The View From Your Recession

A reader writes:

I lost my job a year ago after a ten-day stay in the hospital and a two-month leave on disability. The small print shop I worked for had shrank from eight people to just three and the boss couldn't keep me on after all that. The shop is now just the owner and one long-time employee, still losing money.

I kept my COBRA going, but at $538/month, it became unsustainable. I let it lapse four months ago. Last month, I couldn't refill my high-blood pressure medications and I took my last thyroid pill on Saturday. I didn't know what I was to do. Kaiser wouldn't even let me PAY for my medications as I wasn't a member now.

I remembered Wal-Mart had these walk-in clinics. In desperation and fearing the worst, I went on Easter Sunday. The clinic was spotless, the doctor was a retired UCD Medical Center Professor who just wanted to keep his hand in and see patients, there wasn't any wait, the cost was only $59, and my prescriptions were only $9 each for a 100 days supply. Total with Wal-Mart: $86. With my Kaiser, I would have paid a $25 copay for the doctor visit and three $25 copays for each medication. Total with Kaiser: $100, but AFTER I paid $538/month to remain a member. Before Wal-Mart, my blood pressure was 123/186, today it is back down to 84/124.

My recession looks like law school in the Fall and medical care at Wal-Mart.