22 February 2012

Starting Lent Off with a Bang

First off, thank you all for your kind words and prayers.

The one word I have been feeling the past week and a half is overwhelmed. If there was a state higher than overwhelmed, then I would be that.

It has been a tough time in the JellyBelly household.

It started with Mr. JB finding out that he could possibly lose three days pay from my surgeries. He had a letter for ten days, but he had to take an extra week because of my second-look laparatomy. Our school board has implemented a new absence system and they are really cracking down. He spoke to his old and current administrators and they were very helpful, but he had to speak to the superintendent of human resources so he could review his file. He spoke to him yesterday and he thinks that he was sympathetic to our situation. Mr. JB does not take days off, except to attend appointments with me or because he is too sick to go in. Please pray that he doesn't lose the three days pay, it comes out to be quite a substantial amount and we can't afford it at all.

On top of the stress of Mr. JB's situation and my crazy class I had to pay an additional $1600 in taxes for 2010. I was warned by my boss at the Ministry of Ed. that there was a possibility that I would have to pay back for my income taxes, and I did pay $700 when I filed. The reassessment was a total shock and we had to dip into money that was earmarked for my medical bills in Omaha.

Which brings me to the biggest surprise of the day: We went to an accountant to help us with out taxes this year because of all of my medical bills and we also wanted to know how much we had to buy in RRSP's (they're the equivalent of 401K's) to offset having to pay income tax. The accountant needs an invoice stating how much money we paid to the hospital and PPVI.

Mr. JB got home first and he was able to leave a message at PPVI and he was lucky enough to speak to someone in billing at Creighton. We thought that it would be a straightforward conversation, but after an hour and a half and speaking to three different people we found out that we owe A LOT more than we had been told when we left Omaha.

Health care bills are totally new to us. When I get sick I show the doctor or hospital my health card and I don't see any money change hands. We got the unfortunate surprise that our payment to Dr. Hilgers was a lot more than estimated (like $9 000 more), but we thought that we had a clear idea of how much we owed the hospital.

My were we wrong.

We found out tonight that we owe the hospital $18 000.

Yes, that is after already paying over $22 000.

Out of our own pocket.

Needless to say, we felt sick. We both cried and I spent a good half hour in the fetal position sobbing.

We have set up a payment plan that is going to force us to tighten our purse strings, but I am beside myself.

Mr. JB spoke to our financial planner and he assured him that there is a way to pay for this. We are also gainfully employed and own a house and our cars, so we won't qualify for financial aid, we did get the paperwork, but we won't qualify, I'm sure.

I feel so much guilt for having my surgery. Mr. JB assures me that it was for the best since I am feeling so much better physically, but if my stupid body wasn't so broken we wouldn't have had to incur all this debt.

I feel like God is punishing me for something, and I have no idea what it is. I've tried so hard to follow the rules and to follow His will, but the both of us feel so abandoned right now. Nothing seems to be going right.

So, I've had so much to offer up for my Prayer Buddy. As we spoke to the various people on the phone this evening I offered so many prayers for you.

I really hope that there's a light at the end of this tunnel.

I don't know how much more I can take.


  1. oh gosh, I am so sorry. Will be praying!

  2. Oh, JB. I am so, so sorry. It seems like a cruel joke. Why do kind, faithful people like you have to go through infertility and then ON TOP of that have to go into debt just to maintain their health? I just don't get it. What I do know is God isn't punishing you. I don't know why He's allowing this to happen, but I'm sure there must be a good reason. Try saying "Jesus I trust in you" over and over. I'm praying for you, as always. God, please give JB some good news!

  3. Oh, that is awful! I'm so sorry you're having to deal with all of the extra expenses. Praying things get worked out and that your financial guy comes up with a plan for you.

  4. Oh my goodness!! How terrible!!! I hate that it's costing so much...but promise me you'll try your best NOT to feel quilty because this is something that needed to be done!! I'm so very sorry you're having to deal with all of this. Hang in there, keep that head up and know you have many prayers coming your way.

  5. I'm so sorry JB! The cost of if is high in soapy ways. Money stress Simone of the worst kinds. Praying there is light at the end of the tunnel soon!

  6. I am so sorry! Medical bills add up fast and we are in over our heads too. Not sure if we will we will ever pay off my surgeries from last year.
    Praying God provides for you...even if it is not in the form of a nice $30,000 check. He will provide what you need most!

  7. I am so sorry to hear this JB. I am offering a specific suffering for you tonight.

    My husband and I have been in similar situations over the years, wondering why God wasn't coming to our aid since we were always trying to take the road less traveled and do His will. Its a mystery we will never quite understand this side of heaven, but one that I truly believe will bring purification. But its hard. Praying for peace for you.

