My husband and I have been having quite the experience with our health care coverage lately. We have different coverages, because of moving from Colorado to Washington state, and not being able to deal with the massive extra costs we faced. We are both on Medicare, but I take prescription drugs and he does not. We were on the Humana Advantage plan in Colorado, which was very excellent and only cost us an extra $20 each over and above the Medicare Part B.
Not the same animal here in Washington: the plan we had changed from $20 to $82 (each!) per month, and not very many doctors were willing to take it. Since I was in my initial year on Medicare, I had the option to opt out of the Advantage plan and go back to regular Medicare. So that's what I did. I also joined the Center for Senior Health at St. Joseph's Hospital on the recommendation of several people, and got a Medigap (supplemental insurance) plan from USAA. I also kept the Humana Medicare Part D, the drug coverage. We moved my husband over to Secure Horizons Advantage plan, which seemed like a good idea at the time. The Center for Senior Health will only take Medicare patients, not Advantage patients.
As long as you're not sick, the Advantage plan works well. But he got an ear infection last month and went looking for a clinic that would take the plan. After a long search, he found one and went to it; they gave him antibiotics and all seemed okay. Until it didn't get better, and he went back to the clinic (no doctors there, BTW, just RNs). So they reamed his ear out for a couple of hours, managed to perforate the eardrum, and sent him to a specialist later in the week. So much pain and suffering, and now it's been three weeks, he still has a hole in his eardrum but is now beginning (beginning!) to recover from his treatment. Yesterday he went back to the ENT (ear nose throat) specialist and goes again in two weeks.
And last Thursday I fell on the hike to Rainbow Ridge, really smashed my shin on a tree root, and within minutes it had swelled to the size of a baseball. Very scary. One of my cohorts had an ace bandage, so we bound it up and I walked out (only another half mile or so), elevated my leg once we got to the car, and my fellow hikers stopped at the first grocery store and I hobbled in and got some frozen peas. (These are the best to use, because they are easily broken apart and can be refrozen again and again, although they aren't any good to eat.) Everyone told me I should go to the emergency room. Well, the thought of sitting for hours, literally hours, in an emergency room to have a doctor tell me to use RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation), did not sound like what I wanted to be doing. Since this ain't my first rodeo, not the first time this cowgirl's been throwed, I have self medicated. And I don't have any doctor bills, either.
That's the same trusty package of frozen peas draped over my left leg, up on the desk. Today (48 hours after hurting it) I went to the gym and rode the elliptical trainer for 30 minutes and did some upper body exercises. Now, as I write this, my leg is up on the desk, like this, and I'm happy that it appears I've dodged a bullet. But health care in this country is broken, and I'm hoping that something is about to change.