Pandemic Diary: 21 Dec 2020

All sorts of tragic and shitty things have been happening lately, but let me just address the most recent which has to do with America’s fucking rip-off health insurance system. Which is compounding the pandemic tragedy with unpayable bills.

My bill is pre-pandemic, for an emergency ambulance trip to the ER almost 2 years ago. Tufts Crappy Health Insurance doesn’t care that I had a explosion of blinding (literally) pain in my head triggered by the unrelenting pressure from a bout of projectile vomiting, couldn’t walk, and couldn’t conceive of making it to our car. So we called for an ambulance. After a bone-jarring ride to the hospital, and about an hour (? I don’t know—I was blinded by pain) in the waiting room, I finally got a CT scan that showed no stroke or aneurysm or any other horrendous thing. As the ER doc said, “It appears to be the mother of all migraines.”

After 2 years of back and forth between the very sympathetic ambulance company and the totally unsympathetic insurance company (although the agents have been kind and as helpful as they can be), the most Tufts will pay of the $3000 (for 6 miles) ambulance transport is $798. The rest goes toward my outrageous deductible.

I currently have two trigger fingers in my left hand, including the index finger, and I’m left-handed. Makes life a bit difficult at times, and always a bit painful. But we can’t afford for me to go get a cortisone shot. And although Tuft’s prescription drug plan is good as long as it’s generic, I’m also “making do” with an asthma inhaler that’s not fully effective because the one that is effective doesn’t yet have a generic and Tufts won’t pay for the name-brand inhaler even though it’s the one I need and it doesn’t have a generic option. Well, they’d cover it after I meet my outrageous deductible. Until then, it’s about $400/month. Yeah, right.

Our nephew and niece-in-law have “insurance” with a $4000 or $5000 deductible. So if one of them ends up in the hospital for awhile, they would eventually see some benefit. Until then, it’s pay through the nose.

The most despicable thing about this system is that we still have to pay a premium every month, to get this nearly worthless insurance. It costs us almost $4000/year in premiums (which is very low compared to most, believe it or not), plus the $2950 in deductible, for my so-called coverage. So if I rack up more than $7000 in medical costs, it will only then start to pay off.

Creative comments welcome!

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