  8. Oh my goodness...I am so, so sorry! It's all so unfair. I'll be praying for you!

  9. Oh JB- this stinks. Once the shock wears off, I pray you can hear the still small voice of Jesus. Some greater good will come of this even if you never find out what it is until you reach heaven. St. Joseph, Pray for us!

  10. I am so sorry, JB! That is just awful! I have one suggestion that may help. My sister in law has been successful at pleading poverty with hospitals and getting them to cut their bills by unbelievable amounts. It would be worth a try with Creighton to see if they will have a little mercy on you guys. I am praying for you that a solution will come about and that you will be free of anxiety.

  11. Wow. I know I heard this already, but seeing it all typed out like this is overwhelming to READ let alone live through!!

    I don't have any words. Just remember to keep calm... find peace within the chaos... you and Mr JB are ok, and will be ok. We've got your back with prayers for now.

  12. Jb, I'm so so sorry you are going through this. I, too, am one who completely stresses over bills, adoption costs, etc. I completely know how it feels and it is sickening. I know it feels horrible now, but you will get through....we always do and are stronger for it. Many, many prayers coming your way.

  13. So sorry for all the headaches. Praying for you & Mr. JB. The last surgery I had, I was billed for many things that did not occur, or I never received. My suggestion: if you haven't received the "itemized" bill, ask for one. Their excuse, they bill because they are "usual & customary" and insurance companies pay for without questioning. My overcharging was not in Omaha, but local to where I am in Michigan. Before my surgery, the doctor's surgical specialist had also given me an estimate of about $250 out of pocket expenses, when all the bills arrived I was at about $2500. That's when I started asking a lot of questions and got it down to about $500. Don't stress over it. Many prayers coming your way.

  14. Oh my gosh, JB, I'm so sorry! I'm going to be praying for you and Mr. JB and your finances as long as you need us to.

  15. WOAH that is a lot of money extra. It seems almost dishonest of PPVI not to be up front about costs. I guess they are used to people with insurance, but SHEESH. I know very few people with an extra $18k lying around.

    God is not punishing you - it just isn't how these things work.

  16. I am so sorry JB!!! Please do NOT feel guilty for this. God is not punishing you... I don't know why they weren't upfront about costs ... did you get estimates in writing? I would start with talking to them to see if you can get them to bring it down. I'm definitely praying that you can work it out to a much lower number. Hugs.

  17. I feel sick with stress reading this. You went through so much effort to make sure you understood the costs up front!! I am so confused as to why it was more (well, not totally confused... hospitals are TRICKY especially when you have to stay for extra stuff. Every little thing adds up, the bills are VERY hard to read, and the prices are higher than "market value" to make up for losses like free ER visits from folks who can't/never pay. Sigh). I just feel like someone needs to be smacked, though, for not guiding you through this better.

    Also, as others have pointed out, you may be able to negotiate a lower price. Most hospitals/doctors would rather get paid a lower amount (which would still be fair!) than not get paid because the patient just can't pay. Especially if you don't have typical American insurance coverage... some really work with you.

  18. Oh my gosh, I can just imagine how stressed out you are over this! I'm still paying off my surgery from 2009, but that's because they're letting me pay $50 a month, lol. Our insurance denied payment of most of my surgery after I thought it would be covered, so we had a bit of a shock too, but nothing in the amount that you're dealing with (Total cost out of pocket was about $6,000). I'm so sorry!

  19. Gheez!!! I'm so sorry!! That is a HUGE under-estimate. I would do exactly what the others have said and contact PPVI and ask for itemized billing and then fight it. I would be pissed and panicked!

    Praying it all gets worked out somehow!

  20. The costs associated with medical care in the US are obscene. Its the main reason why so many of that need treatment aren't getting it.

    I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Maybe a prayer to St. Jude, my grandmother's favorite, would be helpful.

  21. Wow. I'm sick over reading this. I would be in shock as well. I just can't believe the amount that wasn't covered. I could see a few thousand (maybe), but thousandS of dollars?!?!? Oh my.
    We're going to storm heaven for a solution to all of this. Like several others have suggested, give a call to PPVI and Creighton. I'm praying that you get a nice understanding lady (or man) on the line who can help you get these costs lowered.
    Hang in there! ((((HUGS))))

  22. Oh JB! How horrible!!! I almost puked when I read those numbers! I don't understand how they can make you pay so much, our wasn't nearly that much and it was the same surgery, and my insurance didn't pay at all. How can that be right?? I'm going to add this to my prayers! I wish I could hop a plane to Canada right now and hug you!!!!!!!!!

