Literally and figuratively. Obviously different for everyone depending on income, insurance coverage, employment status, etc. But here is how it is effecting us presently. We are the family that never gets sick. Jack has been to the doctor only for regular check-ups, had about 3-4 colds so far in 2.5 years. My husband had minor nasal surgery about two years ago, that's it other than sheck-ups. Me, I've been in the hospital to have Jack, but other than that, prior to all of this, yearly check-ups. We are not the family that enjoys going to the doctor for every little thing. Therefore, I usually choose the low monthly payment insurance, with higher deductible, because hey, we are healthy! We never get sick! And if we do, we chug some nyquil, get a box of lotion tissue and we are fine. Well, apparently I didn't knock on wood hard enough this year. Because here we are.
I was laid off in July 2011. I worked a bit as a contractor from Jan-Apr 2012, but then work slowed down again, and I was pregnant. Still looked for a job, but starting to show pretty early, who in all reality is going to hire a pregnant lady? Anyway, then July 13th came and really, hire a pregnant bald lady who needs a lot of time off for appts and chemo? Yeah, and I'll be waiting up with Linus for the Great Pumpkin tonight. So what I'm saying is we have been on a limited income for a while now.
Few facts -
- Yes, I am really really lucky that we have any type of insurance.
- Yes, I am really lucky my husband has a pretty decent job, and co-workers who have known him forever and known me for about 12 years, and have been very understanding of him needing sporadic times off.
- I pay co-pays for almost everything, and $10, $20 or $50 adds up considering how many procedures and appts are needed. The first time I had chemo and they told me no co-pay I was like holy shit! Free chemo! Sign me up for all I can get!
- Some tests are not covered by insurance. The BRCA test, which determines if it was a genetic mutation that caused your cancer, is not covered. All tests, nationwide, are processed by ONE lab in SLC. I've seen a few different numbers for the test, but my cost was $3095. For one test. Which in my case goes towards my high deductible. But goodness, what if you didn't have insurance or couldn't afford this? This test shows your chances for future ovarian cancer as well. Crazy.
- Add in whatever costs for surgery (I am truly hoping after we meet the deductible most will stop but I know we will be hit up for more. That's just how it works.) and what we just paid for Amelia's birth, and we definitely feel it at the bank.
- Increased child care costs - when you have small kids, as in a very active toddler and a small new baby, and you have multiple surgeries in a month and a multitude of doctor's appts, and chemo and radiation after, you need a lot of help. Therefore, your childcare costs increase. Just another expense to add to the pile.
I'm not going over all of this say woe is us. But it is a fact, illness has a definite monetary cost. This is in addition to the not-so-tangible costs - my time away from Jack, his confusion about all of the things that have gone on, the mental games this has played on both my husband and I, the constant fear you live with when you have cancer, the things that potentially could happen - it's all a "cost". Amd there's no way to budget for the end of it, you just have to live with it on your spreadsheet.