You will be aware that healthcare costs are high in the USA. I have explained that a number of times including this post on health insurance which has some useful explanations.
However, you may not believe me when I say some of theses numbers so I have decided to explain a recent health issue that we went through with Mrs BritSimon. I’ll explain, what happened, what insurance we have and then show some pictures of the bills that are rolling in. All this in an attempt to show you how important it is to get good coverage and also understand the eye watering costs that could come from a simple healthcare issue.
So a few weeks ago my wife woke up with a severe case of vertigo. That is a feeling of dizziness, a problem often caused by an ear infection or other issue affecting the balance. My wife was unable to stand at all. Our house has three levels so two flights of stairs.
In the UK, I would have called the doctor, the doctor would have come to the house, or if needed an ambulance would have been sent and trained paramedics would have treated her in the house or safely removed her down the stairs. But this is the USA, and whilst you would think healthcare would be the best in the world (because they pay more than any country in the world per capita for healthcare), here is what happened.
I called the doctor and asked what I should do. My doctor could not treat that sort of condition so advised me to get Mrs B to an emergency room. I had to pick her up and carry her down the stairs and put her in my car. I’m 51 years old and thankfully she only weighs about 130 pounds!
Once at the emergency room we were sent to a private room. Getting seen was relatively quick – in the UK a similar unscheduled visit to an ER would have resulted in a wait of an hour or two. However, once in the ER room we did wait. We waited to see doctors, we waited for tests, we waited for a scan. In the end we were there around 5 hours, maybe 6. NHS in England would have ended up about the same. The range of available tests in the UK would have been the same. The diagnosis was inconclusive but they at least ruled out scary things like a stroke etc. During the visit she was given a drug (sedative) to relax her (a common treatment for vertigo).
OK – so about my insurance. I get cover through my employer, and my plan is considered very good coverage. As you can see below, my healthcare benefits about $22,000 a year to cover myself, my wife and my daughter for health, dental, and vision. I pay $3800 through a deduction in my salary, the company pays a little over $18,000 a year. Expensive huh. However, that does not mean I get no bills in the event of needing treatment. I was expecting bills – and they have just started arriving.
I have already received a couple of small bills where I have to pay $200/300. Those were bills for minor services while at the ER. Then today I got the bill for the emergency room treatment. As you can see the cost for a few hours in an ER for a minor issue is over $22,000. I have to pay $1100 of that as well as the other few hundred dollars I already mentioned.
So please understand. You do not want to under estimate the cost of healthcare. Do not be without insurance. If you have some savings, it can quickly be wiped out by a medical bill.
May 9, 2016 at 16:25
My sponser is a USA citizen but he is around 63 years old and has a family but he is still working there and earning a decent income.
Im a single applicant.
Do you think my sponser is okay?
May 9, 2016 at 16:48
May 11, 2016 at 06:00
Hi brit Im a single applicant
My sponsers annual income is around 13K USD
Do you think thats enough to sponser me?
May 11, 2016 at 15:38
May 11, 2016 at 06:16
And he stays in the Newyork
May 11, 2016 at 06:16
Is it enough?
May 14, 2016 at 09:21
hi brit in the i134 form sponser just ticked i intend without any explanation will the form be acceptable?
May 14, 2016 at 14:08
You should get your sponsor to correct the form.
May 14, 2016 at 16:21
So Simon if its ticked i intend and no explanation do you think they wont accept it?
May 14, 2016 at 16:37
May 14, 2016 at 09:22
Also simon he has mistyped his annual income in the form what can i do now?
May 14, 2016 at 09:25
Can I prove with the IRS real income?
June 29, 2016 at 00:32
We are a couple of new dv winners that recently came in NY. We applied for free health insurance as none of us is currently working and we were told by the Health worker ( the lady we met at a health center to apply for insurance) that it is okay to apply and we would get the free insurance as long as we are not gaining any income, and that after a year at the reevaluation they would determine if and how much we would pay if we would be working by than. I just wanted to make sure with you that that is okay and it’s not going to be a charge for the state and will not affect our status in any way or the sponsor family that signed our affidavit of support.
Thank you in advance.
June 29, 2016 at 00:39
I don’t know specifics about that type of health policy, but you are right to be concerned as certain types of public assistance will cause problems if you try to obtain citizenship. Presumably you expect to get jobs very soon. I would advise you to buy a cheap new immigrant policy to cover emergencies, and once you have found work you can take an ACA approved plan (the cost of which might be subsidized).
June 29, 2016 at 00:53
The One we were approved is an ACA approved plan, the essential plan, alike Medicaid but for people that have less than 5 years in USA. And as we have no income all the costs are paid by the insurance and we pay no premiums. The lady told us that even if we do find jobs soon it won’t affect the insurance, because the reevaluation will be after one year, than they check the income and see what you are approved for And the system determines how much will the monthly premiums be and the percent of the bills that will be split between the insurance and us.
Just wanted to explain that, if maybe you have more info.
And do you know if there is an official page where I can check what would be called state charge or what would be a problem at the time of naturalization?
Thank you very much for the quick response and for helping.
December 1, 2016 at 18:11
I have arrived in minnisotta 5 days ago through the DV lottery and I m yet to get the ssn , I m feeling abit sick more specially on the legs and joints , i don’t have health insurance , and I wanted to go for a doctor what is your recommendation
December 1, 2016 at 19:41
My recommendation would have been to get health insurance prior to getting sick. Seeing a doctor without insurance can be VERY expensive. Get insurance!
December 1, 2016 at 19:42
February 10, 2022 at 07:40
hi simon, just read this post here, so if the one time fee resulted in over 22k for your wife, this means if you needed treatment, the insurance wouldnt be enough to cover yours? jaw drop at the prices!
February 11, 2022 at 15:26
If you are in an accident you are treated first. They then will come after you for the bill. That’s why there is a term of “medical bankruptcy”. It’s F’ing ridiculous.
February 11, 2022 at 15:29
The 22K is the amount of money I pay as the insurance premium (split between my employer and my own payments). That is not the limit that I can claim. Many medical events would have a bill running into hundreds of thousands or even millions.