This is your annual reminder: for those of you like us, who obtain their insurance through ACA, open enrollment started today. I just got done renewing our policy for 2019 at https://www.healthcare.gov/. The site is functioning and running smoothly. If you need to enroll, do it now, before they take it down for maintenance or some other bullshit.
Don’t forget the dental plan, if you need one.
Healthcare is now the topic people are concerned the most, and for many of us ACA is the only option when it comes to insurance. Many of us are frustrated. Tempers run high because it is literally the matter of life and death. I am leaving comments open, but a fair warning, while civil discourse is encouraged, bashing won’t be tolerated. Consider the tone and substance of your comments carefully before posting, please and remember to be kind and understanding.
It’s an important message that could be overshadowed by next week’s election, but it’s just as important! You rock for reminding people, and I hope you and Gordon and the kids are continuing to recover. =)
Adele Gleason says
We are lucky enough to have insurance as a part of my partners retirement plan. It’s not cheap, but it is enough. I know so many people for whom ACA is a actual life saver. We have to do better than this, though.
Yes. We’re not going to get it perfectly on the first try, but we can sure as heck do better than what we’ve got – and what we’ve got is already an improvement over the nothing so many folks had before.
I’m blessed to have a full time job that offers me reasonably priced insurance, with ok coverage. My husband on the other hand is a free-lance film editor, which is one of the main reasons we got married – so he could be added to my health insurance.
I’m glad it seems like it was pretty pain free for you to get yours. Hopefully it isn’t too crazy expensive and the coverage is good.
May the odds be ever in your favor! I am the queen of procrastination and missed open enrollment at work once. Don’t be like me. Enroll early.
I’ve worked the last 3 years for my state Medicaid agency, serving Medicaid clients and am so thankful that we work hard in this state to continue to get the word out – every year about open enrollment.
This is important to so many. Thanks for spreading the message!!
Mary Cruickshank-Peed says
I helped my niece fill out her stuff for 2018… just sent her an email reminding her she needs to renew for 2019…
Thanks for your reminder 🙂
I’m a licensed health and life agent in Texas. Maybe it’s different in other places, but here if you like your ACA plan, do nothing and you will be re-enrolled in that plan automatically as long as you keep paying premiums. If you want a different plan because of doctor or other network issues, you need to re-enroll proactively.
Other states may be different, of course. And since Texas has not expanded Medicaid, it can be trickier to find affordable plans because NO, the ACA does not cover everyone. There is a minimum annual dollar amount you need to make to get a subsidy.
I’m not really one to comment on how other countries choose to run themselves, but as an Australian, the notion of having to do all this work, just to be enrolled in health care is astounding to me. And the idea of my employer being responsible for my health care? I love my job, but I wouldn’t trust my HR department to walk and chew gum at the same time.
Canadian here, and while we have basic coverage through public health, I’m grateful for my employer ‘s plan that tops everything up. I know a little about the US system, but did not realize that you have to apply for coverage yearly.
Sakinah thobani says
Yes, my insurance will go up 15% for next year for the exact same coverage.
Can you tell me some more how your healthcare system works for you, personally? It is so interesting to me to see how other, likely more successful, models work. Could you include estimated costs too?
My husband and I are self employed so have to buy our insurance rather than get it through our employer. It is expensive. For instance, my son had a cold, and developed wheezing, but no fever. I took him to his pediatrician, who did a quick exam of eyes, ears, chest, etc, but no real testing as she didn’t see anything wrong. The co-pay was $30. But the monthly payment for healthcare for my husband, myself, and my son is about $1,350. But a few months ago, when he had a very high fever and a cold and we had to take him to urgent care because it was the weekend, it was $50 for visit, $300 for x-ray, and about $100 more for testing, other doctors etc. Don’t even get me started on pregnancy related costs.
Canadian here, our province is getting rid on the monthly health care fee of approximately $80 US per month per family, so it will now be free for us. My Doctor told me last week that I needed a total hysterectomy and has scheduled the surgery for the beginning of February. There will be no cost to me, although I will have to pay for the post-op prescriptions. I know our system doesn’t cover everything and you sometimes have to wait for surgery but overall most people don’t have to worry about their health care and how to pay for it.
I’ve also lived in Europe and can attest to similar good if not better systems in England and France.
I’m appreciative of the discussion about health care. I’ve relatives in the States and would very much like to understand more about your system.
I’m living in Germany and on the public health system, which covers almost everyone. You are legally required to have health insurance as a condition of remaining in the country. You pay through wages ( or if you are unemployed or an artist there are government arrangements ) a relatively small fee that goes to an insurance provider, but they have to take everyone regardless of conditions and to cover almost everything. The healthcare is really good. For instance when pregnant it covered very regular obgyn visits, my sadly quite long hospital stay, and almost all tests. I paid a bit extra for a fancy new early test for chromosomal abnormalities because I’m over 40, but that will probably be covered soon. It pays for the trips to the paediatrician, including the legally required examinations, 5 in the first year. It paid for a “hebamme” to talk with me during my pregnancy and then come visit every day the first fortnight and regularly for a few months to help with breastfeeding and other babycare.
Having said that, I think the NHS is a better model, but it was clearly being attacked and deliberately defunded and privatised when I left England 5 years ago.
trailing wife says
The English word for Hebamme is midwife.
The NHS is still under attack and as a nurse I can see that it is slowly dying.
Such a shame as I fear what will happen in the future to healthcare her in Britain.
There is a very interesting book by T.R. Reid, I forgot the name, that compares the health systems of other countries to the U.S. It brings in western European countries, Canada and China and India iirc. A very intense look at the WILL of the people in a country.
Australian here, and our system seems similar to the German system. We have Medicare ( public ) and are also required to have private health insurance otherwise you pay a penalty at tax time. But private health is quite reasonable – we pay around AU$220 per month for the family and get 70% back on extras.
I work in renal (clinical dietitian) and one client has just come through from O/S who is not on Medicare..his renal replacement therapy to keep him alive is upwards of $40 000 per year. It is free on Medicare for Australians.
Lol! Yup- Ido love being in Australia. After 11 years in the USA, it was a relief to get back to good health care.
UK here, I know we’re so lucky to have the NHS as I’m awful at renewing things so I’d probably end up without cover.
Really feel for you all on the other side of the pond
Simon Lyon says
The National Health Service (NHS) is a wonderful institution – universal health care for all funded (theoretically) by taxes. Even if you’re unemployed and on the streets you get it. Richer people can get private healthcare/hospitals but NHS doctors are top notch anyway.
Problem is … successive governments have left it massively underfunded and landed hospitals with massive debts in building the hospitals in the first place.
Now with Brexit, masses of hospital staff from top to bottom are from the EU and they’re leaving in droves because they still don’t know if they’ll have a job next year or be forced to leave the country. Better to find a safe job in Europe now.
It’s a real mess.
