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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bankruptcy, You Could Be Next.

“Unless you’re Warren Buffett, your family is just one serious illness away from bankruptcy,” said David Himmelstein, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard.

A study published in American Journal of Medicine in 2007 concluded that 62 percent of bankruptcies in United States are partially due to medical illness and bills. Only three quarter of these patients had medical insurance. Hospital bills were the largest factor contributing to bankruptcy.

I had a knee surgery some time back and I researched an average hospital charge nation wide for a knee surgery is $36,644 and Medicare pays around $12,456. Consider what options a patient has when he makes only $24,000 a year.

A friend of mine told me about a lady who was in the hospital, requiring a specialized procedure. This procedure was not available in this specific hospital. She paid around $40,000, all of her life savings to be transferred to another facility.

I will leave the universal insurance debate to politicians and lobbyist. But I think it is a shame that on one hand we are one of the biggest economies in the world but on the flip side some of us have to struggle buying simple but essential medications like insulin. They should not struggle to decide whether they should bring in food or buy medications. Our cardiologist should not have to choose a less effective stent just because the patient is unable to afford the medications which go with it.

By the way the lady whom I mentioned above, died soon after. Share your experiences or of someone you know. 

Blog you later.

About the picture: Empty pockets, my daughter.

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