Monday, March 06, 2006

Health Insurance Insanity
Did you catch 60 Minutes this weekend? Good segment on how the uninsured truly get it socked to them when they go to the hospital. Not that that is new, but the difference in cost is staggering. I was just looking at a lab bill I got today which was $320. Had I no insurance, it would have been $320. But since I currently have insurance, the contracted rate with the insurance company is only $20. Yep, you heard right - $20! And since it is still early in the year, I'll have to pay that full $20, rather than the $4 I would normally pay later in the year after my deducitble is satisfied. $4 vs $320 for the uninsured. What a friggin' outrage. Senator Grassley is supposed to do something about this - maybe. Write him a note and tell him it should be a fair playing field for all. It's also quite easy for the legislature to forget what hellacious premiums folks must pay if they work for a small company that doesn't offer benefits. Most end up doing without any as they get older, simply because they can't afford it. And I thought Bush talked about how the small business was the backbone of the country? Well , if it is and that is where everyone is working, I feel sorry for them.

Another outrage? When you move to another state, you have to reapply for insurance and if you have some sort of illness of a serious nature, like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, etc, guess what? Yeh, you guessed it - no insurance for you. Sometimes you can get a conversion policy if your insurance company has such a thing, but it is very expensive with less benefits than you might have now with your current individual plan. Instead of a 5 million dollar lifetime benefit , you'll more likely get 1 million. Sounds like a lot, until you get cancer or something.

Of course the insurance company tells us it is all the hospitals and doctors faults and that we are leading poor lifestyles, blah, blah, blah. Yeh right - fess up , you and the docs/hospitals are all hosing us.


Anonymous said...

Actually, you should look into the subject a little more. In fact, the large majority of uninsured healthcare goes unpaid by the patient (at the hospital I work for it is 96% indigent care). Therefor, they are forced to charge the extremely large amount (your $320) for a service because the majority of people without insurance will not pay, and since many of those same people have few if any assets to "go after" the hospital will basically just leave them alone. It is the people without insurance WITH the ability to pay the high prices that pay for everyone else.

ATHiker95 said...

Exactly. So, if I feel that sky high insurance rates for an individual insurance policy are more than my salary can bear, why should I have to pay for everyone's problem? The person who works for a company that offers benefits won't have to pay that $320 - the individual policy holder will have to. How is that fair to an individual who is not indigent, but does not care to have his entire salary sucked up by exorbitant insurance premiums?

Mark said...

While I have never been indigent I have had medical bills that were impossible to pay. My wife had a heart problem a year or so ago with one hospital trip totaling almost 100,000.00 that is two years worth of my salary. I see no easy soloution here for payment, 10.00 a month until I die I suppose. I now have insurance thankfully because the truth is the care given to the uninsured is paltry by comparrison. I am not an advocate of a universal government mandated health care system. Those guys can't get anything right remember Katrina? There should be some way to foster competitive pricing through tax incentives though.

Ron Southern said...

Good, as far as provoking some thought.

It's not just poor people that need help, it's everybody who isn't rich when catastrophic illness occurs.

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