Katie Griggs-Trevarthen says
Its so awful isnt it? I would happily pay more in tax to keep it properly funded. I had a tricky birth with my 10month old baby. I had a wonderful birthing suite and when things took a turn, an ambulance and 2 paramedics blue lighted me to a hospital with the 2 midwives. When i got to hospital, i had another midwife to support. Then a doctor checked on me. Then after he was born i was taken to theatre to be fixed… a surgeon, a midwife, an anaesthetist, 2 assistants helped me for nearly 2 hours. Then, i had to stay in hospital overnight, i was fed, looked after by various nurses etc. All of this cost me nothing more than the taxes i pay through working. Incredible. In many other countries, my husband would be a widower.
Simon Lyon says
And all of those wonderful people are overworked, underpaid and keep being told to cut costs! The cynical fact is that governments here (of whatever party) know that they’re not going to go on strike and leave people without aid. So they just keep screwing them.
Simon Lyon says
And I’m so glad your little boy was fine in the end!
Judy B says
Canadian here,,, and darn grateful that I am.
I spent a few years of my life in the USA, and it was awful. The insurance forms were so stressful, on top of being sick, and an insurance person had to sign off on my surgery,,, shouldn’t that be a doctor’s choice?
There is such an enormous difference in health insurance and health care.
Mainland Europe here. Sure, I pay a lot more taxes than the average US citizen, but my health care insurance (and educational fees, etc) is a fraction of the cost, and the level of care is very good. However, for that kind of system to work in the US such a complete and major political overhaul would be needed, I don’t think that’s going to happen or even be possible, so it doesn’t do much good to compare really. But something better than the current system should be possible I think.
What throws me most about the US system (from what I’ve heard) is that costs for any procedure for a non insured person are 3 to 4 times higher than for an insured person – that really what the insurance company does is talk the hospital or other care provider down to a lower figure. Is that for real, or an urban myth?!
Well, it could probably happen if their parliament (congress?) was willing to all work together to plan…
…yeah, you’re right. Can’t see that happening.
Kind of wondering when Americans decided to stop using ‘Obamacare’ and now use ‘ACA’. Was it when it became evident people actually want it? ?
Republicans switched their tune when people started learning Obamacare was keeping them alive and providing good healthcare. Can’t have people approving of former President Obama (he was black, you know).
Every now and then I like to revisit the clip of a SNL music sketch called ‘Come Back Barack’. PMSL and feeling weirdly emotional at the same time.
And I’m not even an American!
He is missed.
I’m not sure what the multiplier is, but treatment is much more expensive for uninsured than insured patients. It is also more expensive if you are insured, but the doctor you see is not part of the network with whom the insurer negotiated prices.
Healthcare billing in the US has no relationship with what is provided.
For those who haven’t been so lucky as to see a major bill, providers send out overinflated and ridiculous bills, to insurer.
They then wait on what the insurer decides is a right rate, and sends them that rate, less deductibles and copays due from patient. Many of those patients have never seen the complete premium invoice from insurer. A good plan to cover an employee and spouse of mature years (or a younger couple with children) can cost equal to 1 minimum wage salary.
On the govt side, Medicare & Medicaid will only pay @ rates at what they calculate is less than it costs the provider to deliver care. No private medical facility can operate on MC alone without going broke.
So neither system as currently set up is effective.
What follows is summary of one year, after I was 55, comparing med bills to premiums, and out of pocket.
Guess who still made money.
I and my employer paid in premiums for over decade before I began to really use it.
I did not have any insurance during most of my 20s &30s.
As a cancer patient my caregivers got 9% of what their bills were. My insurer paid out less than 1 year’s premium for surgery & chemo. I had to pony up about 20% above my premium.
My current out of pocket liability is $3500 for each of us per year
Sharon Bailey says
Insurance companies negotiate rates with each hospital, doctor’s group, supplier, etc. Then they turn around and negotiate rates with each user group (i.e., company) that buys there insurance. And the difference goes to shareholders of the insurance company.
Yeah, some groups/service providers will charge more to the uninsured. That is one reason to buy health insurance, to get the negotiated fees. It is a racket! And we all must play.
I live in Washington State. There AMA process is slick and works well. But unless you are on public assistance you pay $$
It’s real. Both my pregnancies/maternity care weren’t covered by our BCBS private plan (ppo). We negotiated a lower cost with the hospital & obgyn, but was still about 15K per pregnancy. That hurt more than the deliveries.
Sabrina, I’ll give you 2 examples. My insurance deductible is about $7500. Even though they weren’t going to pay anything I went to an in-network doctor to have a cyst removed on the back of my head. I was planning on paying out of the pocket. The receptionist encouraged me to submit it to insurance anyway. Instead of paying $1500 out of pocket, I paid about $500. Again the insurance didn’t pay anything, it was just the negotiated cost.
I also pay out of pocket to see a neurologist for continuity of care. After paying up front for the visit, I was accidentally sent a bill. It was for 2X what I paid out of pocket. It was for someone insured. He also set me up for an MRI for about $300 out of pocket. When I had insurance, I paid $100 for one that totaled $1000+ to the insurance company.
So, not an urban myth.
It is real (costs different for insured vs uninsured in the US). The insurance company negotiates with a hospital or physician to pay a certain rate. The provider can charge whatever they want, but they know they will only get the negotiated rate from the insurance companies and that rate varies from insurer to insurer based on the contract. The uninsured are at the mercy of whatever the provider feels like charging.
We had some drama in my area last year when the hospital chain that owns virtually every hospital and medical practice in the area decided to drop my insurance company because the rates they offered weren’t high enough. It was eventually settled, but both sides ran tacky television commercials whining about being the wronged party and trying to paint the other as greedy and uncaring. Both sides are major multi million/billion dollar corporations, hence my lack of compassion for their “plight”.
I am lucky to have good insurance through my employer with affordable rates, as my employer pays a large portion of the cost. I fear what would happen if I lost my job and was forced to pay the entire cost of my insurance.
@Katie – Nebraska? Because we just had that ( hospital system vs insurance company ) disagreement a couple years ago. And it is still having ripple on effects.
No, unfortunately, it’s not an urban myth. We have United Health Care insurance and they contract with the local health care system. After visiting the doctor, you get an explanation of benefits that says, “This is what the hospital originally billed you”, “This is the discount that they agreed to”, “This is what we’re going to cover” and “This is what you owe”. And if you owe anything, you then get a bill from the healthcare provider.
And it’s crazy. When I had to take hubs to the ER for a kidney stone (first time around for us, so we had NO IDEA what the heck was going on), we got a bill from the ER, a bill from the Hospital (wondered about that, because we went to the ER at the hospital, but oh well) a bill for the cat scan, and a bill for the Dr. at the ER. All told, an afternoon at the hospital was somewhere north of $7,000. I asked my husband, “Who knew kidney stones were worth their weight in gold?”
Linda Anderson says
Actually the US pays more in taxes than Canada and they have good health care coverage. With rising education cost, health care providers up the amount to charge a patient.
