Having a rotten cold is never fun, but if you’ll allow me to be complainy for a second, having a rotten cold while also enormously pregnant is sucky to the extreme. Being felled by some rampaging virus (thank you RILEY) in the third trimester takes your average everyday discomfort and cranks things up to the Pray For Relief And/Or Death level, and I’m officially nostalgic for the days when jimmy legs and sciatic flareups were the most annoying physical symptom I had to deal with.

Also, I am just going to go ahead and say this: I now fully understand the benefit of doing one’s Kegels on a regular basis. It’s got to be better than grabbing your crotch like Michael Jackson each time you feel a sneeze or cough coming on.

On the subject of health, have you seen Sicko yet? I’m not the world’s most rabid Michael Moore fan, but I recommend renting this movie if you haven’t already. It isn’t a perfect documentary, but it is infuriating and disturbing and yes, depressing.

JB and I are phenomenally lucky in that his workplace offers one of the best healthcare benefits programs I’ve ever encountered. We don’t take this for granted, it is every bit as important as salary to us. I take medication to manage a health issue (not mental, I don’t know why I feel the need to clarify that but I do) and recently I looked up what those drugs would cost us out of pocket: $50 a day. Over 18K per year in medications alone, never mind periodic doctor’s visits, and of course everything related to pregnancy (over 25K for that last c-section!), etc.

With JB’s insurance, I don’t have copays, and at least so far I haven’t encountered any HMO hassles over seeing specialists that may or may not be preferred providers. The only limitation I’ve run into to date is that Regence doesn’t want me to get ahead with the medications—they won’t refill a prescription until the current prescription is in theory 75% depleted, even though we’re not talking about controlled substances here. But obviously on the problem scale that one is way over in the Nearly Painless zone, because hell, at least they’re paying for the drugs.

I don’t have any kind of knowledge on whether or not the way Moore represented healthcare in other countries is a fair and accurate portrayal, that’s not really what impacted me most about the movie. Instead, it was the woman whose little girl died because the hospital she brought her to wasn’t covered in her insurance plan, and the HMO executive physician who testified that she was actively and repeatedly encouraged to deny coverage to sick patients. These things I believe happen all the time in our healthcare system.

I have family members who currently have ‘catastrophic’ insurance because they can’t afford comprehensive coverage; their regular visits, preventative care and medications are not paid for. Some of you probably don’t have insurance, or your coverage is stingy as fuck. I guess none of us want to subsidize healthcare for people who deliberately destroy their health, or pay higher taxes so everyone who wants a boob job can get one, but when it comes to basic care and treating illness, it doesn’t seem like it should be a privilege to have access to our country’s health resources. It seems like it should be a right.

Anyway, see the movie if you have a chance, I don’t think you’ll regret it.

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JennB
JennB
14 years ago

WE have “ok” health care… we do have to pay $2300 of our deductable and I have some of my salary deducted… it’s funny, having P cost us $10. Who knows how much this other kid will cost before s/he even gets here.

Sadie
Sadie
14 years ago

I hope you feel better soon!

This is a timely post for me because today is the deadline to re-enroll in my company’s health benefits, and I have had a really hard time choosing between the sucktastic and exorbitant choices offered to me. I am thankfully a super-healthy young person who only ever goes to the doctor once a year, for the ol’ girly lube and filter change, and yet I pay about $160/month for benefits that don’t kick until a $500 deductible is first met. So basically, I pay nearly $2000 a year for absolutely nothing. But fear alone keeps me from picking the “catastrophic only” coverage, because I am sure the day I choose that, I will get a rare, chronic ass condition or something. My father, a contractor, has only catastrophic coverage because he can’t afford anything else, and it worries me all the time.

I am glad you recognize how lucky you are to have such great health benefits, and I haven’t seen Sicko but I’ll pick it up.

LauraH
14 years ago

I saw this movie before I lost my husband and it really affected me. I found myself extremely grateful for the full coverage, no out of pocket PPO (no referrals!) that my husband had. And then I lost him and was forced (due to loopholes in the pre existing condition laws) to take on his plan via COBRA at a cost of $2000/month. Because I have RA and a heart condition my medicine costs approximately that a month…out of pocket. I have to stay on the plan for 90 days. I am lucky in that I can afford it thanks to careful financial planning with my husband but it makes me think about those who can’t and how that is too expensive for a typical family of four in this country to afford. Next month I can start shopping around for benefits…benefits I know I will still have to pay dearly for.

jonniker
14 years ago

I count myself among the bogglingly lucky in the health care department, too. I honestly think about it all the time, how lucky we are (Hubs works for a non-profit, and they make up in benefits what they lack in salary vs. the private sector). Yes, we have a co-pay, but is $15 that much in the grand scheme of things? Oh hell no.

