Thank heavens we have great health insurance from Mr. Saver’s employer, because we’ve really been putting it to great use.
I have an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which manifests itself with symptoms of fatigue, cold intolerance, hair falling out, dry skin, modest weight gain, decreased concentration and ridged, brittle fingernails. It’s not just hypothyroidism — simple bloodwork shows if you have specific elevated antibodies to confirm the autoimmune disease diagnosis. I manage the condition with Synthroid, a synthetic hormone that replaces TSH, or thyroid-stimulating hormone.
I should have known something was amiss from my slow but steady weight gain over the past 6 months or so — which became so bothersome that I joined a gym down the street from my office. One visit to the endocrinologist, considered a specialist? That’s a $40 co-pay. A new prescription to increase the dosage? $25. Getting bloodwork and going back 6 weeks later to check whether it’s the correct dose of Synthroid? Another $40.
I’m also having another issue that necessitates me seeing a specialist 3-4 a month. It’s nothing life-threatening, but it’s something that does require treatment. So each of those trips is $40. Not to mention some medication that is costing about $130/month.
More recently, on Sunday, a family member pointed out a huge bruise on my forearm. It’s about 3.5 inches long and is marked in the center with a raised, white bump. I can move this lump around underneath my skin, which is extremely gross. There’s minimal soreness. The area is only slightly swollen, and I’m not running a fever. It’s possible I hurt myself while we were doing some more drywall installation on Saturday afternoon, but I would like to think I’d remember hitting my arm so hard that it left this monstrous bruise on me. If it gets worse in the next day or two, I’ll have to see a doctor.
And now, the icing on the cake: A few weeks ago, Mr. Saver started complaining of vague pain in his knees. He’s an IT tech, so his job requires him to kneel and bend to fix hardware, and carry around computer parts. What you should understand is that he never complains about anything. In the 5 1/2 years we’ve been together, he’s not gone to the doctor ONCE. They’re stiff when he gets up and down from a sitting, kneeling or crouching position, and the pain and discomfort has been progressively getting worse. So he’ll be going to our primary care provider today (that’s $20, if you’re keeping track) to determine what the next step is. I’m confident he’ll be referred to a specialist (for another $40 co-pay).
EDIT: I forgot to mention the dental cleaning and checkup that is way overdue (should be fully covered by our dental insurance) and the eye exam/contacts and new eyeglass lenses I’ll need. Wow.
So even though we have insurance, our co-pays and prescriptions cost a pretty penny, especially in a month where there are multiple doctors visits and scripts to fill. For this coverage, Mr. Saver has $110 deducted from his paycheck bi-monthly. It could be much, much worse — and it is, for a lot of people.
A Short Informal Poll — Answer in the Comments Section!
1. Do you have health insurance?
2. If so, do you pay for the entire premium, or is it subsidized by your employer?
3. What is your co-pay? Does it vary?