A Week Out From Diagnosis

So here it is a week & a day since I left the hospital. Exit instructions were explicit about making appointments with my primary care doctor (PCP) and the two surgeons to get all things approve and scheduled.

Last Tuesday I saw my PCP and brought him up to speed. A $50 copay to tell him what was going on in my life. He offered a bit of encouragement and gave me a Flu shot while I was there. No tests, no stethoscope, no nothing. He just had to be told what was happening in order to keep all parties happy. No wonder medical costs are out of control.

Yesterday I met with the kidney doc who reiterated what he told me in the hospital with an added issue. By the way there is a stone in the left kidney that needs to be removed before we can remove the cancer from the left kidney. Get an X-ray and schedule an ultrasound destruction of stone. (Lithotripsy)

So I get the X-ray this morning and he says the stone has moved and the Lithotripsy may not be necessary before the surgery. My choice. Bah Humbug! I don’t need those kind of choices. Oh by the way I did a little research on the Litho thing and it can damage the kidney and cause kidney failure sometimes. On top of that it is not a inexpensive procedure.

I call my insurance company and they say I will be responsible for 20 percent of all Medicare approved charges. No one seems to be able to give me any dollar figure though.

I’m on the Medicare Advantage plan which does not require a monthly premium above the normal Medicare premium. Hannah has a supplemental plan that take approx. another $300 per month but in theory covers everything Medicare does not pay. This has been great with her with her heart issues over the years. When we went on Medicare I didn’t think I needed to pay the extra $300 a month since I have been very healthy most of my life.

Some quick math. I’ve saved an average of around $250 a month for the last 5 years on Medicare by taking the Advantage plan. So if my total cost of all these doctors, hospital, and drugs exceeds $75,000 I will wipe out all the premium savings for the last 5 years. My experience with Hannah’s medical costs is that I could easily exceed that. Stay tuned.

The next question is: “Should I switch plans?” in anticipation of having some other major issue crop up between now and “Death do us part”? Oh by the way we got to decide before mid December because you can only change your plan during the year end window. Don’t we just love government run medicine???