Tragic first – we need a real national health system to help prevent crap like this:
When staying alive means going bankrupt
LOMPOC, Calif. – Kathleen Aldrich, financially ruined by two bouts with ovarian cancer, is not who you might assume she is.
She raised three kids as a single mom. She worked hard for years. She had good jobs. She paid her bills. She lived in a nice house and drove a nice car. She had a decent credit rating. She had health insurance.
Now she has a record of bankruptcy and is the embodiment of the fear that nags at millions of U.S. families: that they are but one medical calamity away from losing everything. Like Aldrich, they — and perhaps you — could be.
The meat of the story isn’t captured by the intro though – to sum up, basically, she got screwed over by the combination of insurance companies and doctors not coordinating well, and by switching insurance during treatment. I’m reminded of my own “unpaid medical bill” situation, where the *bleep*ing hospital in Colorado, and (slightly less *bleeping*) HIP were unwilling to talk to get the bill paid. Much smaller bill, but the hospital was still in essentially the same position of throwing the bill to collections and refusing to deal with it.