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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Blogger's post about health insurance

Saw this on "After Cancer, Now What":
How I lost my Health Insurance At the Hairstylist's

Gives some great talking points about health insurance and how tenuous it is. There are no perfect programs - in the UK, I hear of ACC patients waiting way past the 6 week window for radiation treatment (at that point, what's the point?), and trouble if an expensive drug is needed (generally, not going to happen). Canada has trouble with its primary care system - hard to get a primary care doc if you aren't sick enough - and if something is needed right away, say cardiac treatment or a NICU for a baby, you may have to travel across the border for care in Montana or another northern state. In Germany, I watched an employee struggle with his dad's diabetes care, ultimately ending in a leg amputation due to the long que for preventive care, and then no nursing care beds, so he had to keep dad on his couch in his house for months. Here, I know I am not insurable except maybe by a place that has a large group policy. I am luckier than most - my care did not require chemo, and probably won't if the cancer comes back. Radiation costs were about $90k before the insurance negotiated it down - not as bad as a transplant, say, or some chemo treatments that hit 6 and 7 figures really fast. I am not sure what they are discussing here for our options, but dang it, we need to have some. At the same time, I believe that health insurance should be mandatory - yep, all you 21 year old immortals, you should be in the system. (That was the biggest gripe in Germany I heard - the younger workers didn't like having to be paying into the system when they didn't see any payback-yet.) I know of a mid-twenties person who just had a really bad accident - could have used health insurance. I know of a 21 year old with asthma - has chosen not to get health insurance. Go figure. Get responsible, USA and all citizens - take care of your self and your family, and talk to your congresspeople. Yeah, whatever they come up with is going to be different than now, but if you have 'great insurance' and don't want anyone to mess with it, just reread the post above - it may not be so great if you actually have to use it once.


Dee said...

Yeah, something needs to happen! I remember, too, that over 20 years ago, my coworkers at the hospital where I worked (my first job after my undergrad) talked about the high cost of malpractice insurance that doctors need to carry because of our litigious society. Now, I've read that ob/gyn's can't afford to practice in rural, small population regions because the malpractice insurance is more than they would make in those areas.

A good alternative is to use a licensed midwife - one of my colleagues is one - but ob/gyn's object to home births because it's unsafe. However, my colleague's data shows that low-risk home births are as safe (if not safer) than hospital ones. I think those same doctors forget that for most of human history - except for maybe the last 50 years - almost all of our births were at home. I mean, how do you think we all got here to begin with, if it wasn't for home births?

And, don't even get me started on the high cost of prescription drugs.

Jeanne said...

Hi Teri--just read this, and I can't believe that this is true. Did you check it out with someone at an insurance company?

I've always thought that if you were in a group plan, you were safe, but I would really like to get to the bottom of this one. I'll do some checking.


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