I was talking to my neighbor the other day, and she has *no* health insurance for herself or her daughter. It panicked me in a way I can’t describe, it just MADE ME PANICKED and sick for her. But of course, her job doesn’t provide them, and she’s a single mom, and she flat-out can’t afford it, so what the hell, just WHAT THE HELL, are people like her supposed to do?

angela
angela
14 years ago

Don’t get me started on this. I HAD supremely awesome insurance through my employer that paid for everything and other awesome benefits to boot. But my company has been in the process of buying up a bunch of smaller companies and they finally decided to put us all on the same health plan and benefits package. For the rest of the 1700 other US employees (it’s a Canadian company) the new insurance is WAY better. For the other 100 of us, it amounts to a serious paycut. Now I have to pay 3500 more in expenses a year for coverage that is nowhere near what I had before. If I get sick this year or get in an accident, I am royally screwed. This doesn’t include the 5% of my salary that my employer USED to automatically put into my 401k, not including my contributions and their matching after that.

What pisses me off most is that when those 1700 other US employees accepted their job offers, they also accepted the crap insurance plan. I did not. I feel like I am paying for other people’s lack of sense. This is why I don’t believe in federal health care. I don’t think I should have to pay for other people’s lack of personal responsibility.

My BF’s son lives in a country with a national health care system (northern Europe) and it’s no bed of roses either. It takes him months to schedule appointments and months for follow-ups. He had to have his tonsils out and if he had lived here he would have been able to avoid it. But his infection got worse while he was waiting to see the doctor, so instead of antibiotics, he ended up having what otherwise would have been an unnecessary surgery.

Lawyerish
14 years ago

We watched “Sicko” recently, and I found it highly disturbing. Intellectually, I guess, I already knew most of the points it made, but it’s startling to see it on a human level like that. It’s especially nauseating to see the insurance company execs who are given huge financial incentives to deny coverage.

What makes me absolutely crazy about this is that these are people who HAVE insurance, meaning that they PAY PREMIUMS in order to get the coverage that they are suddenly — and often arbitrarily — denied. It makes zero sense. Yes, insurance companies are for-profit enterprises (in itself a problem), but the fact that they fail to do exactly what consumers PAY THEM to do is beyond absurd. It is the dumbest, most unfair and most offensive system.

Insufficient health care coverage is yet another way that we let ourselves down as a society, and it is shameful given our massive abundance of wealth.

Also: you should rent “The Corporation” if you haven’t seen it already. It helps explain why an insurance company, for example, owes a greater duty to its shareholders (and thus its bottom line) than it does to its policyholders, thanks to the law and concept of corporations and fiduciary duty.

Feel better soon!

Josh
Josh
14 years ago

First off, words can not express my gratitude for making my world a brighter and happier one with kegels in it. I do believe i will be wearing that entire word/concept out in the next few days/months/years. I can’t even believe I have never heard of this before now. I’m giggling like a little girl right now just thinking about it. You rock the Casbah Sundry.

Second, I agree, our health care system sucks. I have no medical coverage. If and when I eventually catch SARS, West Nile virus, VD, or chop off one of my appendages in a work (or fun) related incident, I will be relying heavily on my hope that God wants to keep me around a little longer because he’s not done messing with me yet. I can’t afford to go see a doctor. I can’t afford any prescriptions. I can’t go get my teeth checked out. I’m pretty much a walking example of medical care in the 1,800’s. And I think it’s pretty messed up that I live in America, but can’t even afford basic medical care. I mean, I don’t want to get a third arm grafted to my chest or line my torso with robotic armor. I just don’t want to die if I get pneumonia. Wish me luck with that.

Christina
14 years ago

Not going to comment on health care b/c I lived without it for years and years and it sucked my rear. I broke my elbow and I had to go with the least costly method to heal it and still hurts to this day. Also, my hubby is Canadian and while there system is no where near perfect , I would prefer it to ours.

