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Health Care “Providers” and the $30 Co-Pay December 13, 2009

Posted by Admin in Cancer, Diary, Healthonymous, Money.
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In my life, I have had many more health care “providers” than I ever dreamed that I would. In addition to the two excellent surgeons that I had for my cancer surgeries, I have seen people with titles such as dosimetrist, audiologist,  and a gynecological oncologist. I even see phlebotomists regularly (oops, just recalled I need to redo my latest CA 125 blood test-the number was slightly elevated last time).

But the health care job title of the person I enjoy visiting most is that of licensed massage therapist! Regular readers know that I have a prescription for massage to treat my lymphedema. My arm always feels better after and it is usually easier to put my compression sleeve back on too. Yes, after ten years, I still wear mine.

This week’s only expense was my $30 co-pay for my every other week massage. It is very helpful to have someone knowledgeable about manual lymphatic drainage look after me, plus they have two hands to minister with and I feel like a on-armed paper hanger sometimes trying to address my own needs. Ever try to kiss your elbow? Sometimes doing your own lymph massage is just that frustrating.

Tantalizing close, but definitely out of reach!

Expenses out of pocket for week ending December 12th: $30.00


No Out of Pocket This Week-Expenses 0 December 5, 2009

Posted by Admin in Blog Math, Diary, Money, Women.
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Another record week-no out-of-pocket health expenses. No bills paid. That is not because I don’t have them, I am just waiting until payday. I am sure that others are in this boat as well. It has been an expensive fall-health-wise for me.

  • Having a colonoscopy,
  • a suspected MRSA cellulitis-complete with an ER visit,
  • and my first ever DNA test was actually not part of the third quarter plan.

I guess I could have waited to get the colonoscopy-I have several friends of a certain age who have not had theirs yet.  December will  be a month to catch up on the bills, get some exercise and make a plan for health in 2010. I had dental work to get done this year, to maximize the insurance coverage and it will just have to wait. Is that thinking about the money too much? Or a smart use of resources?

By the end of December,  I plan to share with you a list of health priorities for next year and their financial impact.

November Expenses-Summary December 1, 2009

Posted by Admin in Blog Math, Diary, Health Insurance.
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These diary entries are to help me keep track of my out-of-pocket expenses and to illustrate some of the regular expenses of a cancer survivor. Does your bill-paying center look like this desk below? Mine sure doesn’t!

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=paperwork&iid=3080820″ src=”4/1/1/5/b3.JPG?adImageId=7974890&imageId=3080820″ width=”380″ height=”570″ /]

Total of November weeks: $209.09

Plus health care premiums of $86.68

(medical, dental and vision)

Grand Total $295.77

September/October 2009 Total: $690.68

+86.68 October premiums =


For the life of the blog: $1073.13 for ten weeks.

Massage for Lymphedema November 29, 2009

Posted by Admin in Blog Math, Cancer, Diary, Humor, Money.
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[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=health+massage&iid=1134532″ src=”6/0/f/b/Massage_bfe8.jpg?adImageId=7903797&imageId=1134532″ width=”380″ height=”283″ /]

And that method did what?

I could ask my licensed massage therapist to hand me a glass now and then however!

Last week’s expenses: $30 co-pay for massage. Too bad my insurance coverage next year will not take my ICD9 code into consideration for treatment. Monthly totals tomorrow.

Total for Week ending November 27: $30.00

Take 2 Tax Breaks and Call Me in the Morning November 7, 2009

Posted by Admin in Diary, Health Insurance, Health Quote of the Week.
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So said Rep. McGovern (D-Mass.) moments ago in the floor debate on HR 3692 in the House of Representatives. That was his characterization of the health care reform that the Republicans would prefer.

[picapp src=”6/9/6/2/Hillary_Clinton_Campaigns_fe19.jpg?adImageId=7201356&imageId=3717859″ width=”234″ height=”318″ /]

The R’s have a new tactic this morning. After the increase in the unemployment rate was announced yesterday, they are now calling HR 3692:

a job-killing (4 million free-enterprise jobs), debt-piling, small business tax increasing, major overhaul of health care delivery in this country.

Meanwhile, the D’s are reminding constituents that:

the bill invests in prevention, wellness and public health, according to Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA). She also reminded us that this bill will prevent medical bankruptcies and close the “donut hole” of Medicare Part D.

[picapp src=”a/c/5/5/Sen_John_McCain_e5e6.jpg?adImageId=7201443&imageId=6922532″ width=”234″ height=”351″ /]Other Representatives from the majority party have alluded to our poor infant mortality statistics, the bills mandate to not deny people care based on  pre-existing conditions such as being female, having had a C-section, being a victim of domestic violence or being a cancer survivor, and the 100 year debate on this issue.

Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Ohio) fights back by saying,

It’s time to make coverage accessible and affordable. We’ve waited too long…..

Presiding over the House debate today is Rep. Charles Dingell (D-MI), who presided over the debate on the Medicare legislation in 1965.

Watch the debate live on C-SPAN or cspan.org now!

Weekly Expenses — a First! November 6, 2009

Posted by Admin in Blog Math, Diary, Money.
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For the first time since beginning this blog, my weekly health care expenses are zero, nada, zilch, nothing.

My budget can use a break-how long will  this last?

Weekly expenses $00.00

Weekly Expenses October 30, 2009

Posted by Admin in Blog Math, Cancer, Diary, Money.
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This week’s expenses were not as scary as Halloween week could be. I had a regular massage for my back and my lymphedema on Monday.  One side effect of blogging is that I spend more time in front of the computer. This causes my shoulders to hunch over and my chest muscles to contract. The massage helps to loosen them back up. (But I probably need to get back in the pool.)

Co-pays this week only $30.00 for the massage. I ordered a refill of the other prescription I take by mail. A three-month supply is around $19.00. But I overpaid the company last month so it won’t cost anything-they already have my money! Great for cash flow-but poor planning, nonetheless.

Weekly expenses: $30.00

Monthly total coming this weekend-that might be scary!

Health Care Quote of the Week-Sean Hannity October 29, 2009

Posted by Admin in Diary, Health Quote of the Week, huh?.
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Well, I hate to promote the Fox Network in any way, but this one slipped through. Conservative columnist and author Michele Malkin was interviewed by Sean Hannity this week. The subject was her new book; but Sean wrapped up the interview in a way that seemed to make Michele speechless: (or maybe that was the editing!)

Hannity’s Freudian slip: “These are the critical weeks if you don’t want health care”.

It can be seen on video courtesy of Media Matters here.

Weekly Expenses and Musing About Procedures October 24, 2009

Posted by Admin in Blog Math, Diary, Healthonymous, Money.
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Money, Money, Money. This week some of the ER expenses came in from my visit on Oct. 5th (see blog post)-the fee for the examining physician there  was $266).  Plus I was billed for mail order meds-a prescription I take daily. I don’t think I am saving much money. $23.31 for three months for pills picked up in person and now $19.91 for meds in the mail. A savings of about 14%-ok maybe that is some savings! Plus not going to a pharmacy three times is a timesaver.

(One thing I hate about keeping up with these bills is the paperwork):

  • first the papers from the office visit and the receipts for parking etc.
  • the EOB’s or Explanation of Benefits (sometimes it feels like Exclusion of Benefits). These are the gross numbers (pun intended)
  • finally the provider and facility charges giving you the net due.
  • File, burn or shred?

However, this diary is helping me keep track of things in a way that I haven’t before and that is– what could I and the medical establishment have done differently? Should I expect better from them and from myself?

  • Should I have gone to the ER at all?
  • Why did I receive medical advice from 5 different providers in one week for one problem (either staph caused MRSA suspected cellulitis or shingles)
  • How does that affect continuity of care?
  • Will there be translation errors (on my side or theirs) like the old game of Telephone with so many people involved?
  • What if I wasn’t a persistent person and didn’t have a person to fetch my meds and drive me around?
  • What if I didn’t have paid sick leave?

Prescription meds: $19.91, my four visits the week of Oct 5th were billed at $1001-before the negotiated discounts, less my co-pays of $160. Net bill TBD

Keep reading for more thoughts on the issues. Maybe not all the answers, but I can sure ask a lot of questions!

Weekly total: $19.91

Killing the Pain… October 7, 2009

Posted by Admin in Diary, Health Insurance, Money.
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Yesterday’s drug. Vicoden. That was free. And it didn’t work. So I could sell them on the corner and finance next week’s lunch. Just kidding. Today’s new painkiller was $40.48 with a co-pay of $10.00. I couldn’t go to get it-so my fab driver went again. Maybe we will be at the local clinic every day this week! Not a habit I’m looking to solidify.

I have a killer headache and no one seems to care about that. It’s normal to think aneurysm, right? But I don’t want to have a CT/MRI  scan unnecessarily. Isn’t that what got us into this mess? I have tried 4 different painkillers this week so far. Jury is still out but all of the little bugs should be dead by now.

Daily total: $10.00 Co-Pay, Chicken Soup 3 for $5.00, Gas for the car $5.00= $20.00

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