Monday, November 16, 2009

Poor health can send you broke

Everyone knows someone who has been or is currently sick. If it's just a passing flu or virus, that's not a huge problem. However, if it's something terminal or something that will affect you for the rest of your life, such as cancer or disabilities, then it will drain your finance and could send you broke.

Personally, I've been blessed and fortunate that I have been born with relatively good health. A recent injury whilst snowboarding and over a year worth of stomach pains gave me a taste of what I was missing out on medically and financially.

First health problem of the year:
The snowboarding injury to the shoulder (compacted/compressed shoulder joint) required a visit to the Physiotherapist and several weekly visits thereafter.
Initial consultation $69
Each visit thereafter $57
Total cost of physio $ 426
Total cost out of pocket $228.50

I finally had the opportunity to use my private health insurance (besides the obligatory trip to the dentist for a checkup), so that meant I was out of pocket for $228.50
Bearing in mind that private health insurance fees are now about $1100 per annum and rising.

Second health problem of the year and still ongoing:
Stomach pains and aches. This health problem is a pain in the arse and ongoing. It's random...meaning the pain onsets at random moments...after I eat and not necessarily all the time. It's irregular and can happen whenever which is highly annoying because it's hard to pinpoint whether it's a gastro, allergy or organ problem.

So a trip to the doctor for blood tests - covered by Medicare
A trip for an ultrasound $50
Out of pocket $25

Unfortunately the stomach problems are still ongoing and still need additional tests with specialist doctors to find out what the problem is.

So far, medical bills out of pocket are $1353.50 and that's not counting the cost of travelling, time wasted in medical waiting rooms, and the actual cost itself in lost working days or hours.

Colds, Flu and Viruses
A trip to the doctor is typically covered by Medicare. A box of prescription medicine is typically $30-$38 for a packet. If you don't get paid for sick days that you take off, then the total cost of being sick each day may range from $100-$200 for each day and more. I find that if I'm stuck out and about somewhere, and it starts raining - it's much cheaper to just buy an umbrella for $7 or $30 rather than rushing around in the rain and increasing the probability of getting sick.

Broken Bones and Terminal Illnesses
Now we're talking big bucks. Huge bills. Specialist and hospital bills. Out of pocket costs are typically a few thousand dollars and I've heard of bills up to $35,000 for injuries involving ambulances, hospitals and no private health insurance. Even worse, having no travel insurance and injuring yourself badly overseas. Repatriation costs are several thousands of dollars and you could be left stuck, in that country that you've injured yourself in, with no way home.

Getting sick isn't cheap. Being continuously sick will end up costing you a lot. That's why it's important to eat healthy and exercise regularly. Something that we have to try to do more often.

No comments:

Post a Comment