I got sick two weeks before I gave birth and I was TWO weeks late. I had a raging cold, an EAR infection and it was just horrid. I remember the sneeze/cough issue well. Drink some herbal tea and rest – get well soon!

H
H
14 years ago

My husband has a genetic heart condition (Marfans) and had two life saving open heart surgeries before he was 30 and, as you can imagine, when you have that kind of medical care, the bills were astronomical. I know others have had much worse, and I can’t imagine how anyone handles something like that without insurance. The day he was diagnosed, medical insurance became as important, if not more important, than my salary (I’m the main bread winner here.) The thought of having to pay more than I do ($200/mo.), no insurance or having his preexisting condition excluded from any non-group insurance plan puts me in a panic. Sheer panic, I tell you.

If I really believed any presidential candidate had a good solution to the health care problem and could actually get something done, I’d join that person’s campaign in a second.

Chaya
Chaya
14 years ago

I think something like 40 million Americans are uninsured. It seems to me like that’s a bigger problem than, say, legislating who can marry whom. But it doesn’t seem like there’s a solution in the near future.

I grew up in the US and moved to Israel when I was 20. I’m now married with a new baby and so incredibly thankful that my medical care is paid for. About $80/month, pre-taxes, is taken out of my husband’s paycheck for health insurance, and stay-at-home mothers pay nothing. During my pregnancy I had great pre- and postnatal care, referrals any time I needed them, and everything from monthly ultrasounds to prenatal vitamins were almost completely paid for (I’m talking $3 for an ultrasound, $1.50 for a doctor’s visit). Taxes are really high here, but I think it’s worth it. I can’t imagine how terrifying it would be to not be able to insure your children. What if you were self-employed? It freaks me out.

Quick tangent: here almost all 18-21 year olds do 2-3 years of army or national service, where they help disadvantaged kids, teach, etc. Apparently if you have 3 kids within one year, some 18 year old will do her national service by you. Changing diapers for your country, I guess.

Although that’s still not a big enough incentive for me to hope for triplets.

Naomi
Naomi
14 years ago

Austalians have NO IDEA how lucky they are. Everyone who earns pays a Medicare levy through the tax system and therefore has access to free healthcare in the public system. In most csses there is waiting period for surgery etc. Your can take out private health insurance if you want to have choice and go through the private system (no waiting) but you can choose who you want to go through. Prescriptions: Most are on the PBS (Pharaceutical Benefits Scheme) so no-one ever pays more than about $25 for a prescription item or $5 if you are on a pension. The government kicks in the rest.

Gertie
14 years ago

When I lived in Bellevue, I didn’t have any insurance so when I couldn’t convince my mother to sew up my ripped toe it cost me $1500+ to get 4 stiches at the ER [doc in the boxes won’t do ‘surgery’].

Now I’m living in Glasgow (Scotland), where we have national health (NHS). Sure, there are complaints but I’ve always been able to get in to see my doctor, and my medical is paid for thru my taxes– which, by the way, are not any higher than the taxes I paid in the US.

Gertie
14 years ago

it’s not the best healthcare, BUT it does beat the alternative.

Dawna
Dawna
14 years ago

I’m probably going to get a lot of crap for this, but I’m not trying to make anyone mad… rather, I’m just proposing an honest question. Where are people working that they don’t have the option for insurance?

I have no college degree, and honestly not many skills to boot, but the 4 companies I’ve worked for in my life have all offered pretty decent healthcare plans… and 2 of those (previous employer and current) have been low cost with excellent coverage. Have I just been lucky?

That’s not to say that I’m not aware of the fact that tons of people don’t have and can’t afford coverage, and that our healthcare system has plently of flaws… but when I look for a job I get details about the plan and figure the cost into my salary, and plan everything around that. It’s just a priority… don’t other people do that too? Once again, I’m not trying to upset anyone, I’m just curious.

Nicole
14 years ago

I saw Sicko, and it just struck me as so wrong.

I’m Canadian, and yes, our system isn’t perfect. But I pay about $60/month for basic medical – this means I don’t have to worry about how I’m going to pay for an emergency room visit, and I can drop into any clinic, anywhere and get treatment.

My employer pays for most of my extended medical (dental, vision, prescriptions – excecpt birth control). Yeah, we’ve got waiting lists for specialists, but the stuff that needs to get done, gets done. MIL was diagnosed with a secondary melanoma and got an appointment for a PET scan within a week, and surgery within two weeks after the scan. My friend’s dad was admitted to cancer treatment right away (and he was hospitalized for it). My mom got her knee surgery in three weeks because of an initiative by her area’s health authority to rent private clinic space to clear some of the “optional” surgeries (ones that don’t require a hospital stay).

