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Thread: Health insurance

  1. #11
    As a lifelong uninsured person, I have to say that this sounds insane. How could a person financially justify paying out 6-10k a year? Do you really rack up MORE than that at medical institutions?!

    Seems to me more like a gamble that you are betting $80,000 that you will get a $100,000 injury in the next decade.

    The 3 months I had insurance at a job, it was dental, and only covered a few grand a year, max and I still had to pay out a large portion. So long as anyone is making a profit selling you insurance, I can't see how it would ever be financially wise to get insurance for a person who isn't hiding knowledge of a serious problem.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by johndoughy View Post
    As a lifelong uninsured person, I have to say that this sounds insane. How could a person financially justify paying out 6-10k a year? Do you really rack up MORE than that at medical institutions?!

    Seems to me more like a gamble that you are betting $80,000 that you will get a $100,000 injury in the next decade.

    The 3 months I had insurance at a job, it was dental, and only covered a few grand a year, max and I still had to pay out a large portion. So long as anyone is making a profit selling you insurance, I can't see how it would ever be financially wise to get insurance for a person who isn't hiding knowledge of a serious problem.
    Well you are right, insurance is a gamble. All it takes is one ambulance ride and an overnight in the hospital to run up a bill exceeding $5k. The fact is a minority of people will run up bills exceeding what would have saved if premiums did not have to be paid. But the ones who do exceed, will likely exceed by quite a bit.

    I find the insurance debate (Gov't should cover vs companies vs individuals) to be funny, as in all scenarios all working individuals pay into an insurance pool. And many of us will never accumulate doctor bills that match or exceed the amount of premiums paid in our lifetime. But an unlucky minority will, and frankly there is no way to assure you will not be one of those. My business partner does not play sports or engage in any hobbies that could result in injuries, so all he had to worry about was getting sick. I suspect at 47/ 48 years of age, he never would have anticipated getting cancer. But I'm guessing he probably thinks the insurance premiums we've been paying have been well worth it, as he and his family would be in even more of a world of hurt then they are.

    Insurance companies are highly skilled at risk assessment and analysis. And while the companies are 'for profit', they do not run at huge profit magins. If they did, everyone would hold as many shares of health insurance company stock that they could lay their hands on. -- and I do not believe that is the case.

    At the end of the day, it's an individual's decision to make. If you have a job where health insurance is not provided, you need to decide if you want to 'self insure' or suck it up and pay a significant portion of your salary to purchase health insurance. And there is always the option of seeking employment at a company that provides insurance. Health insurance is a worker benefit, and it obviously has a dollar value associated with it. A $40k/ year job that provides no insurance is not the equal of a $40k job that does.
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  3. #13
    Das HandleMeister apicius9's Avatar
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    I have been thinking for 10 minutes now about what I can say that is not in some way political, but I can't. So, I just hope that you all find the best ways for your individual situations.

    Stefan

  4. #14
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    The nation's five largest for-profit insurers closed 2009 with a combined profit of $12.2 billion, according to a report by the advocacy group Health Care for American Now (HCAN).
    Spike C
    "The Buddha resides as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain."
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  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpikeC View Post
    The nation's five largest for-profit insurers closed 2009 with a combined profit of $12.2 billion, according to a report by the advocacy group Health Care for American Now (HCAN).
    Of course it's political. There is no other way out of this dilemma. Perhaps there should be yet another thread, wherein we debate the dubious merits of a capitalist approach to health care?

  6. #16
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    I'd like to share an amusing (hopefully) anecdote about an experience that colors my view of the issue.
    Thirty-five years ago, I was lying on a gurney in a San Diego hospital at 3 a.m., soaked in blood, with my shin bone blown in half by a .38 hollowpoint.
    Propping my head up, I noticed a small group of doctors and nurses huddled in a corner, looking my way and whispering among themselves. Finally, they sent one of the nurses over, and after she covered me for decency (they had removed my pants), she asked if by any chance I had health insurance.
    Much to their amazement, after asking for my pants back, I pulled out a high-option Blue Cross card. It was like magic. Everything changed. I was a star, not some bum bound for a quick ride to the county hospital.
    The question is, what if I'd not had that little piece of plastic?

  7. #17
    Imagine insurance as being a casino being run by someone who doesn't make any money--every table is a pool of money being gambled fairly between players. That would make sense--not everyone is going to win, but their money is going to help someone in need. Now imagine the casino owner makes billions of dollars after covering their operational costs. That's a lot of help a lot of people aren't getting, and a lot of paying out that doesn't equate to coverage.

    It's the profiteering that makes it impossible for me, expensive for most, and turns medical facilities into elitest drug factories and jobs into indentured servitude.

