Gambling On Life: The Cost of Treatment In the US, Part 1

Will Leffert Gambling On Life

It has been just over 6 months since my last redesign; with each one, I have a theme. Previous themes include touching on the definition of color (as well as interpretation of humanity), the state of my own mind, and appreciating more abstract forms in life.

This time, I’m making public my experiences in the US healthcare system, especially in regards to the cost of treatment in the US.

As is noted in the introduction on my homepage, I am not well. Besides ailments I’ve been grappling with since a child, be they physical or mental, I am currently struggling with frequently severe pain due to arthritis and TMJ disorder. Every day is a challenge at some level. Some are relatively mild, allowing me to have the energy to work, move around, and smile. Other days, I wake up and struggle to move for up to an hour, and can’t find any relief.

Most days are something in between.

So, I decided to do something.

As was alluded to previously, I was given a choice. I could go to rheumatology, or pain management.

This isn’t an easy choice; I just bought a house a few months ago (as my apartment was much too limiting, and my landlord was planning on selling the building). I have limited funds in my HSA. My day job contributes to my HSA, but with the cost of treatment in the US being so high, and life’s expenses piling on to that, I can’t reasonably afford to put in enough to meet my $3,500 deductible on my insurance.

After discussing it multiple times with my GP, and my mother (who is also no stranger to the cost of treatment in the US, and previously worked as a nurse), I made a decision.

I went with pain management.

Here’s my reasoning: While a rheumatologist would be able to tackle the underlying source of my pain and give me a treatment plan tailored to it, the cost of a first visit to a specialist in the US, along with the cost of lab work, can be very expensive. I know from personal experience that I will easily wipe out my entire HSA and then some with that first visit.

Pain management gives me the chance to first find some relief, allowing me to do more paying work and put more money away for treatment in the future.

Over the next 6 months, I’ll document my visits, medication, bills, and hopefully relief as I go through the process of gambling on my own life. Follow me on Facebook or come back to my site regularly for the next chapter.