And none of them had to worry about whether or not insurance would pay for it.

Lisa B
Lisa B
14 years ago

Yep, insurance at this large Redmond-based workplace is amazing, wonderful, the main reason I will never, ever, ever, think about leaving. Not with one $100,000 back surgery behind me (heh heh) that I didn’t have to put out one thin dime for and a hip replacement in the not-too-distant future. I’ve been without too often in my life and it’s not a good place.

Pete
Pete
14 years ago

Ever since I start to watch ‘Grey’s Anatomy’I have wanted to do a ‘Kegel’ daily. Wait, that’s ‘Heigl’.
We have good insurance but when the kids are gone and I move to the mountains I figured I would get ‘catastrophic’ insurance and find a doctor who only works for cash.

Tess
Tess
14 years ago

I work in the mental health department of an insurance company and this past May we had to completely change a lot of our policies because a little boy in New York committed suicide. His parents tried numerous times to get him help and treatment, but were denied because their insurance did not cover much of what he needed. It took a 13 year old boy to die of a serious illness for our big business to do anything.

robin
14 years ago

Watched Sicko over the holiday weekend and I was so pissed off by the time it ended. Mostly due to the 9/111 volunteer firefighters issue. It’s just so wrong. And the story you mentioned about the little girl. How tragic and scary is it that that would be allowed to happen?

My company used to have fairly decent coverage. When I had my son almost 3 years ago, I had a $250 co-pay for the hospital stay, c-section, the works. With the plan we have now, this baby is going to cost me at the very least $1200. We have to pay 10% of everything. It sucks mostly because of course the cost deducted from my paycheck has gone up, again, and I am getting less and less coverage.

Hope you get to feeling better!

Ginger--A Gray Panther
Ginger--A Gray Panther
14 years ago

And don’t forget the older folks that are not yet medicare eligible or who won’t be accepted by a doc because they are medicare. Want to guess at what private insurance is for folks in their late fifties and early sixties? And how many part time jobs pay any benefits? And how many retirees have been booted out of their former employer promised health care? Do you know that the major reason for bankruptcy is medical bills and that the majority of those that go bankrupt have health insurance? Just not good enough health insurance. We should be outraged, not just frightened in this country, because something can be done about this. Starting with the next election.

Lura
14 years ago

I just read through everyone’s post here, and to hear stories of being taken advantage of, or not even being able to afford basic health care, it really gets me enraged.. Not only are some of us forced to not be able to afford basic health care, but there are elderly people out there that can’t afford to pay their increasing premiums due to fixed income, and they are at the point in their life where they need medical attention the most… This is why
AARP has set up http:// http://www.thisissoridiculous.com so that we can sign a petition to make our voice heard. They also have updated news, video and while your there you can e-mail your congressman to let him know how you feel! Medicare is an important issue in the US right now, and we really need to be heard on this, or it’s just going to get more and more out of hand!

sophielovespeanutbutter
sophielovespeanutbutter
14 years ago

Temp/Contractor who needs a paycheck, here! Under-insured table for one, please! :(

Chaps my ass that (so often?) birth control is not covered but viagra is. Hmmm… do ya think the entire insurance scam is run by old fuddy duddies who can’t get it up? Quite possibly.

Eric's Mommy
Eric's Mommy
14 years ago

We are lucky that I have excellent health coverage. I could not believe having to pay out of pocket for meds, office visits etc.

Also, what I remember most about my 3rd trimester was being sick and not being able to breathe because of the crushed lung thing!

Julia
Julia
14 years ago

Oh, health insurance. There was a mixup between insurance companies this past summer after I graduated college and started my new health insurance through my employer. At the end of the summer I discovered I hadn’t been added to my insurance as I had been led to believe and spent 3 weeks hoping nothing would happen to me before my new insurance kicked in. The lucky thing was that I found out after my new insurance started that my old insurance didn’t actually end until the end of the summer, even though they had told my dad a different date. So I was covered…but not covered…? Good thing I didn’t break my arm or something because I wouldn’t know who to send the bills to!

My fiance’s dad and his step-mom just bought some sort of health insurance that will eventually cover them in retirement (in addition to medicare). $6000 per person for the first year. OUCH. OUCH. OUCH.

