I founded the Carnival of MS Bloggers in 2007 to connect the growing MS Blogging Community. My vision was to become the central hub where bloggers could find each other and to feature a collection of independent patient voices.

As larger MS organizations have also begun to feature patient voices on their own websites in recent years, the Carnival of MS Bloggers is no longer the single driving force in serving this wonderful community. For that we should all be grateful.

Thank you for continuing to support me in this one-person labor of love over the years. As of now, I will be taking a break from hosting the Carnival of MS Bloggers.

Please feel free to continue to email me to alert me to new MS blogs to add to the comprehensive MS Blogging Community index.

Sincerely,
Lisa Emrich

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Carnival of MS Bloggers #17 - Insurance Edition

Welcome to the Carnival of MS Bloggers, a bi-weekly compendium of thoughts and experiences shared by those living with multiple sclerosis.

"Cash, Credit, or Co-Pay?"


Coming to us from a London adventure in the land of free health care, Nina who blogs at Planning the Unpredictable discusses Insurance.
Since going blind in May, my insurance has paid out the following:

  • $1,500 for the Eye doctor
  • $1,000 for the Neuro doctor
  • $2,500 for the MRI
  • $1,000 for the Neuro doctor
  • $500 for the Neuro doctor
  • $6,000 for three months of Copaxone
  • $4,500 for the Spinal MRI
  • $400 for the IV Steroids
  • $1,000 for the Neuro Doctor
  • $500 for the Neuro Doctor
Total: $12,900 Medical Care and $6000 Drug Coverage
Nina's Out-of-Pocket: $200
[ed. Seriously? These were the negotiated and paid rates?]
Without insurance, this might have happened:

  • Cash out my retirement
  • Declare bankruptcy (isn’t medical bills one of the main reasons people declare bankruptcy in the US?)
  • Try to qualify for a state run program which wouldn’t allow me to see a qualified doctor
  • Ignore it and not receive any care
  • Get diagnosed but unable to afford Copaxone
My life is NOT worth more than anyone else's, but since I have insurance I get treated like it is. I am insanely lucky. I was diagnosed in a week after going blind. I had no problems with insurance. Out of pocket, it has cost me less than 200 dollars. Again, INSANELY LUCKY.
For more discussion on the contrasting healthcare systems in the U.S. versus the U.K., read the rest of Nina's post.

Next up, Lisa of Brass and Ivory explains that  
Since the relapse this spring, I have finally received all the Explanation of Benefits related to the three doctor's visits, 5-day round of IV Solumedrol, and a trip through the MRI tube.
  • $710 Three Neuro Visits
  • $3825 Solumedrol Treatment
  • $6000 MRI Brain/Cervical
Total Billed: $10,535
  • $5285 Insurance Paid
  • $4550 PPO Discount
  • $700 Lisa (out-of-pocket)
Total Paid: $5,985

Who ever said MS was inexpensive? Nobody I know.

On a different note, Lisa tells us that she just received notice of yet another large rate increase for her insurance premiums.

The chart on the right shows that the greatest increases were seen in the following two-year time spans: 2002-2004 (44%) and 2006-2008 (36%).

As it stands, Lisa's policy now costs $3780 each year, still without coverage for dental, vision, or MS meds.

It's no wonder that individuals with special health considerations are getting married to gain access to insurance coverage or worse getting divorced.

Just read this NYT article.
Health Benefits Inspire Rush to Marry, or Divorce
By KEVIN SACK
Published: August 13, 2008
With health insurance out of reach for many, obtaining coverage is factoring into the decision for more couples.


With that, this concludes the 17th edition of the Carnival.

The next Carnival of MS Bloggers will be hosted here on August 28, 2008. Please remember to submit a post (via email) from your blog of which you are particularly proud, or which you simply want to share, by noon on Tuesday, August 26, 2008.

Thank you.
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