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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Medical Costs and Insurance

Insurance is supposed to pay for your medical stuff, right? Don't count on it. Also, expect the amount you have to pay out-of-pocket to keep going up in an inexorable march past any reasonable rise based on inflation.

I pay for my own insurance. I get it through my retirement plan from state service. When I retired, I tried to get a cheaper plan with a higher deductible. They gave me a physical and I passed completely. BP, cholesterol, weight, etc. All of it great. Then, the denied me. Why? I happen to have a very minor amount of osteoporosis in my lower back. As if the entire world doesn't have back problems. Nothing is being done about it. I take no prescriptions for it. I exercise to keep my back flexible and pretty much ignore those periods of minor pain if I overstress my back. The other reason is that I take Bupropion. You might have heard of it as Zyban--a drug that helps people stop smoking. Note I havaen't smoked in nearly six years. Bupropion helped. But, the problem is that bupropion is an anti-depressant. If you've ever taken an anti-depressant for any reason whatsoever, the insurance companies will deny you.

So, a perfectly healthy woman with two minor, but completely controlled problems can't buy private health insurance. I'm lucky in that I can get insurance through the group plan from my retirement. Many folks don't have that option. It costs me twice each month what a private plan would. The premium goes up a minimum of 10% per year, and the service level goes down.

Now, imagine you're a family guy/gal working someplace where insurance isn't employer-provided. Imagine you have a minor back problem. Imagine trying to get health insurance. Imagine being turned down no matter what exorbinant amount you'd have to pay.

40,000,000 people or more are going without health insurance in the richest country in the world. Now, you know why. Insurance companies won't sell insurance to individuals if they can help it. Oh, yeah, they pretend to offer it, but they'll find any excuse to deny you.

So, never get yourself in a position where you'll have to buy private health insurance. No amount of tax breaks on premiums will make any difference if you can't even pay premiums. You just have to wait until something catastrophic happens, then you can either go into debt for the rest of your life trying to pay it off or . . . wait, there is no 'or'. After the Republican Congress handed out the happy gift of new bankruptcy laws to the credit card companies, you can't even go bankrupt. Got a modest home, a car? Too bad. You're dead.

4 comments:

  1. Oh Marva, you don't expect the insurance company to do anything that makes sense do you? LOL! Wait until they strat testing people's genes at birth to see what they MIGHT get later in life...it'll be a LOT worse than it is now.

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  2. Oh, it makes sense when you understand that insurance companies are in the business of collecting premiums, not paying out benefits.

    For little old me alone, I pay $465 per month. My doctor forced me to come for an office visit last December. It was my first of the year. I was ticked off because the deductible starts over in January. I told him he was a nitwit and to give me my anti-depressants NOW OR SOMEBODY WILL GET HURT!!!

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  3. Oh Marva... the corporations are running the joint now... it's all about $PROFIT$ at all costs...

    Ethel

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  4. Good for people to know.

    ReplyDelete