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URL:  http://boards.fool.com/the-idea-that-medical-expenses-even-30249449.aspx

Subject:  Re: Credit card debt Date:  9/7/2012  1:51 PM
Author:  MetroChick Number:  305899 of 308232

The idea that medical expenses, even extraordinary ones, can be unexpected is true, IMHO. That they can't be planned for, isn't. It's the same for purchasing almost any insurance. It's planning for things that may or may not happen but which you wish to plan for in any case.

I'm probably going to need major surgery sometime next year - can you tell me what my medical expenses are going to be, as I don't really know?

Right now with my employer-based health insurance the out-of-pocket max is $5,000. So I've been specifically saving for this - luckily I have other savings too. But my company's policy is up for renewel every April, so by April 2013 they might be on a different plan - maybe the out-of-pocket max will decline to $3,000 - maybe it will increase to $10,000. No way for me to know. And if I end up needing surgery late this year, I could get hit with that yearly $5K out-of-pocket max at the end of this year, and possibly at the beginning of next year when I'm still recouperating and going to Physical Therapy that's considered regular part of treatment.

Also I just found out that starting in 2013, the insurance is only covering 30 days worth of opiate prescription painkillers per year. From what I've read, patients having the kind of surgery I need often need painkillers for more than 4 weeks post-op - so I'll get to pay for any past 30-days out-of-pocket - and that won't get applied towards that $5K out-of-pocket max, since presciption drugs and medical care are covered as separate policies. And here's hoping I don't need major dental work like a root canal the rest of the year that could require painkillers.

I think we fool ourselves by calling it "insurance" when medical insurance is really a discount plan - and it's hard determining just how much you'll use even if the need for major surgery is known in advance.
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