Why We Are Going to be Broke in May

It has been four weeks since my husband had his surgery and one week since we got the bill for it. Well, we only got the hospital bill, not the doctor or anesthesiologist bill yet.

The total bill from the hospital for four days of stay was $19,000. Add to that the doctor charge for performing surgery and follow up appointments and whatever the anesthesiologist kicks in and we are looking at more than $2,000 in out of pocket just for this event. All in all we are looking at around $5,000 in medical expenses this year. This assuming nothing major happens between now and the end of the year. My youngest is supposed to have a small procedure in July but that’s already accounted for. That’s $5,000 from our own pocket. Have I mentioned to you that we are a single income family? Sigh.

At the beginning of the year we set our Health Savings Account to accumulate over the year around $3,200. Because we have realized that we will be short when we compare what we put aside to what we will end up paying, we are increasing our contributions to this account for this month only. Since this is the month my husband gets three paychecks, he has adjusted them to contribute to his HSA an additional $600 per paycheck.

So I went back to the drawing board, adjusted our budget and it seems we may make it without touching any savings. I can’t even count on the tax rebate money because that’s all accounted for.
So, let’s let this post serve as our financial update for the past month and the month forward. In summary:

  • The medical bills are killing us. Need to increase contributions to HSA.
  • Plans of saving in a Roth IRA for my husband started, but saving only half of what I initially wanted.
  • Cash savings during the month of May halted, but will be resumed in June. Savings in 529s continue. Savings for the down payment of a car continue.
  • Here are the good news: our house payment is going down since the mortgage company overshot it’s escrow calculation last year. No debt has been incurred. I am making small money using coupons, this helps our monthly budget.

Coming: The demons in my head: should I go back to work?

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  • KaKi

    Most hospitals and doctors for that matter, will work with you. We have been paying $25 a month for several months and will be paying for several years. They are just happy you will attempt to pay. We try to make one big payment, if we can, and then pay the rest off. They don’t charge interest either!!

  • Marcy

    Ugh. I’m sorry. 🙁 Sounds like you have a good plan though, and hopefully it will all work out. I also have “should I go back to work?” demons in my head. It is hard not to these days I think…Sending good wishes your way.


  • Jennifer

    It is so hard when you are hit with medical bills. We are about to be big time, Luke neurological stuff for the Aspergers will be out of network, meaning we have to be 20% of everything, up to $9200. I am dreading it! I don’t really see a way that you could have avoided this and it seems you have a good plan in the place to handle it. You can do this! I too often wonder if I should go back to work, but factor in the stress and daycare it isn’t worth it. With 2 little ones it probably wouldn’t be worht it for you either.

  • MoneyCommonSense

    The “Problem” is that the money in the HSA accumulates along the year but the bills are coming NOW. This is why we are injecting the HSA with a lot of money this month. Kaki, I will check into setting up payment plans. We can pay every two weeks whatever goes to the HSA. We even have a debit card the HSA manager issued for payments.

    As far as going back to work is an ongoing thing. I stopped thinking about it for a while but it’s back now.

  • Shelly

    Definitely negotiate when you get the bills from the hospital after insurance pays their portion. We have a high deductible plan and have had 4 premature babies in the last 5 years. Each time, one quick phone call saved us at least $500. This works for doctor bills as well, although not as well as with hospitals. Going back to work will “cost” you and your family more in the long run.

  • S.B.

    We’d had that problem with our HSA too. When our daughter was born, the HSA wasn’t fully funded – so we had to come up with the money then. We thought we were doing the right thing by spacing out the contributions through the year – but we ended up falling short.

    It sounds like you have a solid plan in place.