Compared to the rest of the developed world, the United States lags considerably on the matter of health care. When so much of the world has a universal health care system worked out, why does the United States insist each year on driving its citizens into debt utterly impossible to get out of? And why should people have to live in fear of going to a doctor because of the medical bill?
The following stories are bound to make you angry, but we're certain Redditor Zippy_Zofia expected that after asking the online community, "Americans of reddit, what has been your worst experience with the American health care system?"
"No idea how I'm going to pay it."
Went to the hospital when I thought I broke my ankle a few months ago. I'm in that fun income gap where I make too much for assistance but not enough to afford insurance through my employer or on my own. They checked my ankle, made sure it wasn't broken, put an ace bandage on it, and sent me home. Got the bill a few weeks later and it was $4500. No idea how I'm going to pay it.
"Had a precancerous lump..."
Had a precancerous lump growing in my chest, my health insurance said it wasn't developed enough to be covered and would be considered cosmetic unless it became larger.... so i had to pay for the entire procedure myself in order to prevent a possibly cancerous lump from growing.
"I was in shock."
I was in a horrible place mentally. I was suicidal and having anxiety attacks for the first time in my life.
Acting on the advice of my mother, I walked my broke @ss into the nearest hospital and checked myself in. Keep in mind I have no money and no health insurance.
2 hours laying in a hospital bed and a Xanax or two later I was released. The next month I received a bill for over $7,000. I was in shock. How could a 2 hour stay at the hospital amount to that much? Especially when it felt like I could get better accommodations at a Motel 6. To this day, I am still in debt. It disgusts me.
"They refused to check..."
Went into an ER for a possible miscarriage. I told them I'd had losses before and that I'd like an ultrasound to make sure everything was ok. I'd had these cramps before with my loss before that one.
They refused to check and make sure everything was ok, only did a dipstick pregnancy test even though I told them I was pregnant. And then they wouldn't listen when I said I had no UTI, that I was going to lose my child. THEY TESTED FOR A UTI ANYWAY. (It came back negative like I said it would.)
They also decided to have the nurses press and squish my uterus to see if I was actually pregnant. I was roughly 8 weeks my uterus isn't even big enough to feel in my abdomen.
They sent me home, said I was fine and there was nothing wrong with me even though I insisted.
Why did they not listen you ask??? I wasn't established with a doctor at that hospital, didn't look to be in pain, and was texting my husband and I's roommate.
I ended up in another ER on the fourth of July (two days later) from heavy heavy bleeding and lost my second child.
( I will forever be holding a grudge against that ER. V-day was my due date and my husband's birthday. I should have a child right now.)
"Call the hospital again..."
Getting a bill from a hospital for a procedure that I never had, for several thousand dollars. Call the hospital, talk to the billing department, they realize it of course could not have been me having this procedure because the person who had it was 30 years older than me, and they will correct the bill. Only to get another notice the next month. Call the hospital again, problem will be corrected. Then a late noticed the following month. Call the hospital again, told the problem will be corrected. Then get another bill the next month, rinse, repeat for 18 months.
"Eventually got a bill..."
Dad wasn't on blood pressure meds because of no insurance and couldn't afford the doctor and meds. Wound up having a stroke. Hospital pressured me for a couple weeks to get him out of the hospital and into a nursing home, but a couple of them wanted $10k-15k up front which we didn't have. Most nursing homes didn't even know how much they charged uninsured patients or just wouldn't even talk to us. Eventually the blood clot in his brain broke up enough that he was able to do a little bit on his own so he could just stay with a friend who was a nurse until he had enough rehab to live on his own.
Eventually got a bill from the hospital for several hundred thousand dollars for his 3 week stay. When he told them he had no insurance and couldn't afford it, they dropped it to about $65k as if the first bill was just a wild guess seeing if we'd pay it. He'll be paying it out of his retirement savings until he goes broke or dies.
"As this was a necessary procedure..."
I've got gum recession on my molars. My dentist told me I'd need to get it fixed surgically or eventually my teeth would fall out (not to mention the pain of having the roots slowly expose themselves).
As this was a necessary procedure, the dentist and surgeon assumed my insurance would cover it. What actually happened was that, since my teeth weren't already falling out, the surgery was classified as elective. Aetna Dental and Aetna Medical passed the buck back and forth between them until eventually telling me to go fuck myself and pay the ~$1500 out of pocket. Good thing I opted to stay awake during the surgery! That would have cost me another two grand.
The thing that really grinds my gears about this is that my insurance company is basically saying that the correct thing to do would have been to spend another year or so in pain until my mouth was really fucked up, and then they would have considered the procedure necessary enough to help. How is it even in their best interest to discourage people from solving small problems before they turn into huge and more expensive problems?
"The doctor stressed how time sensitive it was..."
My boyfriend (36) needed an amputation because he had a blood and bone infection, the bone was softening up like a marshmallow. The doctor stressed how time sensitive it was to have it removed but in the next breath told us she wouldn't be able to perform the surgery if we didn't have 25% down. We spent 2 months of our rent money trying to get his surgery taken care of. She tried to reschedule when we were $100 short. Our insurance doesn't cover preexisting conditions, which they claimed his condition was.
"I'm tired of being a woman..."
I'm tired of being a woman and having everything being blamed on my vagina or reproductive system. Both female and male doctors like to brush off pain as being normal, when we know our bodies and we know it's anything but normal. And then you end up with bills for UTIs when you go in for intense acid reflux and food blockages. "We don't know what's going on but you have a UTI, bye." And I have to pay for that because my insurance won't cover it for whatever messed up reason.
So aggravating. Luckily I was finally diagnosed, but then insurance won't cover the medication because it's "experimental."
I went to a hospital because I had bronchitis and didn't have a primary care. I told them it was bronchitis (because I've had it before.) And just asked for a quick diagnosis and the antibiotics. They said they needed an x-ray, several swabs for flu, bloodwork, and 5 minutes of listening to me breathing.
I offered to give them my insurance card, they said no need and gave me the prescriptions.
2 months later I have a $5,000 bill for bronchitis and my insurance lapsed because I lost my job. I still get calls from debt collectors because they immediately sold it off, before I even got the bill.