Sunday, April 26, 2015

Got the Bill

Timing Is Everything: I think about this quite a bit, how lucky I was to have my heart attack on February 6, 2015. We all know that once we turn 65, we are forced to accept Medicare as our primary insurer; hospital coverage is free for all. I turned 65 on February 26 but Medicare started covering me on February 1. I just got a statement from my supplemental insurance, NALC, which had been my primary until February 1. The statement delineated the charges from the hospital for my two night stay and assorted charges. Total billed was a staggering $51,148.53. I’m not complaining about the amount. I received tremendous care. But that’s a lot of stuivers, shekels, pesos or Jeffersons. Medicare covered $49,888.53 while NALC picked up the modest balance. So the thought returned: if I had had my heart attack one week sooner, on January 31, NALC would have paid out 80% and I would have had a balance owing out of my pocket for over ten grand. Seeing that bill, I probably would have had a second heart attack on the spot. And if this is not a great argument for universal healthcare, I don’t know what is. I shudder to think what might have happened if I had been considerably younger and not insured at all.

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