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Vision Issues. I see clearer in the dark. Health Care in the US, bit of a rant..

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by noelh, Jun 9, 2011.

  1. Have had a cataract developing in right eye for awhile. Has not been a problem regarding vision until just recently. Visited my eye MD yesterday. There now exists a "patch" of tissue on the back side of the lens. Bad news it's centered. Contracted pupils result in the light having to pass through the tissue resulting in dispersion and the out of focus vision. Left eye has started to develop a cataract. Having a $10,000 deductible on health insurance policy I asked my doc how much? His fee was reasonable. The hospital fee for the outpatient procedure (only local facility) is ~$8000/eye. Thinking that's a bit high considering my option is the local anes I emailed my 1/2 bro in NZ. Cost in Auckland ~$3000. Starting to consider a trip to NZ.

    Wondering what everyone else who has had cataracts have ended up paying?

    Classic case of our warped health care system: Stopped into the hospital pharmacy to say Hi to my old co-workers. While visiting a situation arose where an outpatient cataract patient forgot to fill or just forgot at home his pre & post procedure eye drops. RPh I use to work with told me the hospital fee for those 2 gtts would be ~$200. At work today (retail Rx) I checked out what the stores retail price for cash paying person would be. ~$115. I know the hospital acquisition costs are significantly less than the retail pharmacy acquisition costs are. This is a non-profit community hospital. Hmmm... I guess high overhead costs justifies & our wonderful system allows for the excessive margin.
  2. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    Good luck and take care.

    Sorry, I can't help very much with details--I have lived mostly in Japan where this would be almost free. Public healthcare sucks...
  3. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    10,000 seems high for a deductable.

    My health insurance (half paid by me, other half employer) is only 1000. However, this does not include procedure co-pays. I wish you best of luck.
  4. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    Good luck ... I know of people who had heart surgery in India, $10,000 tops including all post care in a five star hotel. Best of luck.

  5. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I have a central serrous retinopathy (a blister) on my right retina. It causes vertical distortions and blurriness. I went to what is supposed to be the top retina clinic in the NW and $3,000 later they suggest laser surgery. I consent and go in for the procedure. They tell me that it COULD cause retinal tearing resulting in a permanent black hole in my vision. I ask if the procedure will cure my condition they said "we don't know". I ask if they know what caused my condition they said "they don't know". I ask if I leave it alone will it go away on it's own they say "maybe...maybe not".

    Undaunted I decide to have the procedure. I walk in to the surgeon's office and his assistant is pluggin and unplugging cables from the computer that controls the surgical laser muttering curse words under her breathe and asking for the manual. The surgeon enters and I express my concern (I work in IT so the situation is starting to look eerily familiar). The surgeon says not to be alarmed and the immediately calls for the manual as well. At that point I walk out. They look at me alarmed and assure me the laser is fine. I remind them that the gamma ray device in the Hulk was also fine but the computer screwup was the problem. They look puzzled. I explain that I habe a new set of glasses coming and that I would rather see how that works and then come back to the issue of the laser surgery. The assistant asks if the glasses correct the vision enough that I do not notice it will I think that it is cured. I tell I realize it's not a cue but they can give me no assurances that the procedure will work and the only thing they DID confirm is that the condition was stable and not a further threat to my vision. That being the case I was exercising my rights to leave as I felt they were not in any shape to provide me with services at that time anyway due to hardware issues and as a IT professional I wasn't about to trust a 10 year old PC that was clearly having software issues.

    In the months following that little incident the vertical distortions have all buy disappeared and the blurriness si starting to subside. It's still not 100% but better than it was.
    • Like Like x 2
  6. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England

    Wishing you the very best, and hopefully some affordable medical relief.

    Every serious health care story seems to be of the tragic nature... and about 70% of the tragedies seem to relate to the insurance company which provides NO actual care at all.

    The insurance companies just float between the medical profession and the folks needing care... skimming every last dime they can...dolling out as few pennies as possible.

  7. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    That was an heroic act and I commend you!
    If only every customer was as decided in the face of incompetence, we'd all have much better healthcare and, ultimately, government.
  8. angloasturian

    angloasturian Mu-43 Veteran


    I had both eyes done about 5 years ago (after about a six - week wait) - first the right and then the left about six months later. They put in lenses to correct my myopia so I now don't wear the glasses I've used since I was nine (I'm 64). The operations took about 10 minutes and I was able to drive home afterwards. I was given two different types of drops to apply for the following month. Cost - zero. It was all done on the National Health (which in Spain - at least in my experience - is excellent).
  9. The high out of pocket expense was my choice. This years policy is a bit better than last season. $7500 not 10,000 deductible then 80/20 for covered services. Planning for the worst & hoping for the best I'm in a position where I can deal with the costs, but would happy to find a better value. I'm happy just to have some kind of health insurance. Without a company plan I'm SOL. Past injuries & off norm blood indices has resulted in private insurance plans rejecting me. One of many people in this country. NZ has socialized medicine. The ~$3000 fee was what private care cost would be. My NZ bro assures me the quality of care is as good or better than anything in the USA. Starting to think more seriously about a long vacation down in NZ. Get both eyes repaired plus time to kick-around NZ between procedures. Think of the photo opportunities!
  10. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    I would definitely start planning this trip to visit my brother in New Zealand.
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