Wow. That system of charging more to uninsured patients is just… Wow. So you get penalised for not having enough money to pay for insurance by being charged more money?! It boggles the mind…
Sara T says
Thanks for the reminder!
I am one of the lucky ones.
I work for a huge tech company so we have multiple healthcare options to choose from. And really good insurance options to choose from as well.
Also, our healthcare options from the previous year automatically rolls over to the following year so even if you forget you still have the same coverage as the previous year at the minimum.
My nephew in Canada broke his arm and waited in the hospital for 3 days before someone could set his arm (higher priority cases).
So I can’t complain about my insurance at all. 🙂
Yes ACA needs to be expanded.
And I am so thankful my 18 yr old is covered until 26 on my plan.
3 days for a broken arm? Wow. I’m in Canada and it took about an hour for my sister’s arm to get set. My Grandfather broke his ankle and had it pinned in surgery the next day.
We don’t have premiums or co-pay at all.
What Bonnie, below, says.
My family is at the Triage Clinic in our local hospital a lot (we have klutz genes) and we have NEVER waited that long for anything.
There are always extenuating circumstances and you cannot go simply by wait time.
“below” = ABOVE
3 days sounds insane. I wonder what was happening in the ER at that time, because I’ve never heard of a wait anywhere NEAR that long (and I’m a Canadian lawyer who does a lot of WCB cases; medical evidence is something I see a lot of).
You know – don’t count on your high tech company for integrity and taking care of you while sick. I used to work for Nortel – the board of Directors stole money from the Health and Welfare Trust and left the disabled and the retired pensioners with only 35% of what they had. https://business.financialpost.com/news/fp-street/employees-on-long-term-disability-the-big-losers-in-nortel-bankruptcy
Our Canadian health system isn’t perfect – there are inequities across the country because each province runs their own system BUT I oppose any two tier system like Britain’s because I think everybody is entitled to the same level of care.
Rich people donate to public health care because they have to use the same facilities (unless they choose to go another country). For example, in Toronto an anonymous donor gave $100 million to the Canadian Mental Health Association to “support the recruitment and retention of top scientists and encourage them to take chances with their research.” https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2018/01/11/a-donor-is-giving-a-record-100-million-to-camh-and-doesnt-want-to-be-named.html
I hope it’s alright to include the links to the news articles. I feel they depth to my comment.
Pfffft – “but I wouldn’t trust my HR department to walk and chew gum at the same time.”
OMG sad but SO TRUE. I work for a large county library system from California. The HR department has offered me THREE job interviews for positions AFTER they hired me. Apparently they can’t keep track of who they hired off their eligibility lists. And they are responsible for my health coverage.
If you have ever been uninsured or had family that could not get insurance, you already know how important insurance is and do not need me to preach. ACA was just a start there is so much more they could do. Let’s hope our government gets it together.
I just finished my enrollment through ACA. I did my due diligence with open enroll enrollment for the retirement system happening at the same time. They were so proud that they offered a slight decrease in premiums. It is still half my monthly pension. I was happy to find that I could get dental insurance through them. I was also happy to see that I had choices through ACA and one of the choices did include my primary care physician. I hate to have to change physicians every time the insurance changes. I end up paying for visits out of pocket for continuity of care. Thus I always choose as cheep as I can go. I just wish all these high deductible plans allowed contributions to Health Savings Accounts so I could save for a rainy medical day.
Ms. Kim says
If auto dealers can form an association to get health care, why can’t authors do the same? Or is it a matter of the amount of money dealers can kick in dwarfs what all authors together could? I don’t know how this works. My friend and her husband had a jeep dealership and somehow that’s what they did.
A lot of full time authors make under $40K per year. For them ACA offers subsidies. In addition, author income is variable. Often it’s a chunk of money followed by months of nothing. Then there are protections. Let’s say you got a group of 100 authors. If one or two of them develop major illnesses with million dollar costs, the insurance will simply refuse to insure us next year. ACA was a step in the right direction.
Thanks for reminding folks! It’s scary when people you care about don’t have insurance, speaking from pre-ACA experience. For example, my sister had her insurance cancelled because she found out she was pregnant a month after she signed up for private insurance. Apparently Aetna considered the pregnancy to be considered a pre-existing condition and she wasn’t eligible anymore for their insurance. I wouldn’t wish that level of stress and financial/medical anxiety on anyone.
30 book a mont reader says
I would like the government to either give health care for ever legal American OR get the hell out of my health care by knocking down state borders and having true competition. These halfway measures are just BS
Then never vote for a Republican. The Republicans want to destroy the ACA. As for crossing state borders, that’s a race to the bottom.
Duffi McDermott says
I have great insurance through my husband. I hate the US health system, since so many folks can’t get decent coverage.
Thank you for the reminder.
Wow, and there are people who say health insurance in Switzerland is expensive. According to that healthcare site, in the US I would have to pay approx. twice as much for insurance and get far less coverage. How on earth do people manage this? And if I understand this correctly, you cannot even be sure, you will be accepted? Over here for basic coverage incl. hospitalisation they have to take you, it is only additional coverage – like single rooms in hospitals or the right to always be seen by the most senior doctors – which the insurance companies could refuse.
We pay $2,500 per month for 4 people.
That is a lot of money. So Germany is not so expensive as I thought.
Martina D says
2500 $ oh my God. Unbelievable. I pay 800 $ for myself and two kids. The same amount is paid by my company. That means 1600 $ for complete medical care. If I would earn less I would pay less money and still get the same benefit. If I had more kids still in school I would pay not more than what I already do. I really think you Americans have it bad.
Good luck with your paper work
500 Swiss Franks (which is approx. 500 US$) for the two of us, but we do chose the plan with the highest self paid share (up to 2500 Swiss Franks per year per person) since right now, we hardly ever need medical care. Switching to the plan with the lowest possible self paid share (300 Swiss Franks per year per person) would add 300 Swiss Franks to the monthly bill, so 800 Swiss Franks for the two of us.
This is without dental care but will cover medical care for accidents as well. if you need it.
Most people are covered for accidents through their work place, university, school. In that case all accidents are covered, not just work related and with no self paid share at all.
Waiting for a doctor’s appointment: propably a few hours (some specialists may take longer, interestingly dermatologists have the longest waiting time), surgery depends on the case, but certainly not more than a few weeks. And if it is urgent, then you will have surgery almost immediately. When I broke my ankle, I had surgery within 2 hours after getting to the hospital.
We are really whine at a high level about health care in Germany. This is a good reminder that we are really fortunate to live in a country where you do not have to worry about getting an insurance and getting broke additionally to illness.
Had five surgeries in 19 months, got COBRA coverage after the FMLA ran out after the first three months and I couldn’t go back to work. Even with the “insurance rate” medical billing, it still took me four years to pay off. And the COBRA premiums were huge compared to what I paid per month through the job. The ACA is a lifeline for me, because of my health history.
Thank you for giving us all a reminder to check and renew our coverage!!