Melissa
Melissa
14 years ago

You had me rolling about the kegels and Michael Jackson moves while sneezing! LOL. So true.

I am also very lucky that my husband has a great healthcare plan which is vital. I have not seen Sicko but cannot imagine being in a position where I or someone I love has a terrible disease and their insurance company turns their back on them. I think it’s morally wrong. I’ve heard of other countries that have higher taxes but their citizens have free healthcare. I know there are plenty of arguments regarding the US healthcare system and we certainly don’t need to debate the fact that ours is currently not working. What kind of country allows this to happen to their own people? Another issue to vote on…

Trena
14 years ago

Currently, and until the end of the year this year, we will have great health insurance. Unfortunately, the extremely large nationwide non-profit that I work for (think sanguine) decided to put everyone in the organization onto the same health insurance plan. Which meant for alot of employees that the cost actually went down. Unfortunately, with the new change, they also decided that they would either stop paying their contribution or greatly reduce their contribution (I have yet to get a straight answer) for part-time employees. So even though as a part-time employee I currently pay close to $400/month for medical and dental, after the first of the year, on the new plan, it would cost me (for the cheapest plan) $467/every two weeks. The cost for the better and comparable plan to what we currently have? $567/every two weeks. We’re just lucky that my husband’s workplace had open enrollment at the same time. We’ll end up saving some every month, but our co-pays will go from being $15/visit to $30/visit. I’m very thankful that we don’t get sick very often/have chronic conditions. I look at my health insurance going out of reach as one less thing to keep me tied to my workplace.

sooboo
sooboo
14 years ago

I always resented the fact that my health insurance was tied to my jobs. I have stayed at jobs I didn’t like, longer than I should of, just to keep the benefits. Now I’m self employed and I buy my own, which is also a tax deduction, but it’s just okay insurance. They like to take my money, but they hate paying for stuff. All through my 20’s I never had insurance, and I managed to get by without it. I was a temp, part time employee, and I worked for small businesses that weren’t required to offer it. I did learn a lot about home surgery though.

Cara
Cara
14 years ago

Dawna: I worked for a small real estate office a few years ago and they didn’t offer insurance to their employees at all because there were only like 5 of us.

I left there specifically because we never got insurance. I was promised when I was hired that they were working on getting it for us, which never happened.

The next job I had had really great insurance and saw me through two pregnancies. Now my family is covered through my husband’s insurance which has been pretty great until the end of this year when they are ditching their HMO and making everyone switch to this Health Savings Account bullshit. Basically we have to pay $300 a month in premiums but we still have a $3000 upfront out-of-pocket deductible before we’ll be able to take advantage of any copays. The only bright side is that the kids well-child visits are 100% covered. The real kicker is that our family doctor, the one that all 4 of us see, isn’t on the stupid plan, so we won’t be able to go to him anymore.

HSA’s might be ok for young, healthy people who rarely get sick. But for a family of 4 with 2 kids under 2 it’s just not a good option at all.

My husband will definately start looking for another job soon and health insurance will rank right up there with salary in terms of priority.

lara
14 years ago

I invite you all up here to Canada, where it certainly isn’t perfect, as other commenters have noted, but it’s not something I worry about.

About a month ago I had to pay my first ever medical bill – $300 to remove a cyst from my breast. It was considered “cosmetic” and therefore not covered. And I totally crabbed about it. Um, so now I’m gonna seriously shut my pie hole about it.

samantha jo campen
14 years ago

Have you been in my brain? Because this is THE EXACT THING I had a breakdown over Tuesday night.

We have insurance. And it’s only okay. We’re already tight on money and expecting a baby in April. So I’m stressed. Lately, the bills have been coming in from my doctor’s appointments showing what was covered and what is “Patient Responsibility”. The patient responsibility is bullshit. The amount we owe compared to what the insurance paid is at least 50% if not more every time. Ultrasounds are also expensive! I work for a small compnay so our ‘deal’ isn’t as great as a larger corporation. So I got another bill for $105 and lost it. I started freaking out wondering how much the birth will actually cost us, and what if something goes wrong, and what if the baby needs to stay for a while and, and and. . .! By the time I was done, I was convinced we’d never be able to own a house (we currently rent) because we’d owe so much in medical bills, our son wouldn’t be able to go to college, and he’d be in debt his entire life all because of our so-so insurance.

