A co-worker of mine has found himself in a very bad situation. He is 63 and planned on retiring this year from an electrician job. Unfortunately his wife has a large tumor (just found) that is very active and costs are mounting rapidly. We lost our company insurance when Obama care passed.
The man has around $100,000 in stocks built up over his lifetime as retirement monies but it is not in an IRA or any recognized retirement fund. The medical costs from this will undoubtedly take the vast majority if not all of it even though he has already negotiated lower costs for tests, cat scan, etc.
Any suggestions as to any way to get needed care (she is already a cancer survivor) while keeping something for retirement? He is obviously too old to build up any kind of fund again if these medical costs take it all?
There should be a county program that they can retro.
They are from social services, and the hospital should connect your friend to one.
(they usually work out of the hospital, not for but out of)
This might be something he can look into.
I've not heard of it, though - is it a form of welfare? Only for those near the poverty line? When we have work, it pays reasonably well, and for a childless couple that will put them outside most welfare plans I'm aware of.
That's a part of the problem, of course. He makes too much for welfare, not enough to buy insurance or pay off large medical costs.
Since he lives in America, with all our medical corruption and thievery, he is basically f@cked. Sorry.
Afterthought. Research medical tourism! I'm serious! It's turned into a major industry.
My impression is that both Canada and India are highly respected in this regard. India could be 25%(?) of U.S. cost. Both having quality care at least equal to, but more likely better than, ours.
I'm looking at some info. I'm not sure there is time (I expect surgery in a couple of days or so) for anything like this, but it is something I can mention to him. It would be a hard decision to make, though - I don't know if I would do it or not.
The time constraints really make this difficult.
Maybe at least call a couple Canadian hospitals? Who knows? Maybe they already have a system set up to handle this kind of emergency situation. I very much doubt that Canada would be the ~25% like India though. I have no idea how much would be saved in this case.
Yeah. I don't know if this is even an option at this point - she is to have a cat scan tomorrow as another effort at diagnosis.
Word was surgery yesterday, after a sonogram. The sonogram did not verify the diagnosis they had, so more tests. I gather that something is very wrong and must be fixed immediately, but they don't know what yet. When they do, probably immediate surgery.
But it might not happen that way, giving some time to look into this kind of thing. About all I can do is take some information to him at this time and wait. Maybe it can help.
I can't speak to India, but if there was time, medical tourism could possibly be an option.
As far as Canada goes, their healthcare system is not ours. Care is often not readily available whenever someone wants it. When I lived in Maine, patients from Canada for MRIs and cancer care. The wait was so long in Canada, the government actually paid for care in the US. That was 10 years ago and I don't know how it is today, but I suspect little has changed.
I will do that. Thanks, Paradigm.
You know, this is a working guy - a blue collar, working man that has tried hard for a lifetime. To watch his entire future turn into a life of poverty and begging is hard to do.
Plus, it's scary. I'm in almost exactly the same boat, just no major illness. Yet.
Yes it is. It's just so frustrating - we can provide care for countless numbers of the poor, but require someone like this to give up his entire future life for the same thing after working for a lifetime to provide for that future.
There's something wrong with that picture.
There is also clinical trials that will provide service for nothing. The may have something that can help.
Otherwise the overseas medical help is good. I'm sorry for him and his wife.
My limited knowledge is that surgery is going to be imperative and immediate upon a good diagnosis.
It is possible that that diagnosis will indicate something that gives some time, though, and maybe some alternatives.
If time/logistics prevents India option:
"Canada has entered the medical tourism field. In comparison to US health costs, medical tourism patients can save 30 to 60 percent on health costs in Canada."
The above is from Wikipedia. And just because Wikipedia says it, doesn't guarantee that it is true. But I think there may be hope?
And that is a bit more to pass on. Canada should be easier to set up, and have less travel time to boot.
Update: ref 58 is Winnipeg Free Press, Dec 6, 2007. That's I think before the US dollar tanked versus the Canadian dollar. Still, there might be a ~40% savings?
@wilderness - your friend's situation is truly, so very sad....in the middle of his anguish for his wife...and decisions to make, etc.....and to be worried about how to pay for it, is just so, so, so unfair....the surgery/treatment is right there in front of him in the US and since he can't pay for it, his wife can't have it?...and for him to be trying to figure out dollars in the middle of his shock....that's just not fair.....i'm glad i live in Canada...i'm not sure of what i'd do if i was in your friend's situation. Unfortunately and fortunately my experiences with the health care system have been pretty good - however, I did have to learn to work the system and really, really fast - but not once did i even think that i couldn't pay for the help....however, if i did have to pay an enormous amount of money up front - i would have sold my house, or took out a mortgage etc.....i wouldn't have been able to consider anything else - but to give it all up to save my family's health.....so i guess that's where your friend is at - ready to put it all on the line...friends like you however are probably coming forward and trying to help out and find some answers to the money problem....
now that i've ranted a moment.....what about connecting with a local politician, state, etc....someone must know someone who knows someone who can make a quick connection with a US hospital...my god, surgeons get paid very well...pro bono...and hospitals do pretty well as well....or has the US healthcare just gone right down the drain and only the rich will get help...and everyone else?....i guess my rant has continued...
I guess i shouldn't be surprised...3 times i have passed through the US and have made donations towards someone's surgery as i've passed through some small town....i've travelled through many, many times and have donated 3 times in the last 5 years....each time i've donated, i've said to myself 'something is wrong with the healthcare system here if people have to ask for donations'...okay i'm done with my rant now i guess
She will get whatever care she needs - no question about that. If she ends up needing months or years of Chemotherapy or radiation that could change, but for now any care will be given.
It's just that it will, at his age, cost him the pleasant, comfortable life he has worked so many years to provide for him and his wife.
I can't be of any help at all with the medical issue - I barely know how to pull a splinter out of my finger. The financing, though - I'm looking at ideas to help preserve that future life for him.
I've already suggested that he transfer all his money that he can into an IRA, but the little he could put there, even though two years contribution at his age would be substantial, isn't going to make a retirement fund. The hospital can't take it that way (I think) and neither could bankruptcy, but to look forward to a life of SS payments with just a few thousand set aside?
i get it...however....ack!.....that is an expensive and short term way for the US to look at it....it'll still cost the taxpayer if someone gives up their savings now and then has to live off 'the system'....i haven't done a proper financial calculation e.g. present value vs future value of payments through SS and/or other type of social system payments...hope you know what i'm getting at
....and learn how to safely pull that splinter out wuldya?
You're right of course - it will cost the "system" more in the long run (assuming a normal life span). But the hospital and doctors aren't the system, they don't care what it costs the government in the long run, and they want their payment now.
But it's a very convoluted system, and I'm hoping there is some way around it. Something that would enable him to keep his retirement savings even though it isn't in an approved retirement account. That's the biggest problem, I think - he never used the proper, approved method of keeping his retirement monies. Had he done that for the last 40 years I don't think the bank or bankruptcy court could touch it, but the way it is - well, they'll take it all.
I'm getting better at splinters, too - I even carry tweezers in my work truck now!
Thanks, all. It's bedtime but I'll pass on these thoughts tomorrow when I see him at work.
And if anyone else has a thought, well there's always Friday too.
Just an update: cat scans today revealed a mass that will need taking care of but endoscopy showed no signs of bladder cancer, which was the original diagnosis. No cancer - that's a major relief.
To those that have replied, I appreciate your effort and concern - thank you all. The news is about as good as it could be; still a problem, but nothing like what was envisioned.
kewl!...what a relief for your friend and his wife....
nb - i was lurking and signed in to respond to your post....nite...nite!
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