Hi, Sweden here. I pay equal to 120 dollars a year to my insurance company and is fully covered and hospital stays are for free. We pay more in taxes but never have to worry about being in debt after surgeries, pregnancies etc:)
I think it’s a kind of ‘solidarity’ that is part of ones life in Europe from birth. We are raised with the idea that you pay taxes for the good of society, even if you as an individual might not need the services these taxes provide.
This is something that I’ve heard my American acquaintances rail against multiple times… The idea of having to pay taxes for ‘somebody else’s problems’ really goes against the grain with some of them. There’s just a higher emphasis on ‘individual responsibility’ – and there’s still the mistaken idea that anyone could have a great life if they just worked hard enough.
I was raised with the idea that it’s better for me if everyone around me can pay their medical bills and get to work on time with public transport, and you never know when you may need it yourself at some point in your life.
Yup. The “Solidarity Principle” governs most European health care systems. Sadly, it is being eroded by the global trend of individualism. Add to that that other trend, of an aging population as birth rates go down, and you can see on the horizon the moment where something is going to have to give…
I absolutely agree with KarinL and Sabrina, but to the part of eroding: I did my best to counteract it with 4 kids and raised them to respect the community ;-).
1 is almost finished studying social works and 2 more have shown interest in that branch (but different parts), too.
Thanks for the reminder, I send it of to family in the US.
We’re lucky enough to have good coverage through my husband’s job. But my brother’s best friend let his insurance lapse last year after a job loss (COBRA was too expensive). He was diagnosed with a brain tumor Jan. 1 of this year and was gone by May. He eventually got on Medicaid but the costs were astronomical – his widow is going to lose their small farm and is trying to find somewhere where she can start over with her herd of goats. As if losing him wasn’t bad enough…
Oh, that is so horrible to hear. I hope the best for her.
Thank you for posting a reminder about this.
The argument that is made for having a private healthcare system like the US is the free market system – consumers can “vote” with their dollars. If they do not like the cost, service, result, they can pick up and leave. That is a nice theory. However, the free market system is based on the assumption that the consumer has perfect knowledge of all options, can make informed decisions, and gave available all that pesky information like cost data. The free market system does not work with the medical industry. Most consumers’s do not know of options for treatment, can’t make informed decisions on their care (even if they wanted to), and have no idea of what any service cost from different doctors and no way to obtain that information. And don’t mention stress involved in making those decisions in emergency situations. A few people can afford to spend the time and resources to get informed that is a limited few. Its too complicated for everyone to become medical gurus and most people are just struggling to stay ahead of the bills. And the idea that people with preexisting conditions can just walk away and change doctors is laughable.
I am fortunate to have good private insurance and can afford the deductibles. I am willing to support with my tax dollars programs like ACA if necessary. And yes, there are ways of stabilizing the markets – Alaska has had a program to do so in place for a number of years that has been working. However, the current administration has gone the opposite direction.
That “free market” system also assumes you have choices. With the merging of numerous smaller healthcare systems into larger and larger conglomerates, healthcare is trending more towards a monopoly than a free market system.
Ever wonder what businesses / industries are the biggest contributors to political campaigns ?? ?
Thanks so much for the reminder! I’m very fortunate to have decent insurance through my employer after 24 years in the same company. I’m also looking forward to my 50th birthday and want to change careers, but my single biggest fear is healthcare. We all know that one serious illness/episode/ hospital stay can basically bankrupt you in a few short weeks…..The ACA is at least minimal protection. I live in Georgia and we have a close contest for Governor this year. Healthcare is a hot topic in the campaign. Rural hospitals are closing and some counties don’t have a single general practitioner! I see the trouble my friends and family face to secure the most basic care and I cringe at how much worse it could be if the ACA is diminished. I’m not getting deep into politics, but please –VOTE for whichever candidate you think will do the job and keep health care affordable!
Jo Jones says
I am under a great health care plan. What is it? Medicare a government sponsored health insurance that anyone over 65 can get. I love having it and think that everyone should have the right to a plan that is as good as mine. I just cannot understand why they can not. Understand that Medicare is not free. I pay a monthly premium but it is much lower than most people pay for their coverage. Everyone who feels that our health care system is mess up please go and vote for people who will help make it better not tear it down.
It would be hard for the insurance companies to make billions in profits. Don’t believe me check it out. I remember my daughter crying in my arms when told she was uninsurable. She had a small son and wanted to live. She did live but our whole family paid.
As a Canadian, reading this makes me sad. Yes, we complain but thankgawd, if something happens we never have to think before going to our hospitals or doctors. For such a First World country, you have a Third World or Worse health care system, with high payments and poor people falling through the cracks.
I agree with many of the previous posters: a little more tax is a small price to pay for health care for all. I can only wish that those who scream the most about not using “their” money to help others might, at some time, find themselves without health care or the money to fund it and see what it is like to walk a mile in another’s shoes. No empathy, just selfishness.
Maggie Hurring says
Hi, New Zealand here. I currently don’t pay for health insurance due to leaving NZ and then coming back just over 4 years ago. I checked to get our family covered and found that due to all our ‘pre-existing’ conditions, it wasn’t worth our while to actually pay for the limited coverage we could get. Our public system is reasonable – although the wait times for what they term “non urgent” can be pretty long. If anyone has urgent problems they can go to emergency and are seen straight away (depending on urgency :)).
Also a kiwi, one thing I do love is ACC, any accidental injury is covered by universal insurance (in return for forfeiting the right to sue another person or entity for your injury). I had a stupid learner driver accident when I was 15 and ACC has been amazing over time.
It’s not a perfect system and it could use a rebalancing but I’m so glad to have it.
Thank you all for having the courage to speak up. The ACA is the only reason I had insurance for several years and it covered me through Cancer.
K Grove says
As a Brit, I am so grateful for the NHS.
When reading about the steps President Obama took to ensure the provision of cover & better pricing for a larger number of people including those with existing conditions, I had to wonder why the Republicans were so against it.
I continue to hope that the scheme is not repealed.
US politics are fueled by lobbying and special interest groups. Insurance companies are willing to pay a lot of money to keep things as they are. The narrative this money buys convinces many that a single payer system will result in people dying because their emergency surgery will be scheduled months away, or that the government will decide that some people are too old or expensive to treat (insurance companies do this stuff all the time anyway – see ‘pre-existing cinditions). Lots of horror stories go around about Canada, for example. Those poor souls are apparently dying right and left because no one will take out a burst appendix without a mandatory six month waiting period or some such nonsense.
There is also the legacy of the cold war at work, which has many convinced that government involvement equals communism.
That’s a VERY brief explanation of the complicated and long running propaganda campaign that has convinced many otherwise decent people that single payer healthcare will result in a slippery slope resulting in hardcore communism and a scarcity of care.
My brother has been dealing with an unknown condition that keeps stumping the doctors. It was stressful trying to get medical care with no money and no insurance but last year we got ACA. And… I’ve not been impressed. Medical care was actually better when we had to hunt down charity funds. Well, his new doctor DID manage to make some suggestions that slightly improved things, but we can’t access any further specialists. I don’t really want to just count on the mystery disease never getting worse – I want permission to do testing and look for answers!
