Cars and Health Costs
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Profile photo of Laura Kolaczkowski

My sister is in the process of shopping for a new car and is struggling to find her way through all those stickers for the best deal for her. She lost her old car through no fault of her own.  Sure, you’ve heard that before, right?  But this time it really is true.

While at a stop light, out of pretty much nowhere, her car was hit in the rear end at full speed by a person who turned out to have passed out behind the wheel  due to the influence of heroin. Her car was totaled, the person who hit her car did not have insurance, and the only good thing out of this mess was no one was seriously hurt.

My sister’s auto insurance was paid in full, but yet she is getting only a fraction of what it is going to cost to put her into a similar type new car even though her car was only two years old. She is also retired, and doesn’t have limitless amounts of money to put her into another car, and she is starting at a disadvantage of less money than she began with.  For her it is critical she knows how much that car costs because her budget only has so much room for payments. She was a good consumer, shopped around and talked to many people;  she negotiated a fair price;  and is now linked into monthly payments on her new car for several years.  End of story. By now you’re saying – “what on earth does this have to do with multiple sclerosis?”  Hang in there and follow my analogy a bit further and you will see…..

Unexpected bills

Through no fault of my own, I was diagnosed with MS.  I was hit with it out of the blue, and it turned into a financial nightmare.  I had made payments on health insurance for years, and thought it would be ok.  It turns out, my insurance only covers part of my costs, so through no fault of my own, I now owe thousands of dollars on medical bills.  Not only that, these bills happen over and over and unlike a car that has a limited number of payments, my bills will keep coming.

But our similarities in stories take different paths here because unlike my sister who could shop around and know in advance what her means for mobility will cost, I haven’t a clue how much my care costs until I get the bill after my treatment is delivered.  This lack of information became even more real for me when my first infusion bill of the year showed up and I owe $4,000. This doesn’t include my costs for the insurance or the doctor visits.  I have no itemized bill that tells me this amount, nor can anyone tell me what any of my future bills might amount to.

Investing in our health

There is no greater purchase we make than investing in our health but it is a difficult and stressful task when we don’t know what that amount might be.  We buy a house, a car and everything else at a set price and know what the total might be when the deal is done. For now, I know I am responsible for 15% of my bills but what that amounts to is anybody’s guess. Why can’t we shop for medical care and walk out the door knowing what we have agreed to pay and not be faced with healthcare sticker shock?

Wishing you well,

Laura

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