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My Economy

My Economy: Anxious about medical bills down the road

Robert Garrova Oct 16, 2017
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My Economy tells the story of the new economic normal through the eyes of people trying to make it, because we know the only numbers that really matter are the ones in your economy.

Today’s installment is from Irwin Kwan, a user experience designer in Massachusetts.

There are a couple things you hear, especially from people who advocate financial independence. You know, have six months expenses, make sure your expenses are less than your income. And we have that covered.

All the costs of health care and disasters — like, God forbid, someone in my family gets cancer, and we have to start paying regular expenses — you don’t know what those costs are. You just know that they’re high. And it’s so high compared to almost anything in your life that you have to pay for.

My wife, when she was younger, she had to take an ambulance ride. It was five minutes long, the ride. And the bill from the hospital was over $10,000. She had to fight her insurance to try and get that reduced and reduced and reduced over time, until they finally agreed to a reasonable amount.

Your health is really important, and all of this stuff is really important. But you feel like there’s this weird disconnect between the way you pay for insurance and the direct value you get of it.

I guess it’s pretty timely, because open enrollment season for insurance is coming up, right? And every year, your employer contacts you and is, like, “these, these, these, these, these things have changed on your insurance.”

As I get older, I’m going to have to start check-listing these things off. And making sure “this is now covered, that’s not covered anymore… Do I want to do that?”

I’m pretty fortunate and I’m worried. I can’t even imagine what people [do] who struggle to get health insurance and then have to struggle to pay for it. It doesn’t seem sustainable. There seems like there has to be a more efficient way.

How We Survive
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