Image by Natasha Spenser from Pixabay
As the end of the year approaches, and I began to wrap up my finances, it struck me just how much I spend on health care.
Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful to have good health insurance. Where I know if something major ever happened to me, I could go to any hospital, get treated and not end up hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. But while my insurance covers emergencies, what about everything else?
My insurance does cover my occupational therapy (OT) visits, thankfully. And I have a reasonable copay for psychotherapy (again, thankfully), but because of how much I pay for insurance every month, and because a lot of the treatment I need isn’t covered under any policy I’ve come across, there are so many things my health insurance doesn’t cover that I wish it did.
Integrative medicine doctor visits: After trying countless medical doctors who didn’t seem to understand my hormonal imbalance, gut health and mental health issues, I was finally recommended to an integrative medicine doctor, or natural psychiatrist, who prescribed me all of the medications, supplements and vitamins I need to take on a daily basis. And I feel the best I have after over 20 years of feeling sick every day and not getting help. So it’s worth it.
Total average cost: $250/visit
Hormone supplements: Because of my hormonal imbalance, I was prescribed a hormone supplement, but because my supplement is all natural and thus, not FDA approved, it is not covered by insurance.
Total average cost: $55/month
Tea: As part of my hormone-balancing regimen, I was prescribed a hormone-balancing tea to drink twice daily. I also drink ginger tea and dandelion root tea to help with my abdominal cramping and bloating, and I drink Stress Ease tea and chamomile tea to help relieve my nervous system.
Total average cost: $50/month
Magnesium supplements: After receiving a consultation with my natural psychiatrist, I was prescribed a magnesium supplement to take twice a day. My OT also prescribed magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt) baths weekly to relieve my nervous system and to relax my muscles.
Total average cost: $20/month
Vitamins: My natural psychiatrist also prescribed me a twice daily multivitamin along with flaxseed oil and evening primrose oil. While the vitamins are to make sure I get my daily intake as a vegetarian, they are also to ensure I get enough vitamin D, which my hormonal imbalance robs me of. The fatty oils are also part because I am a vegetarian and part because they help support neurological activity.
Total average cost: $45/month
Probiotics: If you’ve ever suffered from gut health issues like IBS or leaky gut, you know that probiotics can be a lifesaver. I take one in the morning and one at night as prescribed by my doctor. I also take digestive enzymes when I eat foods that are difficult to digest and drink kombucha tea, but I didn’t include those in the price because they were recommended by my doctor, not prescribed.
Total average cost: $17/month
Medical marijuana: After over 20 years of being prescribed various antidepressants and having all of them cause the lining in my small intestine to bleed, I finally got a prescription for medical marijuana where the only side effect is that I have a better appetite, and thus sometimes eat more than necessary. But that is a side effect I can live with.
Total average cost: $70/month
Weighted blanket: While I realize these blankets are popular right now, I was prescribed one by my OT, and they can get expensive. Not to mention the 12-pounders do nothing for my on-edge nervous system, so, of course, I need a heavier, more expensive blanket.
Total cost: $150
Noise-canceling headphones: I tried to go without these for as long as possible because of how expensive they are. But I was recently lucky enough to get a pair as a Christmas/birthday present. Thanks, Mom and Dad!
Total cost: $300
Couples therapy: Simply put, I’ve had a lot to work through while discovering my neurodiversity, and while my husband has stayed along for the ride, it hasn’t been easy. My psychotherapist recommended couples therapy for us, which, of course, isn’t covered by insurance. I find this particularly upsetting because our reason for going was health-related (as I’m sure many cases are). We went for six months.
Total cost: $150/visit
1 visit per week for 1 month=$600/month
With monthly costs alone, I spent $257/month or $3084 total this year.
Add the one-time cost of the weighted blanket, that comes to $3234.
Add the couples therapy for six months, that comes to $6834.
Add the two visits to the natural psychiatrist, that comes to $7334.
And that’s not including what I pay for insurance each month or in co-pays. And I’m a healthy enough person who can work and afford to make these purchases.
While this isn’t news to anyone, we really should pay more attention to the cost of being, and staying, healthy.