For the past 20 years, I have had about 40 skin cancers or precancerous lesions removed by either surgery or by liquid nitrogen. Now that I am retired and my insurance coverage has drastically changed due to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, I may have to limit my skin cancer treatments. Maybe it should be referred to as the Unaffordable Care Act as it was called in a July 5, 2015 Forbes article. In this article author Richard Eisenberg stated, “…people are finding themselves facing enormous out-of-pocket health expenses — sometimes leading them to deplete their savings and rack up serious medical debt.”
I had an in-network office visit in December. The dermatologist biopsied four lesions and treated four precancerous lesions with liquid nitrogen. I just received the doctor and lab bills. The copay to the doctor was $80 on the day of the visit. I now owe him an additional $314.02 for his services. The lab charged $544.12 for pathology of the biopsies. That one visit cost $938.14. The really sad part of this story is that I have health insurance and I am scheduled to return to the doctor in February for complete removal of three of the basal cell cancerous lesions and I have several more on my legs which we have not even biopsied yet. How can I afford this medical care without taking money out of my emergency savings account? Isn’t that why we pay for insurance?
I currently pay $210 a month or $2,520 annually for health insurance and my individual in-network deductible is $6,000. My pension check is only $2,055.87 per month. My health insurance coverage (if you can call it that) takes 10.2 percent from my check. I can afford that as long as I don’t go to the doctor.
My mom, age 84, doesn’t go to the doctor to get needed care due to high costs. My late father gave up cancer treatments due to costs and quality of life issues; he chose to die instead at age 80. Am I and others headed toward that same predicament?
I do not want to spend my savings and retirement account on medical bills. That is not why I put money in my 401(k) for 25 years. I invested at least 10 percent of my income so I could travel and enjoy my retirement. With my history of basal cell skin cancer, I can see those life-long dreams disappearing in favor of paying high medical expenses and insurance payments.
Is this situation what the federal government wanted when they passed the socialized medical legislation, Affordable Care Act, and Barack Obama signed it into law in 2010? America used to have the best medical care in the world at a reasonable cost and many people traveled here for treatment. Now, many American citizens, especially retirees, cannot afford much-needed healthcare. Maybe it should be called the Unaffordable Care Act or the No Care Act.
What has been your experience?