    I agree with Rebecca, healthcare costs are disgusting here.

  23. I'd hop on that plane too. HATE THIS!!! Praying!!

  24. I was so afraid that was going to happen! That is exactly what happens here...They say one thing and you get BANGED with another!

    My stay in the hospital was $80,000.....Insurance covered a portion of it but we got an EOB that we owed it all....It was seriously one of the worse days of my life!

    Mr. JB is right honey, it's just money! It will all work out...But those numbers make me sick too. :( So sorry you have to deal with that!

  25. Oh goodness graciousness...My dh and I have been talking about the costs of my upcoming surgery in the summer...you have given me a good ball park to see Dr. H. Wow! We'll have to find out what our insurance will cover (which will most likely change next school year). Yikes. Thanks for sharing. It's never a good feeling to find out you owe more for a procedure than originally planned. We've been through that before and it stinks. Praying for you!

  26. I am so sorry. That is really sickening. I have heard of others who've gone to Omaha and been able to get a reduced price with the hospital if their insurance isn't covering it. Not sure who you have talked to, but if you haven't let the hospital billing department know about your personal situation, maybe giving them a call will help. Saying some prayers for you!

  27. I hope you are able to talk to someone about this, preferably with an itemized bill - this just doesn't seem right.

    ((hugs)) and prayers

  28. Ugh! I've been praying for you since I read this days ago. I wish I had some words of advice or anything that would be helpful.

    And I'd be on that plane with Hebrews and Jenny to come give you a hug!

  29. I am so sorry! I have had bills like this show up and send me into a panic, too. I completely agree with everyone who has said to try to negotiate with the hospital and with PPVI. I believe at the time I was trying to figure out my costs through the hospital in Omaha, my insurance contract specified that they would pay 37% of the billed amount, and so the default amount they charge is huge to compensate for that. Most hospitals and doctors will quote you a lower price if you remind them that you are an "out of pocket" or "self-pay" patient. (We changed our insurance shortly after that, and so we started paying some doctors ourselves. They charged us less than 25% what they charged the insurance company.) I'm so sorry you're going through this!

  30. I'm so sorry to hear that. I think you might need to have some serious conversations with the hospital and PPVI. They don't have a right to tell you that a certain amount of care will cost one amount, and then change it to a completely different one. And (especially if they know you are paying out-of-pocket) they should be telling you up-front what additional care will cost before they insist on it (let alone perform it). In the end, they are a business just like any other business, and they have the same obligations of good faith and fair dealing. This sounds like neither.

    Just because you guys are generally in a healthy financial position doesn't mean you have nothing to bargain with, either...if you can find out what other people who got the same treatment were billed (that their insurance companies paid) I might start bargaining there. Hospitals and doctors have contracts with insurance companies that say how much they can charge for certain kinds of treatment. Those without insurance are charged a completely different (much higher) rate. They call that the standard rate, but of course the standard rate is what's most often paid - the lower rate (because most American patients have insurance). They are basically ripping off the uninsured. If they would be willing to provide those services to someone else for less, they can provide them to you for that amount too. Don't take this lying down - tell them they need to lower their rates, that they lied to you, and that you are considering having them investigated by the state for consumer fraud. I'm not joking. Canadians have a reputation for being "nice" - it doesn't get you anywhere. You have options. Fight back.

    Also - I have to say, I have always believed PPVI is over-hyped. I'm glad they've helped a lot of people (and it sounds like, medically speaking, they've helped YOU, which is a blessing), but a lot of Catholics act as though Dr. Hilgers were the 13th apostle. If he touts himself as an angel of healing but allows his patients to be financially ruined and deceives them about the cost, I'm not all that impressed with his "good person" status. The halo that a lot of credulous people have put on that man needs to be taken down, stat.

    I'm sorry you guys are going through this. You'll be in my prayers.

  31. This really makes me angry, and I know your a kind nice woman of faith, but, I'm not, so I have to say this, what the hell? They quoted you one thing and then freaking double it? That's complete and total BS. They should be ashamed(and they do it all with God backing them?!), how is this even remotely okay?

    It's wrong JB. Plain wrong.

    (and please please please banish the god is punishing me from your head, why would god punish you and not punish pedophiles, murderers, rapists and everyone else).

    And think of it this way, 40k is 2 ivf cycles, and you could have paid that and have no baby (and not feel healthy).

    Sorry for ranting on your blog, but I feel like these guys are bullies that are unfairly punishing you.

  32. I am just getting caught up with recent blog postings.......and I must say this STINKS! So so frustrating for you and Mr JB. Ughhhhhhh!!!!!

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