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."

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Friday, October 10, 2008

The Low Down

I know today is being called "black Friday," and I know some of you are at your computers crying over your 401(K)s since you didn't take my advice regarding GE and Gold. But my day today is good. Thank you for asking.
I think my luck as changed. I've struggled a really long time. It's just science that luck will go my way sometime. It's the law of averages. Now is a good day.

With the fear of my transplant, somewhat out of my system, I’m going to go back to railing on my insurance company.
Forty-Five million Americans do not have health insurance. As a side effect of the high drug costs in America, a burgeoning industry of discount drug programs is taking advantage of the sick. Discount drug plans can screw you. They are for profit.
If you find yourself in a position where you can not afford your medical supplies, do not pay an agency. The partnership for prescription assistance (PPA) can help you find your drugs for free. They have a toll free number. They will troll through the real discounts and the scams for you. Often, they have direct contact with drug companies to pass on discounts to you.
If your income is too high to qualify, but you are having trouble meeting your deductibles, I’ve used This is a Canadian website where you can order your medications at a discount. You will need a regular prescription from your doctor. I believe this can be faxed.
As with most things American, the people being hurt are the ones who can least afford it. I’ve knocked out $5000 in co-pays each year in the past couple years. This is on top of my $4000 deductable, and however much my husband pays weekly (I think it’s $62 for the family), just to have the insurance.
On the upside, $9000 in direct health care costs yearly is pocket change compared to the estimated 2 million in costs I’ve accumulated since my diagnosis. My insurance company has not ponied up this cash easily. They have accepted and then rejected over $100,000 in tests, which I have fought, mostly successfully. I do know I have overpaid $1000 to the hospitals this year alone that should have rightfully covered by insurance.
Never trust your bills. Question them. I have a couple thousand dollars worth at home I’m in the process of appealing. Take your time. It will not affect your credit while in appeal.
Why does this happen? As far as I understand, hospitals have a certain cost for each procedure. Unfortunately, medicare, Medicaid, blue cross/blue shield etc. don’t really care. They’ve set their repayment rate per procedure and they are not budging.
It’s the moral equivalent to a contractor giving a customer a quote, finishing the work, and having the customer say, “no sorry, I had this amount allotted for the job, so this is what I am going to pay.”
Somebody has to eat the difference, and often, the difference in cost is passed on to the patient or written off by the hospital.
Is it right, no, but it’s the way it is. The low down is health insurance is a necessary evil, but health care advocates can be found. Check out The American Cancer Society, ask your social worker or nurse case manager. Don’t take no for an answer.
And FYI, if you're considering voting, and I hope you are, John McCain wants to tax health insurance benefits. Just so you know. I'm not trying to sway you either way.

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