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Anything Could Happen

by Riana King

Okay, so my title totally comes from an Ellie Goulding song. But here’s the thing, Ellie really knows what she’s talking about, anything could happen at any moment. That’s why it’s super important to make sure you have health coverage.

This past spring marked the last semester of my senior year of college. My senior thesis was finished, I had a very light class load (including voice lessons for credit), and I found myself in the midst of planning an epic Vegas trip with my girlfriends. My life was going perfectly, until one day’s events changed everything.

I’d been having pain in my lower abdomen for a while, but I really didn’t think it was anything out of the ordinary. Then one morning I woke up and that sharp pain in my abs had grown and left me immobilized. So of course I called my parents, who panicked, and insisted that I get to the emergency room ASAP.

I rushed home and my parents took me to the ER. My fear started to fade. I had been to the ER a few times before, usually I was just dehydrated so they’d give me a saline drip, charge me $30, and get me out of there. This trip didn’t end up being the same at all. The nurse took me to have an MRI, pumped my veins full of narcotics and a surgeon came to gave me a consult:

“Riana has a golf-ball sized abscess in her lower right abdomen. It has perforated through her colon wall, which is causing her pain. The only way to fix this is through surgery. We are going to have to admit her tonight, insert an abdominal drain tomorrow and schedule the surgery for next week. Alright?”

My life took a humongous turn in that surgeon’s 2-minute visit. I went from living the YOLO filled life of a college senior to living a real life episode of Grey’s Anatomy.

I spent the next 14 days (which included my spring break) sleeping in a stiff hospital bed, eating gallons of jell-o, and having surgery.

Looking surprisingly happy before surgery

Seems like I had pretty bad luck, right? In reality, my crazy story isn’t too unique. Each year 129.8 million visits are made to the ER. Young people go to the ER more than any other age group, except people over 75. An average trip to the ER will cost around $1,233 and 13.3% of ER visits result in admission to the hospital, meaning around 17,263,400 people end up having to stay at the hospital like I did.

Once you are admitted, the average cost per day is $1,960. This means without insurance, my 14 day stint in the hospital would have cost me around $28,673 (and that’s without any added surgery costs)!!

Thankfully, I was 22 during all of this so I had coverage under my parents’ insurance plan (thank you ACA!). But as soon as I turn 26, I will be rushing to Covered CA (or if your state doesn’t have its own exchange) to compare all of my insurance options. Life is full of unexpected turns, so it really is best to be prepared! That way you can save your money for better things, like trips to Las Vegas and your student loans!


Not sure if you are covered, or how to get covered? Find your state’s roadmap for guidance!