Teresa H. says
I am a retired lawyer who specialized in family law for 40 years. This included representing people seeking social security disability benefits. I originally lived in a town of 3,000 people and now live in a city of 20,000. Forty years ago there was no insurance available for the majority of my clients. I had to stay up to date on where to send them to get get free charity care or for drugs at subsidized rates. I had a client who volunteered for a drug trial in order to get basic care. Another client got a free general exam and then referred for a free exam by a neurologist. He was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease and was dead within 6 months. Due to the exams, he qualified for disability and Medicare. Watching many of my clients suffer and hoping they would be awarded disability in order to obtain Medicare or Medicaid was disheartening. Regardless of the problems with the current system, it offered hope and access to medical care for many of my clients. The program should be expanded so that all Americans have access to quality medical care.
We are lucky in New Zealand then. We have a public health system so you can go to public hospitals for free. My local doctor cost $16 for a visit for adult and free/cheaper for babies/children. We do have private hospital cover for major surgeries etc so we dont have to worry about waiting lists and overcrowding etc. This cost $115 per month for 2 adults and a baby and we have only used once in 5 years
I have had my own business for the last 13 years. The annual insurance renewal ranks right up there with filing quarterly estimated taxes for the con side of the Self-employed pros and cons list. Every year I stop and remember the great policy I had when I was young, newly married, and employed by a company. It cost $99 a month for the two of us. At the time, I thought that the price was outrageous. Now I add 30 years, a family, self-employed, and inflation and can only laugh at the fact that I thought $99 for a platinum plan was expensive.
peggy brown says
Wow. Did not expect the comments from people in other countries. They are enlightening.
I live in Texas, like you, IA, and know how bad insurance issues can be for self-employed (husband and son). I also know for YEARS I kept working for group insurance only even though I have 2 chronic illnesses . . . really because I have 2 chronic illnesses. Thanks for the heads up. I’ll be passing it on. PBB
Almost off topic it’s mental health stress relief thank you time! New j frost book recommend really helped a tough week. Ps just wait until you need to coordinate Medicare in the mess. Pay minimum. $500 monthly plus co pays and deductible. American health care is terrible!
ACA coverage is not perfect but I agree that it’s invaluable, especially for preventive care, those with chronic medical conditions or for any medical emergency. I think some people complain about coverage, but I think that’s why it’s important to carefully review the healthcare plans and enroll in the plan best for you (eg a plan with a lower annual deductible is more expensive but may be cheaper in the long run depending on medical needs). I had received very good coverage through my employer however am currently in-between jobs, COBRA is too expensive so I’ve relied on ACA coverage which I’ve been pleased with. I’m aware that healthcare is a heavily politicized subject but I think it crosses party lines. You never know when you’ll lose coverage through your employer and require access to healthcare. For me, I hope to receive health insurance when I get my next residency position but until then the ACA has been invaluable to me. I can’t believe that Congress was discussing repealing it without implementing something in it’s place – glad that didn’t happen.
Patricia Schlorke says
I work for a major non-profit hospital system in the DFW area. Even though I have a Biostatistics doctorate, I also have a masters degree in Health Administration and Policy with the emphasis in health policy. My main job is to keep up with the federal programs the hospitals are in for both outpatient and inpatient reporting as well as what’s going on in Washington DC.
I’ve been asked by my co-workers, the majority are nurses, my take on what’s going on in our health care system. I ask them “do you want me to get on my soap box or would you like the short version?” I get the funniest looks when I ask that, but they want to know. So…I tell them. The first thing I say is the system is one big fat mess. That’s all I’m going to say on it here.
Oh! US “health care”. If only Americans could debate a topic based on facts and reason instead of emotion.
I’ll just make the comment that I find it hugely ironic that the people who pride themselves on being so pro-business have no consideration for the enormous burden that is put on employers related to providing healthcare options to employees. If you’re really all about government getting out of the way of businesses conducting business, doesn’t it make sense to at least consider removing this universal drag on bottom lines?
This is scary disturbing reading in the comment section. God bless the NHS and I will try (I’m realistic) to never moan in the hospital again.
Thank you for the reminder. I had a visitor from another country who was exposed to a bat. I tried taking him to Patient first but they won’t treat him since he already got exposed. I had to take him to the ER for a rabies prevention shot that cost me $1200. Health care is crazy expensive it’s ridiculous.
Every time I talk to anyone in the US about healthcare I am left speechless with disbelief and so terribly grateful I live in a country where healthcare is provided by the government to everyone regardless of means status. Its not a perfect system in NZ as governments have a tendency to underfund it but being on a long waiting list to get a cataract operation (for example) is better than just having to go blind because you couldn’t afford healthcare. And if you have the wealth then you can also opt for private insurance so you can get quicker service and extra comforts (a private room rather than a ward bed etc). No one should go broke because their baby needed post-natal care or their dad got cancer. The plot of Breaking Bad only works in the US – in every other first world nation Walter White gets cancer treatment and his family get no bills. So if you liked Breaking Bad there is a small silver lining. Otherwise its all just cloud.
My parents run a small business and are essentially self employed in Texas. Because they do so well, they aren’t offered any subsidies. But the number of insurance plans offered for them is extremely limited. Last year they went with an HMO, and it was an utter nightmare. My mom hurt her knee visiting me, and went to an ER. She found out she needed to see an orthopedic specialist. But, her insurance required her to see a primary caregiver for a referral (even though the ER told her….). Then, she found out her primary caregiver didn’t take HMOs, so then she had to find a new primary caregiver. She made the appointment with the new doc, told the insurance, and they told her she would have to wait to go until she received a new card with her new primary caregiver’s name on it. It took 2 weeks to get the card! Two weeks of pain and for what – an admin issue? Now my parents are talking about moving out their retirement date because insurance costs have cut into their retirement savings. They can’t wait for Medicare/Medicaid to kick in, but I know that doesn’t always offer the best options. It’s so sad.
Omg. I have an HMO, BCBS of Texas, and when I require a change in pcp, I call them and tell them I need to see doctor immediately. They instantly change my pcp and I go and tell the doctor that I’ve updated my record. I’ve done this twice now.
I live in Australia where we have Medicare paid for by a levy on workers’ wages. It’s not perfect but it’s pretty good. I’m still in the workforce and had to have cataracts removed recently. For visits to the specialist and two lots of surgery I was out of pocket under $500. It would have been less if I wasn’t working. I visit a GP who bulk bills so I pay nothing. Medications are, in the main, reasonably priced.
One of my sons was born with a medical problem. Years of treatment at the childrens’ hospital, including surgery, was at no cost.
My husband was recently diagnosed with a heart problem. Two lots of surgery also cost nothing.
It could be better. I would like to see better dental care for aged pensioners and it can be very expensive for a pensioner to see a specialist. Waiting lists are often quite long and there are a few anomalies. But compared to many systems it is very good.
