Two of those “WTF is wrong with US healthcare” moments happened this week. We all think health insurance should improve our access to healthcare. Unfortunately, that is not always the case:
- My very dear friend was over for our Sunday queer family time. Four to five of us get together and, well, be chosen family. She was telling me about her health insurance plan and WHAT THE LITERAL FUCK. Her and her partner pay about $650 a month to have health insurance. Let it be know that they receive about $500 a month in tax credits to reduce the cost of their plan, and they STILL pay over $600 dollars a month. It gets WORSE, their deductible is $14,000. This means they have to spend FOURTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS on healthcare BEFORE their health insurance PAYS ANYTHING. Unless one of them has a major illness or accident they are basically paying $7,500 a year to then pay for every single doctors visit, lab test, and medication with their own cash money.
- Within the same week, a patient at QueerDoc need medications and labs. They have health insurance, so I sent the orders to an in-network facilities. Their pharmacy called to tell me that the patient’s plan has a $3000 deductible, so they will have to pay the full price of everything until that is reached. Here’s where the cost of healthcare gets weird:
- Spironolactone estimated retail price $167, price with free coupon $32.29
- Estradiol estimated retail price $30, price with free membership $10
- Progesterone estimated retail price $50, price with free coupon $25
- Cost of labs:
- if we billed insurance, which would not pay anything (deductible), the patient would be responsible for $440
- cost at the same facility if they pay cash $60
(This patient could pay cash for their whole years worth of labs for $240; TWO HUNDRED dollars less than they would have to pay for one month of labs if we billed their insurance)
What does this mean for us, as queer, gender diverse people getting healthcare. It means ask lots of questions before you pay for things. It may cost you less to just pay cash. Consumer Reports wrote an article that explains why paying cash can save money. You can always submit the receipt to your insurance company to contribute towards your deductible, and you can claim it on your tax return. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, if you need it. Ingersoll Gender Center does an amazing job of helping gender expansive people navigate healthcare in the state of Washington. They also can provide emergency financial assistance for hormones at times!
Here at QueerDoc, I try to make care more accessible through video visits to reduce travel costs and time off work. I also offer sliding scale to anyone. I help you connect with Ingersoll or Lifelong for care navigation, and I help navigate myself. I offer cash prices for labs which I do not mark up. All of this to make it easier and cheaper for you to be your awesomely queer self!