatment while the details are worked out. This $20 is tax deductable, and the remaining balance is at 0% interest or same as cash. Also, hospitals can write off bad debt payments. The rural hospital where I was formally employed had under twenty beds, but donated over one million dollars in health care to the community yearly.
Be clear, the hospital is not the bad guy in this. The struggles with the insurance companies force hospitals to hire more full time personnel to fight on your behalf; this causes health insurance costs to rise. Medical equipment is also a for profit industry dumping on the not-for profit hospitals. These along with other factors causes health care costs to rise at a rate 3x that of inflation. Inflation rose 13% from March to April in 2008. Do the math, health care costs will rise over 40% this year. And you thought the rising cost of oil and food was scary.
Our health care industry is headed for implosion. It is the next oil crises or housing bubble, and it’s coming soon as baby boomers age, the nursing shortage increases, and the insurance companies seek bigger profit from our health crises. It should be the top of the priority list for the upcoming presidential race, but it’s not getting any attention. Is it not controversial (or cancerversial) enough? Force the issue people. Some suggestions for reform will be coming soon.