Yes. You read that right. I got charged $600 for 15 minutes of medical care! Something is very wrong with the medical system in America. Can you imagine the total bill if I would have stayed in the hospital for a day?
How did I end up with this bill?
The date was October 3, 2015. It was the date I thought I was going to die. I was doing a dance routine (yes, I dance too, sometimes) at the University of Hawaii and then, the accident happened. I collided with another dancer who, by the way, is way bigger than I am, and of course, I was thrown off to the ground and I hit my head on the floor. I could not imagine how that went, and I don’t know how I managed to finish my routine with a smile. I guess, the show must go on?
Moving on, knowing the proactive person that I am, I went to my doctor to check for any concussion…just in case. For all I know, anything bad could have happened as a repercussion to my fall. My doctor then sent me to the emergency. He thought that the best medical care for me, since I hit my head, was to go to the emergency. So, I went. The emergency room has the reputation of being super busy, but fortunately at that time, it wasn’t. I was able to check in fast. The doctor asked me some questions about what happened, and then did some physical exams: checked my eyes, my head, my reflexes, etc. There were no CT scans or MRI or whatsoever. After the tests, he told me that it’s nothing serious so I can go home. Yipee!
Fast forward to three months later, I got my medical statement from the mail and I actually got charged $600 for the hospital visit!! $600 for 15 minutes of physical exam!! Lovely. Through my medical insurance, my bill was discounted down to $300. My medical insurance paid for $200 and my co-pay was $100.
I get that we need to see the doctor when we NEED to see the doctor. I also get that health is more important than money.
So, what is the problem here?
The problem is: the cost of a medical care is too high. I was able to pay my total bill because I have a medical insurance and I paid my $100 co-pay easy because I have an emergency fund which covers for unexpected expenses. The question is: what if someone got into an accident with no medical insurance or no emergency fund whatsoever? How are they going to pay the bills? It is no wonder that medical bills can put you into a financial hole. Seriously.
I am not going to dig into the different health plans or Obamacare, but health insurance agencies, hospitals, and other medical organizations and establishments – and even medical practitioners, whether private or public, should be properly regulated so that people, with or without health insurance and emergency fund, will have access to an affordable medical care.
I just hope that in the not so distant future, the healthcare system in America would change. It maybe a long time shot, but I hope it would change. In the meantime, we should continue to take care ourselves and strive to be prepared financially.