Joan F f says
My husband and I are in a unique situation. We are Canadians who are living in Germany, but have lived in several Canadian provinces, Great Britain, and the US. We have experienced the best and worst of a number of health care systems.
Of course, with public health care systems, you need never fear going bankrupt due to an illness or emergency medical situation.
Here in Germany our health care premiums are around €750 per month and they include very basic dental and prescription drugs (although we do pay €5.00 for each prescription).
No health care system is or can be perfect. The true cost of medical care is just too high and in my experience, you either pay for your medical needs in time or dollars.
Just last month, my daughter in Canada had to wait 5 days to be seen at a cast clinic after she was told she had broken her foot (that is a story in itself). We had a close relative die and I am convinced it was because they had to wait so long for an initial appointment with the specialist. Furthermore, in order to get medical care, you need to be able to see a doctor. Finding a family doctor in Canada can be a nightmare, especially if you have complex medical problems. Doctors have been known to screen patients according to how much work they are going to be.
I don’t want to be too long winded. But I do sincerely hope that Americans are able to come up with a solution to the impossible situation they face with health care.
This is an important message everyone! Don’t risk going without health insurance. I was in my twenties and thought I was fine a few years back. A week later I was learning to walk again and figuring out how to pay off thousands in medical bills, and that was when I had the cheapest insurance I was willing to afford.
For those wondering, the basics of the US Medical Insurance industry is as follows:
Charge people high premiums in exchange for covering their medical costs.
Proceed to deny those same people coverage for same medical costs through either high deductibles, high “co-insurance”/patient portions, claiming “not covered benefit” , or other means that make no sense.
“Shareholders” profit off of denying people the medical care coverage for which they paid.
It used to be worse. It used to be that the insurance companies would drop you whenever you started having medical expenses, or claim them as “preexisting conditions” and refuse any and all coverage potentially related to it. Even now, 20 GOP run States are suing the US Gov over the ACA requirements to cover preexisting conditions, trying to take that coverage away.
In short, US Health Insurance industry and those on the insurers’ side are all immoral and unethical. Our coverage system is among the worst in the world..
I live in Europe, our Health care has been judged worst in Europe three years in a row, in the last decade. We are slightly better placed now, due to others doing worse – mostly.
We have shortage of doctors, nurses, tech. staff, hospitals, new drugs, new procedures… – especially in rural arias, and yet….
I have a friend who likes Iphones. Difference in cost is such that you can fly to NY buy one, fly back and it costs him the same as if he bought one here. If you buy two you could spend few days in NY. So he does that.
Once he got ill, he had to buy 2 drugs during his stay – painkiller and antibiotics. As he had no health insurance he had to pay full price at he pharmacy. (I won’t go into cost of seeing a doctor – that was horror). For those 2 drugs he paid $ 130. He came home, went to a pharmacy and both same drugs – full price for anyone and everyone $ 10. He then set down and compared the two. Same manufacturer, same package, same ingredients listed on the box – he was like wtf?
As I said our health is not great, far from it, but I can’t imagine anyone not rushing their kid to doctor – because they can’t afford to. Or not going to OB-GYN during pregnancy, or not getting treatment for cancer, or not getting tested and getting treatment for asthma (As Good as It Gets)…
We are poor and messed up and disorganized and corrupted, but even for us going without health care for all is unthinkable. Going without iPhones or paying 3 x as much as you do for them is better than paying 10 times more for drugs we all need.
While the mention of health insurance isn’t uncommon in my country, but many people in my place who aren’t really poor (but not too well off either) are not covered by this health insurance thing, including my family. So I’m really grateful and always hoping my family to be healthy, or to have nothing serious happen to them.
I am from Germany as well and went to the US as an exchange student in high school (a few years ago 🙂 ). For a German 16 year old it was a real eye opener to see people who were sick but would not go to the doctors as it was too expensive. I never had to worry about anything like this before, as in Germany you just had to have your insurance card (or your partents had it) and everything was fine. The idea that there is no automatic health insurance for everyone and that concept was actually considered “communist”/”socialist” by some was completely new to me at that age…
French here. We don’t know how lucky we are until we need hospital. My son is born with heart malfunction so he had been transported to one of the most famous pediatrician hospital in Paris, and had surgery. We stay for a week together and we had nothing to pay. So yes, we French people use to be sore head about everything but when it come to our Healthcare I don’t complain anymore, and I am thankfull to see how many taxes we are charged.
I am from Holland, here we have a tax combined with insurance system. Children are free till 18. The government decides what the basic coverage, general practioner + most hospital treatments, and every adult has to be insured for that , insurers can’t say no to you. That costst about 100 euro/month per adult, whith a potential co pay of 380 euro a year. You can have added insurance for more fysio and better dental. When I think about the costs in the US I am happy I can’t go broke over medical costs.
The NHS in the UK my Dad’s story.
As a child hospitalised for months with measles, scarlet fever and pneumonia which left him with permanent lung damage.
In his 30’s hospitalised at various times with TB, pneumonia, collapsed lung. Mum was told it was unlikely he would see his kids grow up. He was given a new experimental drug and never looked back. Still had chest problems and on permanent medication with occasional hospital stays.
In his early 50’s had a number of small heart attacks, again various hospital stays ending up with a triple bypass operation. More heart medication added to the other drugs he was on.
In his 60’s had a minor stroke, treated immediately and made a full recovery. While on holiday in another part of the country started hemorrhaging from his lungs, hospitalised with talk of transferring him to a major hospital via helicopter. Was decided against due to the risk. Successfully treated.
70’s fell and fractured his pelvis due to osteoporosis ambulance called and taken to hospital. Later diagnosed with advanced prostrate cancer, given treatment, hormone therapy and chemo, had an operation to remove a tumour from his head, at least 3 hospital stays, one for heart failure the last for a couple of weeks shortly before he passed.
He was nursed at home before he died, doctor came in daily, homecarers came in daily, hospital bed and oxygen were all provided to he could be supported at home. If he required a hospital appointment the ambulance service would provide patient transport.
All of this cost us nothing apart from tax and national insurance payments. As a family we did not have to worry about whether or not we had or could get insurance or whether any conditions would be treated. My father worked right up until he retired so he fully contributed his tax and NI payments. Without the NHS we would not have had him until he died 4 years ago age 78. That is what good universal healthcare looks like and should be aimed for. I am incredibly proud of the NHS in the UK.
I absolutely agree – the NHS is something to be proud of, I just wish successive governments would stop cutting its funding. Doctor visits are free, along with our prescriptions (I live in Wales). The only problem I have is the length of time you need to wait for non-urgent procedures … I suffered from osteoarthritis for many years, and eventually needed both hips replaced. I would have had a long, long wait to have this done for free on the NHS, so I used my private insurance just to get it done quickly (at the time, the pain was so bad I was taking 2 strong painkillers every two hours, just to get through the night). I got the operation on both hips within a week, a week stay in hospital, and 6 weeks of physio afterwards, all covered by my insurance of about £100 a month. Luckily I originally started the insurance over 30 years ago when I was perfectly healthy, and I’m so glad I kept it going all these years. However, I’m proud of the fact that everyone in the UK has access to decent free healthcare if they need it.
