I have health care, but I never use it. Which is dumb. The other day, however, at the wedding, I sliced my finger open and had to get six stitches. I was wildly drunk at the time, so I really didn't mind at all. It's only now that I'm beginning to realize just how scary it was.
I've cut myself before (and shocked myself and bashed my head hard enough to leave a permanent dent, &c.) and I've always been fine. Until the doctor asked me if I could open and close my hand I had never even considered that I might have really damaged myself. Now, a month later, the finger is ever so slightly swollen, and I can only close it 90% of the way (which I understand to be a temporary fact) and this really brings home to fact that I might well have ended my violin career that night.
Then there was the bill that came, a couple weeks ago, for almost a thousand dollars. At the bottom it said, "Your insurance has been filed and is expected to pay within 45 days", which I took as an excuse to bury the bill away and not think about it. This morning, for some reason, I woke up with an overwhelming dread that I had misinterpreted it and would have to scrape up a grand--that's really not something I can do right now.
So, I called the benefits department at Northwestern, and the... person there said that if I didn't report my emergency visit to my HMO within 24 hours they probably wouldn't cover it. Helpfully, she went on to inform me that it wasn't the University's fault, that it was in the documentation that I'd received when I signed up, and that there was nothing she could do about it. Lovely.
Then I called my HMO, UniCare, and this really nice guy said that they had already processed the application and would pay everything but $200, but that now that he looked at it again he was going to re-submit it. He was canceling the payment and reprocessing it, because my co-pay should actually only be $100. He said that in a few weeks the hospital would send me another bill, for $100.