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<<   作成日時 : 2013/01/21 23:22   >>

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医療費が退職後の希望を打ち砕く
 退職後1年、コンセプシオン氏の腹痛で発症した腹部の腫瘍は悪性ではなかったが、膵・胆・腸・胃を部分切除し消化器系の大幅な再構築を余儀なくされた。医師の請求書は7日間の入院費用を含まないで25万ドルを超えていた。入院費用の70%は割引されることになったが、医師と手術費用がカバーされるかはわからない。妻は「完済する前に死んでしまうだろう」と言う。夫婦の持病に対して月に800ドル近い処方箋料がかかっている。週給866ドルの仕事をしているが年金の支給が開始されてもずっと仕事を続ける必要がある。

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Medical Bills Crush Brooklyn Man’s Hope of Retiring
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/18/nyregion/medical-bills-crush-brooklyn-mans-hope-of-retiring.html

By JOHN OTIS
Published: January 18, 2013

画像Retirement was just about a year away, or so John Concepcion thought, when a sudden health crisis put his plans in doubt.

“I get paralyzed, I can’t breathe,” he said of the muscle spasms he now has regularly. “It feels like something’s going to bust out of me.”

Severe abdominal pain is not the only, or even the worst, reminder of the major surgery Mr. Concepcion, 62, of Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, underwent in June. He and his wife of 36 years, Maria, are now faced with medical bills that are so high, Ms. Concepcion said she felt faint when she saw them.

Mr. Concepcion, who is superintendent of the apartment building where he lives, began having back pain last January that doctors first believed was the result of gallstones. In March, an endoscopy showed that tumors had grown throughout his digestive system. The tumors were not malignant, but an operation was required to remove them, and surgeons had to essentially reroute Mr. Concepcion’s entire digestive tract. They removed his gall bladder, as well as parts of his pancreas, bile ducts, intestines and stomach, he said.

The operation was a success, but then came the bills.

“I told my friend: are you aware that if you have a major operation, you’re going to lose your house?” Ms. Concepcion said.

The couple has since received doctors’ bills of more than $250,000, which does not include the cost of his seven-day stay at Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan. Mr. Concepcion has worked in the apartment building since 1993 and has been insured through his union.

The couple are in an anxious holding pattern as they wait to find out just what, depending on their policy’s limits, will be covered. Even with financial assistance from Beth Israel, which approved a 70 percent discount for the Concepcions on the hospital charges, the couple has no idea how the doctors’ and surgical fees will be covered.

“My son said, boy he saved your life, Dad, but look at the bill he sent to you,” Ms. Concepcion said in reference to the surgeon’s statements. “You’ll be dead before you pay it off.”

When the Concepcions first acquired their insurance, they were in good health, but now both have serious medical issues ? Ms. Concepcion, 54, has emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and Mr. Concepcion has diabetes. They now spend close to $800 a month on prescriptions.

Mr. Concepcion, the family’s primary wage earner, makes $866 a week at his job. The couple had planned for Mr. Concepcion to retire sometime this year, begin collecting a pension and, after getting their finances in order, leave the superintendent’s apartment, as required by the landlord, and try to find a new home. “That’s all out of the question now,” Ms. Concepcion said. Mr. Concepcion said he now planned to continue working indefinitely.

Ms. Concepcion has organized every bill and medical statement into bulging folders, and said she had spent hours on the phone trying to negotiate with providers. She is still awaiting the rest of the bills.

On one of those bills, Ms. Concepcion said, she spotted a telephone number for people seeking help with medical costs. The number was for Community Health Advocates, a health insurance consumer assistance program and a unit of Community Service Society, one of the organizations supported by The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund. The society drew $2,120 from the fund so the Concepcions could pay some of their medical bills, and the health advocates helped them obtain the discount from the hospital.

Neither one knows what the next step will be, however, and the stress has been eating at them.

“How do we get out of this?” Mr. Concepcion asked. “There is no way out. Here I am trying to save to retire. They’re going to put me in the street.”

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