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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Huge Increase in Uninsured Americans

This probably isn't a news story for many of you. It wasn't for us (though it did make me feel less alone). We haven't had health insurance for about three years. With DH being self-employed, it is just too high for us to pay. When we last had insurance it was costing us 1200.00 a month. We couldn't keep up with that.

This is a sad fact of life in our country that many of us aren't insured and because of that we don't get proper preventative care which leads to illness becoming severe before we seek attention and greater bills being created because of the delay. Last year I had to have surgery on a suspicious lymph node. All of the appointments, surgery, tests cost over 10,000.00. The hospital ended up writing off most of it, but I am not unaware, that that cost has to be borne somewhere else.

We are fed a lot of information (or maybe misinformation) about countries that provide government run health care. There are pros and cons to it like there are to anything else. I have heard that we have the best medicine in the world because the researchers are funded by our private health care industry. However, if more and more people are going bankrupt, or having their bills written off or are otherwise burdening the government with medical bills that can't be paid, doesn't it seem like universal health care could balance that cost out? Money spent on people being sick, could be spent on research instead, because if people could afford health care, then they would be more likely to get preventative care and not get as sick as a result.

We have had first hand experience with government run health care. We were in Canada four or five years ago visiting DH who was on a contract there. My son got his hand caught in a museum exhibit and I honestly thought his fingers were broken. (We won't get into the museum negligence here who admitted the exhibit was broken and waiting repairs, but didn't offer to cover any medical expenses).

So we had to go to the hospital. We were with the family of one of DH's coworker's, so they took us to a children's hospital/emergency room. We were there a total of 2 hours (the same amount of time or way better than emergency rooms here in the U.S.). During that time, we were seen, DS was x-rayed and bandaged (nothing was broken, thank God), and we were sent on our way. The doctor didn't give the impression of rushing from one patient to the next, there wasn't a long, long wait and my DS was taken care of in a wonderful manner. The cost of this adventure was 126.00! Yes, you heard me 126.00 and wouldn't have been that had I been a Canadian citizen.

In March, my children got the flu. I had had it and I was soooo miserable, that I bit the bullet and took the kids to the doctor to get them Tamiflu. The cost of our doctor visit (charged for both children, even though they had the same thing and were seen at the same time) was 200.00! Then the medicine was another 200.00 (two prescriptions for Tamiflu and some heavy duty cough medicine for all of us! Talk about sticker shock!!!!!

So that's my 2 cents! Feel free to share yours!

4 Comments:

At 11:18 AM, Blogger Rebecca said...

Melissa,
We do have company health insurance until dh's computer work picks up more. However, I tend to not use it. I have found that preventative care is more of a healthy body thing, and my doctors never cared about that anyway. I end up using chiropractic and natural health items, and fend off most viruses that would otherwise lead to ear infections, bronchitis and such. It's paid off for us. My kids are med sensitive anyway, and it saves us using our insurance enough to cause them to drop us anyway.

 
At 7:31 PM, Blogger Larry Bassett said...

You might want to take a look at www.famis.org and find out what the income limits are for medicaid for children. There are a variety of levels of insurance depending on your income level. You can actually apply online. No cost. No obligation. Brought to you by your federal and state governments.

I am actually serious that people without insurance look into this. It is online and can be all handled via mail and email with the DMAS office in Richmond without any personal contact with the local DSS. The worst that can happen is that you still will not have insurance.

Check it out.

 
At 8:27 PM, Blogger Melissa O. Markham said...

Rebecca, we are rarely ill either and this was my daughter's first visit to our doctor in two years. But when you do get sick and you don't have the insurance to fall back on, it makes it very difficult. I also have a son who is having some kind of skin allergy that we haven't been able to pin down and I would like to get him to an allergist before it gets worse.

 
At 9:05 PM, Blogger Melissa O. Markham said...

Larry, thanks for mentioning that great resource. Due to DH being between contracts, we recently qualified for Medicaid for the kids and it was simple and there was no involvement with DSS. I was trying to apply for FAMIS, but with no income, we qualified for Medicaid. I feel more at ease now where my children are concerned so that if something does happen, they will be able to go to the doctor without us getting further in debt and I won't be having to agonize over whether or not to take them

 

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