Health Insurance…the Final Frontier
I received a notice in the mail today that informed me that my health insurance is going up again. My premiums will be increasing by 8%. Which wouldn’t be so hard to stomach if they hadn’t gone up 11% just twelve months ago. My husband and I are pretty healthy people. We don’t smoke. We don’t do drugs. We don’t have debilitating diseases (knock on wood). We don’t go to the emergency room every time one of us stumps a toe. Actually we don’t go to the doctor unless we need a prescription or have a limb detached from our bodies. Our kids go to their wellness check ups, so don’t go calling family services on me. We don’t abuse the system. We pay our bills on time. We are good people. So, why is our individual health insurance so astronomically high?
I was hoping the changes to health insurance legislation would help people like us (make too much to qualify for government assistance, but make too little to pay for our own health coverage). But I guess that was a pipe dream. The coverage we have now isn’t the greatest. We still have to pay a percentage of our bill, which I never really know how much that is going to be. It’s as if the medical institutions pull a number out of the air at random. Why can’t I just go online and do an itemized bill like other services that I can see before I go to the doctor?
Gall bladder removal $1,500
Anesthesia costs $400
Tylenol taken while in the hospital$45
Fuzzy slippers to wear during the procedure $35
Paper hospital gown cleaning bill $20
That way I could opt-out of some of the things I don’t want to pay for. I mean I’d definitely pay for the anesthesia, I mean come on. But the $45 Tylenol….I might decide to bring my own. It’s like going to the mechanic…while we were in there we noticed your transmission was shot….that’s going to cost you around $1500….you’re lucky we caught it before it got bad…..but I just came in for an oil change!
Why are medical bills so seemingly flexible? Hospitals charge insurance companies one amount, Medicaid another amount, and individuals another amount. What’s the deal? Do they roll the dice behind that little partition in the billing department and leave it to fate? Why can’t the prices be the same across the board? Aren’t we all getting the same care? Who do I have to sleep with to get my thyroid checked for a low-low price? Why has it come to this?
I know it takes time to fix a system that is so ridiculous and unbalanced, but are we even trying? I’d like to see some legislation that reduces frivolous lawsuits so doctors don’t have to fear losing their practices over not telling a patient to spit out a cotton ball after their procedure. Can’t we find a balance that keeps doctors accountable and keeps idiots from abusing the system at the same time? Aren’t there systems in place in other countries that we can look at and get some ideas? Or would that be un-American?
Maybe that’s our problem. America is a country of rebels. We started out that way…we have a rep to protect. We came to this land (took it from its original owners) and established it as the land of the free (except for the people who actually lived here to begin with…their freedom was taken….but I digress). We have to do things our own way….which hasn’t always turned out that well. But by golly, we did it our way and no one can tell us what to do!
I hear France is nice this time of year….and they have universal health care, don’t they?
Se la vi….