Chronic Snarkopolist: Letter to My Doctors Who are Sending Me to Collections
Hello my loves! This week I needed to send a letter to all the doctors sending me to collections for medical debt. I would LOVE to hear your letters in the comments or in thyrants! I would love to hear letters written about anything and everything in your hearts! This week – this is what is in my heart.
Dear every doctor who is collecting:
Over the last few decades I have accrued hundreds of thousands of dollars in MY SHARE of healthcare fees. I have done EVERYTHING possible to avoid debt because I’m a “responsible” Midwestern gal. I paid off every credit card each month… till I had to start putting HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS each month just for my medications to keep me alive.
I know when you look at your income you won’t see that. I know YOU just want to get paid because YOU went to school. Guess what- SO DID I. I’m sorry that this feels like an adversarial relationship. I get bills from you – labs, radiation, surgery tech fees ranging from thousands to even $11.19. I have tried over the decades to make payments but when the bills ad into the hundreds of thousands even when I’m INSURED, and I am either during my gravy time employed or worse a student making about $700 a month and spend three times that on my medical fees alone, I cannot POSSIBLY re-pay you in full.
And I’m sorry you think you cannot possibly live without making plenty of money from payments in full at the time of service. I cannot possibly live without healthcare. I WANT TO THANK the physicians and healthcare workers who have taken their time and effort to keep me alive even when I didn’t have all the money up front.
Over the years some of you have been really kind and offered to let me pay you $5.00 a week. Some of your office managers have been amazing to work with. Others of you have called me horrific names like lazy or a bum. Some of the collections agents you have employed have said, “I would have made better plans for my life.” As if any of us plans for chronic illness. Additionally- I have NEVER been rude or unkind to the agent on the phone or pointed out that I have TEN TIMES the education they probably have and I did it SICK. No – I have always been gracious and attempted to make payment arrangements BECAUSE I AM HONORABLE. I believe people should be paid. I also believe people have a right to LIVE – and part of living for me is to have my medical needs met.
When I have worked with the poor – or even the middle class or blue collar people who don’t have the means – sometimes I have ignored payment. Once, an HIV pos guy bounced a check. I ignored it. You know what he did? He decided to move to his parents in Cali and he cashed out his 401K and paid his balance of $1000 to me. I cried because I was so humbled. I would have NEVER ASKED for it. I knew his expenses. And at the time I was able to work 2 jobs and had insurance.
I have done very questionable things to have insurance – like marry assholes in non-romantic bargains – because FUCK THE MAN – AND FUCK BIG MEDICINE AND FUCK HEALTH CARE. I’m basically uninsurable without someone to marry me or IF I cannot hold a full job TRADITIONAL 9-5 (or in academia all hours job)- which I rarely can anymore without taking entire years off for treatment in between and going on cobra – and writing like I am now.
Each time I do this – I hold my breath that I don’t lose my healthcare. My insurance companies have wanted me dead since I was a little girl. And I have seen MANY healthcare providers who glance fleetingly at my bloodwork and are AFRAID of me. AFRAID to touch me. I am HUMBLED by the healthcare workers who will face me. I AM HUMBLED by the doctors who will deal with me – and that is why I work so hard to repay the ones who have worked with me the longest.
I have no savings or much retirement left because I have used it to pay for my ongoing healthcare. I want you to know that is how important it is to me. I’m sorry if you feel angry or screwed over. I want you to know that I feel dirty each time I get a collections letter. And I want you to know that you can’t POSSIBLY MAKE my credit any worse. I’m sure that is one of the reasons why my ex divorced me. Because he could never dig me out of such an enormous economic medical hole. Even doing bankruptcy NOW wouldn’t stop the debts that incur in the future.
I’m not a bad person. And I want you to know I don’t think you are either. Only two of your office staff managers ever been rude in all this time and one made cry by telling me I couldn’t come back or speak to the doctor because I owed $223 dollars even though I had an abscess requiring an emergency surgery (that I received within one day from a really great surgeon who made several thousand dollars from my insurance) and the other was just a cunt and told me I was a bad person and hung up on me while I was trying to discuss a payment plan. “You can just discuss that with collections. We don’t need your kind here.” Neither understood there is a difference between illness and bad. I’ll chalk it up and mulligan it.
I deserve to live because I WANT TO LIVE and I have worked HARD to stay alive. And I have made important contributions to this world. So when you get really offended -and some of you have called me and directly spoken to me and acted really indignant and some of you have office managers to deal with the dirty work of money – I want you to know – I’m SORRY that I owe all so much money for my healthcare and you probably won’t ever get it because I’m currently using what I have to stay alive NOW.
You won’t ever see this letter. And I know you just think non-payment is a slacker who took advantage of you. But I will tell you this. Once, when I was working with a chemo patient, her oncologist sent me a check because she was so moved by the work we were doing and asked to work with me as well. And she did- along with her partner. And you know – I REALLY FUCKING NEEDED THAT MONEY at the time. And maybe if you open your heart sometimes you will get the money need. It is how I’ve been sustaining for ever. And ever. And ever.
Every drop of debt on my credit cards and in collections right now has gone to keep alive. I call that honorable debt. And I just want you to know that if you are feeling bitter right now, the only promise I can make is that I try every day to touch the world and make it better and contribute since financially I am not able. I’m sorry I owe you money.
Thank you for reading the letter to my collecting healthcare providers. I’d love your comments. I’d love to know your experiences. Some of you have similar experiences some don’t. You’re the best!
I’ll be back next week! Kiss kiss!