I’m French and live in France and here is how our health care system works.
For those unemployed with little resources and those living on the streets you have what we call the CMU which is basing coverage for all your health needs from a doctor visit to an operation. It is paid by taxes. For them as well you have the ACS which is complementary health plan, but in order to get this you have to fulfill certain circumstances.
Then we have the basic social security as we call it here. All workers and non workers who get enough unemployment allowence will pay 2 different taxes directly from their allowence or pay check to the government. Also, since 2016 if you are employed in a company that has over 20 employees, your employer has to offer you extra health coverage. The basic is free of charge, but does not offer you much more, as an employee, you can then choose, at very interesting rates, extra coverage which will allow for better refunds on the money you have to put up front for some health care, like optical or dental. (In France, dental care and glasses are outrageously expensive, which can explain the bad teeth that most french people have….) We also have private health care insurance that you can apply to called Mutuelle (generic term). The extra health coverage from your employer is a Mutuelle, but before 2016 you had to apply on your own and the rates can be quite high, about 100 to 150€ per month (115 to 171$ ). And when you leave your job, if you wish to keep the Mutuelle offered by your employer, you can, but then you have to pay the total amount with no employers’ discount.
Generally speaking, health care is very good in France for everybody. Certain illnesses like cancer, diabetes and other grave and long term illnesses all expenses from doctor visits to specialists to Xrays, IRMs’ and and medication are taken 100% in charge by social security and you don’t have to pay anything up front. Some others, like optical care and dental care (which, as you have read above, are the big flaws in our system) can cost you a pretty penny (my mouth is going to cost me 20 000€ about 23 000$ which is the price of a brand new car!) with little or no help unless you have a private coverage to help out, and even then, it isn’t very good. But of course, all in all, the French system is great. Unfortunately, the debt that it has is so massive, (due to a lot of abuse over the years) that there is talks of changes for the system which is quite frightenning for us.
I´m from Germany and when I read that original post I first had to google ACA. Reading the results and the rest of the posts make me real sad. How can anyone concentrate effective on their daily work when one constantly have in mind that one lousy illness, that could be cured without problems, ruins your whole plan for live because you either can´t afford it or be indepted for years?
I try to imagine how to tell my kids they can´t see a doctor because I can´t afford the money when I lost my job a few years ago.
Today about 380$ from my wage is automaticly transfered to the helth insurance system. My company hast to pay about the same. My wife is around the same. Our two kids are included.
Never again will I complain over that money after I reading this post.
I hope all your ACA enroll went well
I’m Australian and can remember when Medicare (our nationwide health care system) was brought in by the Australian government by the then Prime Minister Paul Keating. It was a sweetener for something else that they wished to introduce. But it was overwhelmingly popular and while not perfect does the job remarkably well.
As with everything in a western democratic society, people have a say – they only have to make their voices heard by voting. Vote for the people who will support/initiate a working healthcare system that works for all. You have more power than you think.
Hope you and your family are feeling better.
Love your work
Lisa Walker says
It never pays to procrastinate about these things. Thanks for the reminder to sign up again. Remember to vheck out the candidates. What they say about themselves and what their history says about them. Remember to vote this Tuesday.
I love the way Congress shouts about the cost but never mentions it’s not free. Everyone would have to pay in just like they have the current Medicare recipients pay.
If you can’t afford health insurance, a stay in the hospital, doctor visits or prescriptions, the #1 killer in America will become pneumonia, just like it used to be. All the advances in modern medicine in the last 100 years no longer available. People will die. How is this not criminal?
I live in Europe now but I lived in NYC for 12 years in my 20s.
I got pneumonia vaccine 3 years ago as I’d already gotten pneumonia twice – 1st time while 9 months pregnant with 1st child in NYC …
Having the best health care in the world (USA?) is USELESS if you can’t afford to ACCESS it ?
Sara K. says
100% agree and unfortunately now several ACA care plans do not cover pre-existing conditions. So please be careful.
Two main reasons that I left USA (which I loved, made great friends + was happy there) + returned home was the insane cost of education + health care ?
I have free education for my family (including University) and free health care (including all pre-existing conditions) here. It’s not perfect and has its faults too but the older I grew in the USA the more worried I became about being able to pay for health care ?
Mary Allen says
One of the things all of us can do is be proactive – Get a physical every year – Get the shots like for shingles and the flu. Eating less processed food and walking more.
Its like owning a car, maintenance is vital. If you don’t change the oil and check the tires boom! One day you are sitting on the interstate and everyone is honking at you. Go see the doc! Get your bloodwork done, get your pressure checked. Live well.
Good advice except my plan doesn’t cover a physical every year. Flu shots yes. Shingles shot is apparently in short supply and they are giving it to the people who have had the first dose when they have any to give. Anything my plan does not cover is out of my pocket…
And even athletes in top shape get cancer.
What if we are born with something?
I am so happy to be old enough to be on Medicare. I am voting this year to ensure adequate health care for all Americans.
Thank you for posting this important reminder. The enrollment period this year is short so people need to know.
I’m likely to qualify for medicare before we see medicare for all in this country, but I hope to be wrong about that. Health care should be a right. Paying for it through our taxes instead of paying insurance companies who use the money for profit instead of running the system would be a big improvement. Yes, government programs are flawed, but the current system is terrible.
I live in the UK and although everyone has a winge about waiting times etc.with the NHS at least everyone has access to more or less free healthcare – prescriptions are about £9/$13 each but you can pay £30/$42 for all prescriptions for 3 month.
I knew US was expensive for healthcare but when I found out how much insurance was i shuddered at the thought.
Feel sorry for anyone in in US who can’t afford insurance and feel a lot more thankful for what we have in the UK
I live in Slovakia, and although we do complain about state healthcare system…. A lot…. You get treated and no one shows you a door if you are sick but dont have money. Prescriptions are about 5€ – 10€ for usual staff.
Everytime i hear about US health issues I feel so sorry for you guys, and remind myself we could have it so múch múch worse?
I hope times will change for the better soon.
Deidre Alcock says
For anyone active or retired inthe military, Tricare’s renewal period starts November 15 and runs through mid December. Make sure you read the current flyers, emails, etc., as the policies for changing providers due to life circumstances have changed.
I was just coming to say this. No switching mid year even if you pcs to a remote area.
I am from Spain (having amazing “free” public healthcare we take for granted which is actually paid with our taxes) so I never had to worry about health insurance until I moved abroad… Now I completly understand you! Having to take care of more (Super necessary) bureaucraticy sucks T.T (time and money)
My fiancee and I are contemplating getting married this December specifically so that I can be put on his work’s health insurance [It’s not even that good of insurance]. Otherwise, I would pay over a thousand dollars more per year through my school’s offered health insurance.