  8. #18
    There are a lot of problems with health care insurance in this country. Most of the problems are created by politicians who have distorted the insurance marketplace with too many rules and regulations that drive up cost and create market conditions that make it hard for small companies to innovate and compete. It should be no news to anyone that politicians make decisions based on political calculations and not based on medical or economic considerations. Which is why I don't want them MORE involved in the whole mess. I have no interest in competing with other political classes of people in this nation for my healthcare!

    One of the biggest problems we have is that people cannot discern the difference between insurance coverage and simply paying for routine medical care....

    You can still buy catestrophic (major medical) healthcare plans in most states that don't cover routine doctor visits etc. These are far less expensive than the Cadillac health care plans that cover every hang nail and stuffy nose. You have to think of health care insurance like car insurance. Most of the expensive health care plans out there now would be like auto coverage that covers things like oil changes, fuses, and visits to the car wash! If you could afford such auto coverage and price it against say a simple liability policy you'd buy the cheap liability policy every time!

    But because this is health care, somehow we seem to think that some insurance company should pay for all our ongoing medical expenses. Problem is, EVERYONE who has a cadillac healthcare policy thinks this way...after all...its not money out of their pocket.

    I've had major medical coverage only for me and my family for a couple of years now and paid for simple doctor visits out of my pocket. Last year I paid out about $4k out of pocket for treatment not covered by the insurance for the three of us which was much higher than normal. I will tell you that when I walk in a Doctors office and they ask how I'm going to pay we have a discussion about the pricing and I usually negotiate a MUCH reduced price over what they would normally bill the insurance company! I had a CT scan this summer that they normally bill the insurance company $1200 for and I paid less than $500 cash for the procedure!

    Part of the problem is we as healthcare consumers have little relationship to the pricing of the healthcare we receive--again--because someone else is paying for it. So who cares what it costs!?!
    How can you be a responsible consumer when you have no accoutnability for the cost of what you are buying? You don't do business in any other area of your life like that...

    In any case, if you need healthcare coverage for your family, look into a major medical policy. They are MUCH cheaper than the big dollar policies. Like liability coverage on a car the major medical plan covers you if you get hospitalized and need major surgery or go to the emergency room. Its pure insurance vs. the expensive cadillac plans which are really nothing more than pre-payment for routine services....

  9. #19
    Das HandleMeister apicius9's Avatar
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    Working in public health, I have learned a bit about the health care system in the US in the past few years, and it may be the biggest mess I have ever seen. Being German, where health insurance is mandatory for the vast majority and covered by the state for those who are unemployed or on wellfare, the concept of not having almost every health risk covered -including the common cold - still seems absurd to me. I always considered it a sign of a mature society that cares about the well-being of their citizens that you would get help for health issues when you need it.

    The original thought when this German system was created in the 1880s was that there needs to be solidarity among the people in one country, the rich pay more because they can and the poor as much as they can and get help when they need it. Of course, there is abuse - for the same reasons that Jeff has pointed out - and with the changes in society the system cannot be maintained as it was 30 years ago. This was also based on the idea that even the poor could make wages theyncould live on. BTW, health care costs about 15% of the income, half of that is paid by the employer, and ther is a cap of about 1000Euros total (my guess, it was below that when I left 5 years ago).

    Some of the reasons for increasing costs in Germany and Europe are similar to the US, like an increasing use of technology. But the main reason why the US has the highest cost for health care, by far, is that someone had the stupid idea that health care could be a for profit business. Now greed has taken over, everybody is taking out their share, and hardly anybody gives a damn about solidarity anymore. There are a lot of people in Germany who will never get their money's worth of services over their life time, but that is widely accepted as a principle in the society. Ver here, people would shoot themselves in the foot, just to make use of the money they paid into insurance... I also think it would get worse without regulating, but the regulations would need to be different. I am certain that some of the cuts that were done in the social and health care system in the past few years killed more Americans than all terrorist activities in the history of this country. But the ones affected often don't vote, have the wrong skin color, or speak with an accent. There you have it. I try very hard to keep my mouth shut about religion and gun control, but can't help myself when it comes to health issues - that's the area I work in, after all.

    Of course, this rant doesn't help anybody one bit who does not have health coverage...

  10. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by apicius9 View Post
    Of course, this rant doesn't help anybody one bit who does not have health coverage...
    It does reassure me that there are people who see it the way I do that are inside the machine, as it were. The last thing I like to hear is that I somehow just need to get on board and accept that I have to find some a-hole to work for and grovel at his feet to keep my job, or else I'm neglecting my family. You'd be surprised how often I hear that.

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