So, I am now getting hospital bills rolling in from the whole mystery bruise/skin cancer experience in January...and it looks like our responsibility after insurance pays will be about $5,000 (we have a $5,000 deductible per person--don't get me started on that. Right before I was diagnosed, we had looked into paying for private insurance, but after doing the math, we'd end up paying about the same out of pocket with the monthly payments that would go along with a private plan that covers what we'd need, and I'm not even sure that I could find a private company that would insure me anymore).
At OHSU, they split the faculty bill and the hospital bill into two separate bills handled by (apparently) two separate offices. So now I'm trying to make payment arrangements with two separate offices and trying to explain our situation, which is that we can commit to X per month, and I understand that may or may not be what you require patients to pay, but that is all we can do. We are budgeted to the penny--we know exactly where our money goes, and very little of it goes to "fun" or discretionary income that we can pull from. We know exactly how much we can pay each month and that is all we can do. Since Justin is in construction and his wage varies depending on the job, some months we may be able to do more, but we can't commit to that always.
Anyway, so far, I've only been able to leave voicemails that I'd like to make payment arrangements, so I've yet to talk to an actual person, but I'm dreading it. I understand that they provided a service for which they should be paid...for which we WANT to pay them....but seriously, you can't squeeze blood out of a turnip. I can commit to making a payment each month...but I'm guessing that I won't be able to commit to paying what they want me to pay (since they say in huge letters on the bill that payment in full is due within 30 days), and I'm kind of dreading that conversation.
I'm imagining that they may threaten to send us to collections if we can't pay what they want each month. I've heard different things about whether or not a hospital even can send you to collections if you're making a payment each month. I'd always heard that they couldn't send you to collections if you were paying something every month, but lately I've heard more and more stories to the contrary.
The only positive in this situation is that our ridiculous deductible has actually been met this year...which means that we could actually seriously talk about having baby #2 this year since the deductible wouldn't be an issue. Although, admittedly, there's not much of a timeline to make that happen. And I know it sounds a little crazy to be talking about having a baby in the face of all this, and I'll probably get a nasty anonymous comment saying "If you can't afford your medical bills, what makes you think you'll be able to afford another baby?!"
So to cut that off at the pass, I'd just like to say that it isn't that we can't afford the medical bills, it's just that there's a huge difference between an unexpected medical expense which the hospital expects to be paid in full within 30 days of being billed, and the extra expenses that go along with having a baby...which we'd have nine months to prepare for.
Also, it's really crazy to me that our responsibility is still $5000 even with insurance. I feel like it's a testament to the fact that something about the state of medical care in our country needs to be changed. I don't have the right answers, but I only know that it doesn't seem to be working right now.