Yeah.

Ironically, ‘Sicko’ came in Netflix that night, so my husband thought it would be a good idea to watch it and put our situation in perspective. I couldn’t get past the intro because I felt ill (I don’t do well with human medical stuff. I get queazy).

So as I was twitching in a ball in our bedroom, I started thinking that hell, at least we HAVE insurance. It’s better than nothing. We could have it a lot worse. But THEN I thought: Fuck our government for even PUTTING people in this position. My husband and I both have decent jobs and I’m STILL stressing out about this. What must the rest of the popluation be going through if we’re considered lucky? It’s not fair and I resent being put in this position, all because of our shitty health care system.

Sorry so long. But it’s crazy that this exact topic (EXACT!) has been on my mind all week.

Valria
14 years ago

I hope your cold is short lived and you feel better soon.

Cali911Gal
Cali911Gal
14 years ago

Dawna:

Case in point: my 30ish step son, works for a local autobody shop. 39 hours a week, specifically so they don’t have to offer him health coverage. His wife: 38-40 hours per week as a nite clerk at a major motel chain. Their reasoning behind why she can’t get coverage: “We only work you 38 hours at xxx part time job, the other hours we let you work in ‘another’ part time position.” This is how they avoid health care coverage AND in paying her OT. Note: they have two children, and the kids (only the kids) have minimal medical (welfare) coverage, because there isn’t any other option.
Another case in point: I work for state government, as does my stepdaughter. We do the EXACT same job, same pay scale, opposite ends of the state. I have a mediocre HMO that everyday I come to appreciate more and more. Because she lives in a rural area, there is no HMO. She has one plan choice, and because she’s a new employee, the state only gives her 50% of their normal share of cost to employees. She pays oo pocket about $1000 a month to cover her, her hubby and their son. Her share of cost for care: 60-80% of the bill.
Her share of cost for the birth, which was a no-complications, one day only stay, was over $10,000. So even tho we both work for a state that insures easily over a million people, and you would think we’d get low premiums and great coverage, there are still large disparities and substandard plans being offered.

As a side note: No, a lot of ppl don’t consider what their health plan offers when considering a position. Most of the youngsters I’ve hired don’t even ask, and are befuddled when given choices. The young generally tend to take good health for granted. Me, I treasure what I have, even though it could be better.

I’ve often thought that govt run care was a good option. I honestly don’t know, but like the rest of you, I am waiting for ANY candidate to come up with something viable.

claire
14 years ago

I am a graduate student, so I have sucky health insurance, but I also have a 7 month old son, and there’ no way I would let him go un-insured. Luckily, Daddy has a “real” job so my son is covered, but even if he wasn’t he would qualify for medicaid. Anyone who has a job with insufficient coverage or makes little enough money or is single and doesn’t have his/her child insured, should check up on their goverment funding possibilities. We pay our taxes for it; someone ought to benefit before the current president fucks it all up.

cheyenne
14 years ago

My pregnancy was terribly unplanned in that I did not have insurance previously–well, I did but it was catastrophic coverage only through a UK firm. So, I find out I’m pregnant and look into getting coverage, expecting to pay a fat maternity rider or something, only to find out that pregnancy is a pre-existing condition (like, say, epilepsy or Parkinson’s disease). So, basically an automatic denial for independent coverage, period. Long story short, we moved to Oregon to get me on a group plan for pre-existing condition types (Oregon has a law which forces coverage after a 6-month waiting period). My six months are up Jan. 1st (I have been paying not insignificant monthly fees to the insurance company these past months, of course) and I should at last be covered… 14 days before my due date! Cutting it very close but I didn’t have a lot of choices.

It’s pretty frustrating but I just tell everyone up front that I pay out of pocket and I found a clinic that has been very accommodating (they give me a 30% discount on consulting, lab, and ultrasound bills), plus my doctor knows not to do any superfluous testing. I sort of live in fear of pre-38-week-labor though, but that’s the way it is (keep legs crossed!). Oh, and once I am finally covered, my out-of-pocket fees are $1500. Bleah. I’m afraid to watch ‘Sicko’ because it would just be way too depressing.

Here’s something totally random: I just found out that when I was a baby (I had an internal birth defect that took almost a year and a half of in-and-out of the hospital and four surgeries to fix), my parents did not have insurance. By the time I was fixed, the bills were insane and they just paid what they could month by month. Then one day my mom got a letter in the mail saying that my bills were paid by the March of Dimes organization. She had no idea and had never contacted them at all–nor had they contacted her; someone just read or heard about my case and they decided to pay off my bills. I was floored.

