A recent conversation with my cousin got me to thinking about how long I could afford to live.  Recently my cousin returned to her oncologist after an experimental protocol she was on failed to keep her cancer in remission.  She was prepared to pay the oncologist the $279.00 fee but unprepared for the subsequent bill she received from the hospital for $350.00.

A hospital can charge a patient for a facility fee every time they see a doctor whose office resides within one of its buildings.  This is called a user or facility fee.  Think of it as “wear and tear” or cost of maintaining the building.

However, when a hospital’s facility fee is more than the doctor’s fee, one begins to wonder if you can afford to take care of yourself.

Did my cousin really cause that much wear and tear on the building?  She wondered: “Not only do I have to figure out how to stay alive, but I have to figure out how I am going to pay for it”.

This reminds me of a conversation I had with my mother many years ago.  In addition to her monthly living expenses and the constant assessments her condo association passed to pay for the aging buildings; she had to contend with her cancer medical bills which were coming in fast and furious.  She used to joke that if she could just figure out how long she was going to live; she would know how much she could spend.

That was 24 years ago.  Not much has changed except that it is now our generation thinking the same thing.    And it’s no joke.

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