This is a copy of an email sent to Michael Moore from an online friend of mine. She gave me permission to share it:
Dear Mr. Moore,
My daughter has a feeding tube because of reflux. Without going into the details too much, she spent the first 20 months of her life needing a feeding pump and bags that hold formula that are hooked up to the pump. Those things were covered by our insurance and are supplied by a home health care organization that contracts with my HMO.
However the home health care company charges the insurance at least DOUBLE the amount that these supplies would cost if I were to purchase them myself. The pump rental was $10 per day. The bags for the pump were $7 each, at one per day. The g-tube is around $300 and my daughter's is changed every three months. When insurance agreed to purchase a pump for us, it was at a cost of amost $3000. Now, the pump is a great piece of equipment but it's not worth $3000. I can get an IPod with greater technology than this simple feeding pump for $300. It's no mystery to me why health care costs are rising. There is such a huge inflation on the cost of medical supplies.
The insurance company does not cover formula for her tube because, according to them, her mouth works fine. Does not matter that her stomach does not work fine. So every month I pay for this formula out of pocket. If I were to order it through home health, they would charge around $20 for a 6 pack of Pediasure formula. I can get it at the grocery store for $9. My child was needing as much as 4 cans a day at one point.
I cannot imagine how some familes are able to afford this. We are in debt because of our daughter's formula, ER bills, and other things. But she's getting better and we are paying off the debt slowly. My husband is a state worker with a modest salary. We don't qualify for Medicaid or WIC to help pay for my daughter's formula. I am her full time care provider. My husband and I have not been on a date since she was born 2 years ago. We cannot trust her with a babysitter and she doesn't qualify for nursing care. Someday I want to go to nursing school but it will have to wait until she's old enough and well enough to be left with someone, and until we pay off our debt.
One other thing: many insurance companies have a lifetime limit on people. Meaning, if my daughter's medical costs reach 1million dollars that's it, she's cut off from being insured by this company for the rest of her life. There are parents I know whose children have neared these limits already, and it's not hard to see why with the inflated costs of health care and supplies. They are starting to buy their own home health supplies so the money doesn't count towards the lifetime limit.I don't know how they are able to afford it.
Like I said, our case is not severe. There are thousands who have it much worse off than we do.