Eleven months went by before I realized that I had a serious gallbladder condition. I wasn’t 100 percent sure, but the symptoms aligned with what I was experiencing. In November of 2011 I made myself go to the hospital to get an official diagnosis. As a person without health insurance, I knew this would be an expensive adventure.
The High Cost Of No Insurance
At the hospital I was given morphine, six prescriptions and a physical exam. They also did tons of blood work and an ultrasound. These things combined cost me $3,000 total. That is a huge number for someone without a lot of cash to begin with. I only got my diagnosis of gallbladder disease. Surgery was not an option since my condition wasn’t severe enough. I was in pain for about eight hours total, and the visit took four hours of waiting. The hospital couldn’t deny me treatment, but they could hound me for every penny owed.
The worst part was taking the first steps to get out of debt. I felt nauseated facing the huge bill before me. I was told to get started with a savings account just for setting aside money for emergencies like this. I also called the hospital and asked if anything could be reduced in price or eliminated from my hospital bill. This helped a lot in lowering what I owed. Without calling in, I would have still owed the $3,000. I was able to knock my debt down to $2,200.
Keeping Up With Payments
I made payments whenever possible. I made sure to make at least one payment per month to keep my account from going to collections. When I had extra money, I made larger payments. This gradually reduced the amount I owed. It was relieving to work on paying it off, but it wasn’t easy. I had to cut back on buying things that I didn’t need.
Reaching The End
Getting close to the end of my debt was relieving. I called and asked about another reduction if I agreed to pay in one large chunk. They lowered by outstanding debt by $150. This wasn’t much, but it did make a difference in my financial situation. I was grateful for that reduction.
Ignoring debt doesn’t make it go away. Sometimes you have to dive in and tackle it from whatever angle you can. Putting it off will only make things worse.