MotherGooseAmy
MotherGooseAmy
14 years ago

Pharmaceutical Sales Rep here: Oh, I could go on and on and on about this subject. The healthcare industry is extremely corrupt,(but they write my paycheck and offer my family health insurance) but it’s nothing compared to the corruption of Medicare. OH MY GOD!

I used to sell an injection for Prostate Cancer. I sold injections to the doctor, the doctor injected the patient, then the doctor billed Medicare MORE than he bought the injection for. And lo and behold, the USA of A paid the doctors more than what they bought the drug for. The doctors actually LEGALLY scammed the government hundreds of dollars per shot. Fortunately, over time Medicare has trimmed down the profit margin, but how crazy is that? Doctors buying CANCER medicine to give their patients based on how much money he can make off the government.

Obviously, I had to find a new job. My conscience couldn’t stomach what I was involved in. Yes, despite my occupation(still a drug rep, but for a different company), I am 100% for national health care and am voting for Hillary. But don’t tell my employer! By the way, pretty much all PBM’s (pharmacy benefit managers– the company who runs the drug portion of your insurace, ie: medco,express scripts, etc.) will not refil your prescription until you are almost out of your current supply… unless you use mail order.

janet
14 years ago

Like you, my husband and I have fantastically wonderful insurance and I am so thankful for it. But I watched Sicko last weekend and parts were just heartbreaking.

rai
rai
14 years ago

There is no topic like this one that makes me get my rant on. I’ve had really good insurance for the last 8 years, but have had to watch numerous friends suffer because they can’t pay for it and their jobs don’t provide it. Hell, when my boyfriend was out of work and eventually got a part time job with no benes, I begged him to marry me so he could have coverage. (Having both been divorced, neither of us are feeling the need to tie the knot.)

Makes me want to adopt everyone I know, so I can make sure they can get the care they need and deserve.

Kristie
14 years ago

I very much want to see this movie.

My health insurance sucks hairy balls. They didn’t cover pregnancy or birth when I had my son last year. Tell me that isn’t the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard.

Jennifer
14 years ago

I haven’t seen the movie yet, but want to. There’s nothing I like better than watching a movie that makes me fell all stabby.

I thank my lucky stars every time I go to the pharmacy that the company I work for has great insurance/benefits. I think that’s how they keep people there, to be honest with you. I don’t know what on earth I would do if I didn’t have such (relatively) low co-pays and while the medication I’m on isn’t for a life or death situation, it sure keeps me from venturing into Crazy Town.

Feel better!

Lesley
Lesley
14 years ago

Although Moore went a bit overboard in his portrayal of Canada’s universal health care system (which governments are doing their damnedest to downgrade and privatize), I thank God every day I am a Canadian. I choose my own doctor, my health insurance premiums are $35 a month (my employer kicks in the other $35) and for that I get to choose my own doc, I get 80% of my prescriptions covered as well as things like massage, chiro, physiotherapy, acupuncture, naturopathy, homeopathy and 100% on surgery, emergency care, hospital stays etc. I am more than willing to pay more taxes and increased premiums to support a universal health care system that supports everyone from the poorest person to the most wealthy. I hope we can keep what we have and that Canada doesn’t sell out (though looking at our politicians these days, I wonder what country they think they are living in…they don’t seem to share the same values.)

Lesley
Lesley
14 years ago

Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention, the deductible on my extended benefits is $60 a year! It used to be $25 and I bitched when it went up. I stopped bitching when I learned that Americans pay tens of thousands a year for private health insurance that doesn’t always cover them for serious illnesses.

JMH
JMH
14 years ago

Cara:

I am a teacher and my family (hubby and 2 kids) are all on my plan. We are also switching to an HSA. However, ours will be BETTER than our current insurance. My family will have to pay around $700 per year to enroll. My school district will provide $3300 per year for my account. If we use all $4000 within a calendar year, then the insurance company will cover everything 100%. We will use the $4000 to pay for everything: office visits, prescriptions, any hospital stays, etc. Also, since this money is in our account, we get to choose any doctor, hospital, specialist, etc. Now, if the doctor we choose is not “in network” then we will have to pay more to see that doctor, but the choice is left up to us. All “preventative” office procedures are 100% covered by the insurance company. This includes immunizations for my kids, my annual pap smear, etc. Also, at the end of the year, if we have not used all $4000, the remainder will roll over into the next year. Our account also earns interest, so that account can potentially grow over time. When I reitire, I can take the money in that account and purchase another health insurance plan.

