Thankful For Health Insurance Yet Again.

OK, so remember back when I wrote about why (from personal experience) you should have health insurance, how the doctor’s determined that I did not have leukemia, how the bills were starting to add up and how I was finally going to pay them all off? No? Well, it’s happening again…

Two weeks before we moved to New Mexico, my dermatologist removed a mole from the back of my leg. It was not all that strange looking, and if my GP had not said to have it checked out, it would have gone ignored for a very long time. So the dermatologist removed it and sent it out to be biopsied, and I sat patiently waiting for the results. The day before we left I called the office to find out if they had heard anything, but they hadn’t. Two days after we arrive here, the phone rings and it is the dermatologist – bad news, it is a melanoma, but we think we got it all. Just to be sure, can you come in so we can cut a margin around the spot?

Um, no…I just moved 1,000 miles away to a small town, I cannot make it back in.

The doctor went on to explain to me that it was a pretty shallow one and that at this point they don’t need to start drugs or any lymph node dissections, but I should have a 1cm mark cut out around where they removed the mole just in case any errant cancer cells were still there. Turns out that melanoma is the most deadly type of skin cancer, but with the one I had removed they say there is only about a 1% chance that it will metastasize into something that can kill me, and a 99% chance that I won’t have any further developments from this one spot. So anyway, I find a dermatologist here that can see me asap and do the surgery, my doctor in California faxes over the charts and info, and I got in to see him on Friday.

The hole they cut in my leg is huge and it friggin’ hurts. Bad. And it’s quite gross.

But supposedly all the cancer is gone. We will find out in a week or so when they get the biopsy back from the skin they cut off on Friday. So what was the point of this article? Get health insurance, now. I don’t care how you get it – work, private, HMO, PPO – whatever…just make sure you and yours has it. Up until October of last year, I was a perfectly fine, healthy, 35 year old male – and in the span of 10 months I have racked up medical bills for ailments that came out of the blue. And while my medical bills might be high (and would have been twice as high without insurance), at least I can A. get in to see a good doctor, B. get the tests I need, and C. get the diagnosis, surgery, and medicines that I might need.

Sure, health insurance is a rip off for 90% of the time you have it, no doubt about it. But going from seeing a doctor once a year at most to seeing several of them a few times a month for almost a year has taught me one thing – you never know what will pop up somewhere down the line, so be sure you are prepared for that type of surprise. Even if you get catastrophe coverage only, just get it. Today.

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Comments (19)

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  1. Emily says:

    David, I am so glad you went in and had it removed. I hope that nothing else comes of it. I agree that although health insurance sucks 98% of the time, having it when you need it is priceless. Rest up and heal well!!

  2. Frugal Dad says:

    I had a suspicious mole taken from my back, but thankfully all surrounding tissue was benign. My mom has had two melanoma scares, but fortunately in both cases they removed all malignant tissue surgically with clean margins. I’m glad you are staying on top of it. Hope your leg feels better soon.

  3. david says:

    Thanks guys, I appreciate the thoughts!

  4. Patrick says:

    David, you gotta stop having these cancer scares! Seriously, I hope they got it all. Skin cancer is one of those silent killers. It sneaks up on people because it isn’t something most people get checked for often. Keep us updated.

  5. David says:

    You’re tellin me! The last one was only a scare, and this was the real thing, so it seems even scarier. The docs say it was very shallow and there are no other spots on my body that indicate more of them, so it’s a good sign. You are right about silent killer though, I barely even noticed the thing. I hope everyone checks everything tonight, and get anything that looks a little strange (even a tiny bit) checked out. What do you have to lose by having it looked at?

  6. Four Pillars says:

    Wow, you should have moved to Canada (less sunlight).

    Hopefully you don’t have any more health issues!


  7. David says:

    Thanks Mike – you are probably right!!

  8. tiffanie says:

    i hear ya. I used to complain about the cost of health insurance, but figured it was best to have it, and I’m glad I did. Last October I started having really bad back/shoulder/neck pain and it got so bad I couldn’t even tilt my head forward due to the muscles tightening up so badly. Doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I went to a chiropractor. I did physical therapy. I was put on pain meds and muscle relaxers and lidocaine patches. Nothing helped. Then I started getting a rash up both of my legs. And then I started getting canker sores in my mouth and nose. I was having a lot of GI problems and ended up in the ER with a GI bleed. Finally, in February I was diagnosed with a very rare autoimmune disorder called Behcet’s. My doctor had never even heard of it. I now see specialists roughly ever 6-8 weeks to monitor my blood count and such due to meds, and I’ve had more blood drawn than I care to think about. I’m on about 6 medications a day, including 2 very expensive ones for joint pain and stomach ulcers.

    I’m 24 years old and without my medical insurance I would have surely racked up thousands upon thousands of dollars over the past 9 months. Even with insurance I’ve spent a few grand!

    To sum it all up…I agree that people really need insurance because stuff like this happens and once day you can feel find and the next you can be up to your neck in hospital bills. Great article, and I’m glad to hear that you’re ok!

  9. Sam says:

    Other than having a health insurance, you can also move to other countries with better universal care (canada, new zealand, paris) *laughs*

  10. david says:

    tiffanie, wow, that is quite a story. It’s a shame we even have to worry about coverage, but the fact is that our govt has no interest in making sure the citizens are healthy. It’s quite an embarrassment compared to the rest of the world. Hope you are able to maintain your condition with medicine!

  11. Had a couple moles removed a few months ago. Both cancer free, but one had the “potential to develop into cancer.” While that was good news, one of the incisions, which was almost two inches long, opened up and became infected. Had to incur extra costs to fix it and now am left with a gaping scar on my back. I am having the charges reviewed to see if I can be compensated for my troubles. Have you negotiated any of your fees? I have heard many successfully have.

    Hope this is a one-time event for you!

  12. David says:

    Haven’t seen what the fees are yet, but since I have spent almost $5K of my own money on medical bills since November, I am hoping that most of the stuff they needed to do will be covered as my deduct. has been met.

  13. […] David from My Two Dollars sets a prime example of why health insurance is important and why he’s thankful for having it.  I agree with him completely as I’ve had some […]

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  15. @david: “It’s a shame we even have to worry about coverage, but the fact is that our govt has no interest in making sure the citizens are healthy. It’s quite an embarrassment compared to the rest of the world.”

    Having just seen Sicko, I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. What scares me is that I have insurance, but still have to worry about whether it will cover any calamity that may befall us… like the woman in the film who was denied cancer treatment because she was “too young to have that kind of cancer…”

  16. david says:

    It is quite scary, and I hope I can even get private insurance again after my 2 issues. Thanks for the comment MITBeta….

  17. […] soon as we were getting closer and closer to having everything paid off, I got another surprise – a melanoma on my leg had to be removed and I had to have surgery to have a golf-ball sized hole taken out around the spot. Ka-ching went […]

  18. Stacey says:

    You will never regret getting health insurance even if you never have a health issue. As you said, you can not know when to expect the unexpected.

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