Monday, January 7, 2008

A New Year, A New Out-of-Pocket Maximum

I had really gotten to like not having co-pays for my doctor visits after reaching my insurance company's out-of-pocket maximum after my July hospital stay. (A $20,000 hospital bill will do that for you!)

But it's a new year, and that means I'm back to making my $15 co-pays every time I see a doctor. I suspect that will slow me down a little bit on my check-ins with my internist, and I'll rely a little more on phone calls instead of office visits. (Although I feel guilty about those because she doesn't get paid for phone calls, just the number of patients she sees in person each day.)

What I never understood was why perscription co-pays didn't count toward that out-of-pocket maximum and why I still had to pay them after I'd reached the max. In some ways, I would have preferred to pay my $15 co-pays for office visits and not had to pay several hundred dollars per month for my meds. I'm not sure, but I think it would have been cheaper.

I definitely never knew it was so expensive to have chronic illnesses before this experience. Sure, I've had asthma since childhood, but it's been relatively mild in adulthood. And I have hypothyroidism, but that's just a $10 per month medication and once a year or so blood tests. I have back problems dating back to an August 2006 auto accident, when I got rear-ended by an uninsured driver. And some chronic pain dating back to a 1995 on-the-job shoulder injury that required two surgeries before the state of Washington declared me permanently partially disabled. But even all those combined were not as draining on my (our) personal finances as this current illness.


~RaenWa~ said...

I am with you on the co pays especially on meds most of my meds have a 10.00 co-pay but there is one that I have to shell out $54 for so if I want to get all my meds refilled every month it all cost about $100 its riduculous I know exactly where you are coming from & Dr's wonder why most people can't get all their medications all the time well the prices are riduculous

Eve said...

I hit the max out of pocket after my second surgery last year. Hubby also got his max about the same time. Ours included medications. It was nice not to have to pay current medical expenses for a few months. It gave me a chance to catch up on some of the not-so-current doctor and hospital bills.