Every time we talk about it, it feels perilously close to souring our relationship. We love each other – don’t get me wrong there. But there’s something about the financial necessity of the situation, the pressure it’s putting on him to continue working in a job he finds depressing, that is completely off-putting. We would marry anyway, in our own time and with a wedding we wanted and planned. But now everything feels rushed and forced, so it feels like our love for each other is rushed and forced. Even though we’ve been together for 7 years.
As a person who married sooner than intended specifically for health insurance, I will say it may well be better to spend the extra thousand if you’re able rather than shackle both of you to a depressing job in the name of insurance. Especially if you’re both already feeling strained about it!
See, for us, a few years later, Hubby lost his in layoffs & we lost the insurance anyway. My depressing job then was our only insurance option. I stayed in that opportunity, health & relationship wrecking job for 10 years in the name of insurance before losing the health & nearly the relationship while hubby was trying to keep jobs as layoffs & the Great Recession severely limited his success. Even with the best of intentions, understanding & mutual agreement, exhaustion, resentments & feeling trapped slowly took root on both our parts.
Looking back, we’d not make the same rush as before. We keep our insurance separate now too.
Best of luck 🙂
Furry Mafia says
I’m from Australia and because I was curious I looked at the plans. So very expensive. Whilst we are all covered by Medicare here, I am lucky to have unlimited private health insurance for $3500.00 a year unlike many Australians. This lets me choose doctors, hospitals and skip the waiting lists and Medicare still pays most of my out of pocket costs. Let your votes speak for you because universal health care is a basic right that we should all enjoy.
Jaylee Conaway says
The fact that I’m still suffering from withdrawal symptoms due to a lack of Innkeeper tells me the two of you still aren’t at the top of your game. Hope you can get the medical care you need to get you back to 100% before too much longer. I know it’s miserable when illness hangs on.
I have great appreciation for the ACA process! It’s the only way I have healthcare over the last 8 years. It surprised me how many people are unaware that the program is designed to really help the millions of Americans that work but do not have the option of employer based insurance. Self-employed, less than full time, less than full times with two or more jobs, working full time but the benefit costs almost as much as your take home et cetera. There can always be improvements and such but shain, I’m very grateful.
I just cut and pasted your comment because that is what I have been trying to tell my friend and her family for years… to look for insurance outside what her husband’s job offers. Only he is covered because it would cost too much for his wife and sons and even just him is a lot.
I am hoping that your comment will be confirmation that they can at least try and see, though I am disturbed by the changes that are not covering pre-existing conditions… I’m sure that would mean my crooked spine that has moved my ribs in a painful position. Right now I am getting PT, but found out my place of work will only offer Aetna or nothing and it would be outside network to continue getting treated there, but then I was told that my current BCBS would be having major changes next year starting Feb. 1 where there would be more paperwork with possible delays in getting treatment.
I was hoping there would be reform, improvements and fixing the problems there were with Obamacare, but not to go backward. Voting will be difficult because there are many things I agree with the Republicans about, but healthcare is a sore spot, especially when there are people in my family including myself with pre-existing conditions. The system itself is overinflated and needs to cut down to levels that are more in line so that insurance and even out of pocket would not bankrupt people! Someone looked at their itemized hospital bill and saw $5 for an aspirin… that is ridiculous!
What I really would like to see is the government and country working together to solve the major issues we face, not all the lies, fear, hate, politically biased news, etc. I just want the truth, facts, honesty, no special interest groups trying to buy their own way and a sincere effort and commitment to really be for the people in the media and government!
Wow, I’m thinking it might be time to leave the good ole USA. The health care systems in Europe, UK, Australia, NZ and others look so much better.
My husband and I are paying $1,690 monthly for health insurance (we are self employed) My husband is a brain tumor survivor, and this year I had a lumpectomy and a hysterectomy, ugh. If the GOP has it’s way with prexisting conditions we will be screwed ?
Don’t have to look so far….Canada has universal health care.
Heather Miller says
Profit should not be in health care. A single payer system is needed. Too many are left without coverage, due to pre-existing conditions.
You are 100% right. The amount of profits realized by various middle people and administrative folks is obscene.
Teh Gerg says
Get well soon, but the important thing is to get well first. The other tasks can wait.
Davina Joshlin says
I have insurance for my whole family through my husband’s insurance we pay for the top level PPO choice and pretty much everything runs smoothly. I have one adopted child that has medi-cal (California). I could not stand the places for medical and dental that would see him with medi-cal only. So I take him with my other children and have them run everything through both and sometimes I end up paying deductibles and things, But my wait for a doctor is 15 minutes or less everytime.
Yes, my sister refers to me as a princess and gladly signs up for the obamacare for her biological children because her adopted children have healthcare and she says it is the only way to afford healthcare. One daughter needs monthy medication that is almost $400 without insurance one pill a day. My sister is grateful, and is willing to wait in waiting rooms for hours. I am very glad my husband is an awesome engineer. Yay geeks.
Better hope he doesn’t lose that job then!
Crystal Johnson says
I’m happy to have found a Direct Primary Care model nearby and bypassed the insurance and state quagmire.
I think the BDH comments should be sent to U.S. Congress. The comments show how a legitimate conversation on healthcare should happen: Ideas on how healthcare is handled throughout the world and the struggles U.S. citizens face trying to afford healthcare. It can be an honest discussion and solutions can be implemented but only if you remove politics and party from the process. I am lucky to be Canadian with free access to healthcare and can only hope that the U.S. learns, one day, to put the needs of it’s citizens before company profits and lobbyists.
Just FYI on dental plans for those of you who are checking them out, their quality and the level of what they cover can vary tremendously. Look out for: Waiting periods- some plans won’t cover certain procedures until you have been covered for a set period, sometimes years. Exclusions- won’t cover anything beyond a basic level of services. For example: exams and cleanings only, or fillings but no crown and bridge. Low annual maximums- I’ve seen as low as $300 a year maximum coverage. Bait and Switch: A plan may not be labeled as an HMO, but it may be one. Or a dentist may be listed as a provider but his/her panel is actually not open to new patients or they may provide for one type of plan under the insurer, but not the others. If you want to keep your current practitioner, call the office and talk to the front desk to see if the plan you are taking on is accepted before you commit.
Carol Moore says
Here’s a good one – someone needs gum treatment in all 4 quadrants of their mouth (upper left, upper right, etc.). They take off work to get the treatment. The policy says it’s covered 100% but in the teeny tiny writing it states “only two quadrants per appointment”. Pissed off patient and the doctor gets to eat the uncovered charge.
Carol Moore says
My experience with government run healthcare was in helping my father. He was a disabled USAF veteran and needed some expensive medications. The government Medicare paperwork was so daunting and overwhelming that I ended up just paying for it myself. Our private insurance experience is also horrible. Too many bureaucrats involved. My husband’s cancer surgeon at MD Anderson wanted some tests that the insurance person said were unnecessary. It wasn’t his life at stake.