Last year was not bad healthwise for Babygirl - at least in the sense that she didn't spend any time as a patient inside any hospital. The day-to-day struggle stinks, but it doesn't cost much. The prize-winner in the sick-enough-to-die-twice-over contest this year was hubby. It was his turn, after all.
Hubby's hospital/emergeny admissions both in February and in July (with an appendectomy thrown in there just for entertainment) built up some substantial bills. Not as bad as last year, but....
The breakdown (annual total for the family unless otherwise noted):
Medicare premiums (Babygirl): $1258.
Prescription copayments: $1796 ($150/month!)
Dental: $2460 (that was mostly me - root canal and all that.)
Eyecare: $1106 (Babygirl has really bad eyes and I'm STUNNED by the cost of glasses)
Hospital and ER: $4311
Tolls and parking: $266
Mileage: 3586 miles (roughly 10K less than last year) @ $0.25 - $896
Total uncovered medical expenses (drumrole, please!): $12,216. Over a thousand bucks a month. And I've no idea what I pay for our family health insurance since it comes out of my paycheck before taxes, but I'm guessing it isn't less than $100/month.
I could have saved a bunch if I'd just had 3 teeth pulled instead of replacing the bridge. As it was, I still had $2000 left over that I paid off THIS year, frontloading the costs. Hubby and I could have made our glasses do for another year if we'd had to. That would have saved about $250/month, not counting whatever a removable bridge costs. But DAMN.
We are lucky. When we make choices like this we are sacrificing our future savings or giving up luxuries. Most people do not have either of those cushions to adjust the budget with. And we are blessed. Very blessed. We have no debt except the last of a car payment and a couple of years of mortgage. We live safe lives, never have to decide between food and medicine, and can afford to buy movie popcorn when we go. We can put money in the collection plate, tip the folks who make our coffee, and support our Compassion girls in the Phillipines.
My patients make tough choices with limited resources. There are reasons why the poor sport cavities and dental gaps. There are reasons why their diet choices lead to obesity, why their kids suffer the same problems. The only thing harder for a poor person to get than good dental care is decent mental health care. Choosing between cheap, filling pasta or bags of fruit that won't last the entire month is a no-brainer. I am grateful, SO grateful, that we don't face those kinds of choices.