Today we have a case study in why it’s a very good idea to have health insurance – especially if your bank account isn’t familiar with positive territory.
In between jobs, watching the cash flow (mostly out) – holding off on buying new shoes is a sensible decision, right? Well, I thought it was. The problem is those shoes support the orthotics that make it possible for me to walk without any undue screaming, falling and other unpleasantness. It’s not like I wasn’t going to ever buy them – I just wanted to wait until I have a new job.
Oh, I had plenty of warning – stiffness, mild pain – having a heck of a time walking from point a to point b – and it has been coming on for a couple months. But those are mild symptoms and I could manage.
Until yesterday. The arthritis that has been silently sitting in my right knee for years finally had enough of the nonsense. That knee was getting a workout trying to compensate for the failing shoes – and aggravating the heck out of Arthur (as my Mom always called arthritis). Last night I barely made it into the house and was seriously wondering if I’d need an ambulance to get back out. This morning it took three hours to do morning tasks that normally take less than 20 minutes – and there was a LOT of screaming and crying doing that!
A knee that inflamed means there won’t be a new job – who’s gonna hire someone that can’t take a step without screaming? Heck, if it weren’t for the drive through breakfast would also have been off the list of things I did today. My financial life flashed before my eyes – it was a short video – and the picture wasn’t pretty.
EXCEPT I still have health insurance.
I opted out of the ambulance. Managed to get down the stairs to get out of my trailer (thankfully the neighbors were all at work by then – very little of the noise I was making should ever be heard by their kid’s little ears) and to drive. A quick stop at McDonald’s for an apple pie and free wifi got me breakfast and the phone number of the ER. At the ER I got a great parking space – and still had to call and ask someone to come out and get me. Bless them, they did.
The ER visit is covered – and while I’ll have to pay my copay in payments, I will get that paid. The follow up visit to my osteo doctor is also covered – and won’t be a problem to pay (well, other than my wallet would me much happier if we’d get some income started here). The lovely medicine that makes walking on the crutches merely uncomfortable and no longer agonizing was less than $2.00 and the crutches and ‘immobilizer’ were covered in the ER visit.
While I’m not super healthy, I don’t visit the doctor more than a couple times a year most years – I could have convinced myself not to buy insurance this year. My income is so low that the penalty isn’t an issue (a fact I have every intention of CHANGING) – yeah, I could have.
But the fact that I have insurance means I can get the care I need NOW and have a shot at a better future.
And the moral of the story is that if you aren’t in Bill Gates’ tax bracket you DO need health insurance.
Oh, yeah, and I just got the new shoes, too….