DKA: Affording the Aftermath

Back in June of this year, I experienced a bout of DKA... with absolutely no insurance coverage.

After 3 days in the ICU, I was back on my feet.  And then the bills came.  Those 3 days in the ICU cost me more than the 4 years of college education I finally completed last year.  No idea how I can pay for this... things are already starting to go to collection.

I have insurance now, but that doesn't help me one bit.

No real point to this, other than ranting/panicking in a place where there are others like me.

This scares the heck out of me when I think about my daughter's future. Unless we get single payer national health insurance we are all going to go bankrupt.

You are also being billed at outrageous rates when you don't had insurance. Insurance companies would have to pay less than half of what you are being billed.

I had a similar experience... 3 diabetes related hospitalizations when I was in my junior year of college.  It was just a part of being young and ignoring my diabetes.  

Most important thing to do is make an appointment to go over your hospital bill with a hospital billing agent.  It's best to meet in person and ask for discounts and contest any charge that is questionable.  Then you will be set up on a payment plan.

You're also going to need to call the offices of any doctors or specialists who helped you (they'll each send separate bills) and ask for them to write off as much of their fee as possible, then set up payment plans with them.

Don't put this off.  Do it right away so it won't get turned over to collections.

Once that's done start making your payments and consider if it's best to continue until the balance is paid or best to file bankruptcy (which will impeded your credit for 7 years).

It's a touch situation, but that's reality.  Deal with it head on.  Now that you have insurance make sure to get a pump, make doctor appointments, and do whatever else is necessary to take care of yourself.  

-Jenna

Thanks!  Like I said, I was only venting. :-)   I was having one of those moments of self pity, but thanks for your advice.

My friends can be less than supportive at times.  They always know someone "worse off" or with "more severe diabetes" than me.  Sometimes, it's easier to vent online in forums like these with people like me, who have been there and know what I'm going through.

In my case, barely 10 months ago I was homeless after I was laid off from my job in Michigan.  I've spent the last two years begging for help to keep my diabetes under control, as Michigan only offered assistance to children and the disabled.  I've had to argue medical bills down before.  In the end, I was finally was forced to say "screw it" and move to Texas.

My mother and I abandoned our house so the bank would foreclose.  Not sure how much more "impeded" my credit can get at this point. :-)

Sounds like bankruptcy would be smart.  You'll have to pay a bankruptcy attorney, but you may see if there are law schools or non-profits in your area that have legal aid clinics that could help you.

That's definitely the worst part of diabetes... to be really well controlled I need a pump, tons of test strips, and endocrinologist visits.  When I haven't had insurance in my life it's hard to afford the basics.

The economy is tough now, but if you can find a job with a state agency, college or university, hospital, or anyplace else that offers good insurance, it makes diabetes a lot easier.

Take care and don't lose hope.  This is a bad time, but diabetes, job prospects, and life in general can change quickly.

-Jenna

Well, good news from the hospital.  I qualified for a charity that paid for 75% of my bill on top of economic hardship deductions.  I've gone from owing more than my entire college education down to $4,000.

That, I think I can afford.

That is wonderful.

i have been to the hospital like 4 or 5 times from not taking my insulin like i am ordered too. now i uhm.. wel im not going to the hospital but im still having troubles.

Apparently I qualified for another charity or something, my bill abruptly dropped by another $1,000.  I might actually make it here. :)