Saturday, September 5, 2009

Our health insurance sucks.

Health insurance is tricky whether you get it from your employer, you have an individual or group policy, or you're without it altogether. For the eight years that my husband worked at a large technology company, I read through the information each year at benefits re-enrollment time. I found it a hassle. I had an inkling how good our insurance was when our twins were born, premature and after a complex pregnancy, but I took it for granted. Now I really know how good we had it.

Earlier this week I attended a webinar on the health insurance maze, hoping to learn something to make better our current situation. We have an individual policy, which means we purchased it through a broker. Our co-pays are high, our deductible is obscenely high and not all that much is covered. I ended up in the ER perhaps six months ago and it was more than $2,000 out of pocket for the 45 minutes I spent there. My injury was definitely compounded when I got all the bills.

After listening to this webinar, though, I feel fortunate we have an individual policy at all. Apparently they're hard to qualify for. You're diabetic? Forget it. You've broken more than two bones? Forget it. You have a heart murmur? Not a chance.

Universal healthcare is tricky. No one should die just because they do not have access to medical care. But how do we provide quality healthcare for all? My husband read in the press that the city of San Francisco spent $13.5 million last year to transport 225 vagrants from the locations they passed out to San Francisco General Hospital. Is the US government really capable of providing the solution?

My friend's mother is a breast cancer survivor. She was diagnosed and treated in the country in which she lives, and where there is socialized medicine. David Lebovitz speaks highly of the French healthcare system. Our Canadian friends are just fine with it and my cousin, the pediatric neurosurgeon known for his pioneering treatment of Saggital Synostosis, did some of his training there. Perhaps it's just the transition which will be so painful?

At least we have health insurance. For now anyway.

1 comment:

Paige said...

Great post. i also loved the job ideas one. You are on a roll. We just hit our 6K deductible and suddenly everything is "free!" Guess I'll enjoy it for a few months until it starts all over again in January. We had the same experience with Sol spraining his foot. $1500 in the emergency room which it looks like I really have to pay or go to collections! I'm going to try and do what the poor people do and call up and negotiate. I'll let you know if it works!