Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Six Million Dollar "Dan"

Do you ever wonder what "they" do with all your health insurance premiums?

I used to think "they" spent it on fancy health insurance company Christmas office parties in Hawaii. Now I'm pretty sure they just save it up so they can spend it on me at the UCSD John Moores Cancer Center.

On Friday I go in for my second "procedure" ("operation" for all you old school types). "They" (not the insurance company "they", the Cancer Center "they") are going to install a "pass-port" into my chest to make it easier on everyone to administer chemo therapy.

"What's a pass-port"? Good question.

I thought chemo was like getting a shot in your arm. Apparently it's a little more involved - like a couple of hours of having health care practitioners pouring acid into your body. I guess doing it the old fashioned way through an IV in your arm runs the risk of messing up your arm veins (or your arm skin if the chemo fluid accidentally leaks out!)

So with the port "they" implant a little hollow squeeze box under your chest skin (no, not an accordion) that's about the size of six old silver dollars that has a tube that is inserted into one of the "big" veins in your chest. (Cool, huh?) Apparently, the basic idea is - if you're going to take a caustic pee somewhere, is it better to pee caustic fluid into a straw (you're holding in your hand) or into the Mississippi river standing on a cliff?

So anyway, I'm getting the port installed on Friday. They say it's a real operation but instead of general anesthesia I just get "sedated".

How does all this make me the "Six Million dollar Dan"? Well I was Googling the port procedure and one blog I found said "they" charge $5,000 for the procedure. It got me started thinking, "How much does having Cancer cost?"

Fortunately we have PPO insurance where we can kind of pick our doctors but we still have to pick up 20% of the cost of the dinner. I shopped around for the MRI, the first test that began this journey. After hearing I likely had lymphoma after the MRI I kind of stopped shopping around.

Bottom line? Pay your health insurance premiums first, buy food second!


Jessie O said...

My Hickman port cost about 2K, but being an in-patient is what really blows through the dough--it runs around 9 grand a DAY. Holey Moley. I was diagnosed in January and I'm just starting to see a lot of what my insurance paid for. We just hit the 300K mark. Insurance is awesome. Good luck!

Myndcaster said...

oooo crap. now i'm terrified. i just found out this is what i have and i have NO insurance... i'm self-pay. I am not eligible for insurance till my 1 year anniversary with my company---thats in october.