I almost did not repost this. For those of you going through this battle with cancer, this is the secondary issue related to being dependent on health care providers for life. Health insurance is expensive, and the deductibles are extremely high. After 5 years of ‘care”, we are in significant debt related to Shannon’s treatment, I have tried on a couple occasions to add it all up. It is depressing and was a contributing factor in my anxiety. I shielded this from Shannon, as I am sure you as a caregiver did too. Shannon feels tremendous guilt related to the bills and she should not have to, as you just read, I am a fixer, and I assured her we would be able to get through the business side of cancer and treatment. The hole keeps getting deeper, as much as we try to get out. It took a lot to ask for help during this time, and it continues. We are still receiving help in many ways, my parents, Shannon’s parents, my cousin Karen have all been supporters of health and healing. I cannot thank them enough. Cancer is devastating on so many levels, including the high cost of care. As Shannon is now utilizing some “alternative” treatments for her lymphedema, my eyes have been opened to our current healthcare system. No, this is not a rant on Affordable Care Act, it is a rant on how the system of Healthcare Providers, Pharmaceutical Companies, and Health Insurance profit from Americans being sick. Check out “The C Word” on Netflix if you want an eye-opener.
Shannon is receiving treatment currently for lymphedema, it is not covered by insurance, but insurance would pay for surgery that costs upwards of $30,000. Let that sink in. Shannon’s breast reconstruction EOB was a staggering $141,000. Her stay in the hospital this past summer was over $20,000. We did not have to pay all that, of course, but with deductibles and out of pocket cost, we were easily charged $10,000 per year, notice I said charged because we are still paying, or in collections on a lot of that. In future posts, I am going to outline Shannon’s care journey and the path we are on now of clean eating, chiropractic care, supplements, and electro-lymphatic therapy.
Journal entry by Kevin Beasley — 9/17/2013
Several people have asked in recent weeks how they could help us. We have medical insurance but with high deductibles and out of pocket expenses before our healthcare kicks in to cover 100%. In August our year restarted so we have another set of deductibles and out of pocket expenses to meet. As I posted in the previous post, our income has been affected severely. I have ignored the medical bills as long as I can, and after prayer and guidance decided to utilize technology and the internet. I have set up a giving site on www.youcaring.com for Shannon’s Medical expenses. This would be the biggest help right now.
Shannon has started physical therapy to help with the lymphedema. She will need ongoing care to help subside the swelling in her abdomen and legs. She will need to have expensive compression garments that insurance may or may not cover. It is my hope that the site will allow us to catch up on our medical bills and provide for the ongoing expenses Shannon will need to return to some level of normalcy. Her life right now is going to be managing the swelling through exercise, compression bandages, massage, and rest.
Caring Bridge allows for donations and my fear is perhaps some family and friends may have given to Caring Bridge thinking it was going to us. It does not. Caring Bridge offers a great service by allowing us to post updates, but the donations go to them and not the patients directly. www.YouCaring.com is a site that charges no fees and allows patients to receive funds directly.
We are so grateful for our friends and family that have been so generous with their time, gifts, cards etc. Cancer is scary, but we are finding that post-cancer, medical bills etc., are equally so. Thank you all for your love and support.