Our school district chose to do this to save money. This way, they pay a set amount each year to cover their employees, instead of a fluxuating amount depending on various health issues. This will save our district over $1 million per year. As a public school, this will really help with finances. I personally think our HSA is a great idea for everyone involved.

Jenn
Jenn
14 years ago

that pissed me off. Distancing yourself from “mental” issues just reinforces the suspicion that I have worked so hard to let go–that my depression isn’t normal and in fact, is weird and makes people want to distance themselves from me.
I suspect that this is not what you intended–but it’s how it feels, and it’s not fair. If somebody assumed that because you take medicine, it’s an antidepressant, or something else in a similar vein, why would that be so horrible?

Anonymous
Anonymous
14 years ago

Hi
I am Canadian, and I am proud as hell to be able to say that. Our Health care system is one of the best in the world, I believe. Everyone..and I mean EVERYONE…receives the SAME health care benefits, it does not matter if you make one million dollars a year or ten dollars a year…we all have access to the same Care. And I believe that if you asked 100 Canadians on the street how they feel about our Health Care system, 99 of them would say they are grateful to have it. There are NO Sick children turned away at Emergency rooms, there are no choices to be made as to which finger you would like reattached…there is no life or death decisions that have to be made by anybody because of financial concerns…when it comes to our health care system…if anybody needs medical attention, they get it…regardless of their position in the workforce or position in life. And that is the way it should be. We have the resource in Canada to take care of everybody and that is what we try to do.

stephanie brown
stephanie brown
14 years ago

I work for a private non profit hospital that provides health care to anyone that walks through the door. Before we became a private facility, we were basically your average “county hospital”. We still do the same thing, but with a few more abilities now. I love working for a company that is all about helping people get treated regardless of ability to pay. I would hope that there are more hospitals like this around the USA?

Jeanette
14 years ago

I work in a major hospital and have a pretty secure job. I carry our medical coverage for my husband and myself. It costs me approximately $115 a month for a HMO but I have $15 co-pays for dr visits, no co-pay for procedures and no deductible. I am also diabetic so I take medication every day and the hospital I work at covers the co-pay.
I spent way too many years without medical coverage, including when we had small children. I am thankful for the security this brings me.

Ann
Ann
14 years ago

I’m an American who lived in Australia, and when I first got there I got a bladder infection, then strep throat, then had an allergic reaction to the antibiotic and broke out in giant hives (and, ahem, a lady infection thanks to the antibiotic). It was aweseome, let me tell you.

I wasn’t eligible for the Australian public insurance, obviously, though it’s a fabulous system, and had to walk into the ER and pay the whole thing. I was scared shitless to see the charges. BUT my total, including medications, came to something like $75. Aussies, they’ve got it going on. We should use them as a model for our own system. I mean really: politicians, find a country with a system that works and do that.

SleepyNita
14 years ago

I am in Canada as well and I pay nothing for full family coverage (My husbands employer covers all healthcare premiums which is about 88$ a month for a family rate) and I pay about 100$ a month for an extended benefits plan (drugs 80% dental 80% and yearly health spending accounts to spend any way you like). My husband also carries extended benefits which his employer covers the full cost of and we can co-ordinate our two plans to get 100% coverage on all medical/dental issues.

That being said, I work in the healthcare system and am appalled at the waiting lists that can accumulate (even my own job had a 3 year wait for testing and treatment, now down to 6 weeks after we busted ass for a year to get rid of wait lists). If you have a real medical issue it will get taken care of NOW, I have never seen anyone wait for medically necessary surgery or testing.

My Father had cancer a few years ago and waited 4 weeks to see a surgeon to get a tumor biopsy (they didn’t realize at the time it was an agressive cancer) which was to me a very long time when you only have 7 months to live. Once we had the biopsy done I will admit his care was nothing but efficient, caring, nurturing and fast; even his Oncologist came to his funeral. I was saddened by his death but so happy he had such a good system to take care of his needs and not leave my Mother destitute in the end.

Our system isn’t perfect but it will not leave you broke either.