Monday, June 23, 2014

Health Care Inequity

Some of you may remember the story of when I spent two years in Philadelphia and worked in a job I loved but which had no benefits.  No sick leave, no vacation, no health care.  I was also profoundly depressed during that time. So I  informed everyone around me that if I was sick or injured, they were not to take me to the hospital  I preferred to die rather than to rack up medical bills that I could never pay. Fortunately, I had no such illness or injury.
Now I have a job with health insurance.  One condition of that insurance is that we must get annual physicals.  This year, it also required that we get glucose and cholesterol tests. I’ve been keeping the statements about what it would have cost me as an uninsured person versus what I’ve had to pay.  I can’t make a table on Blogspot, but I hope you can see the numbers.

Date                                      Amt Billed             Amt I Owe          Service
April 25                                 $126.00                $0                           glucose/cholesterol tests
June 3                                   $315.00                 $0                           shingles vaccination
June 3                                   $206.00                 $0                           annual physical exam
June 3                                   $6.00                     $0                           some sort of diagnostic lab

This is not fair!  Because I have the good fortune now to be in a job with health insurance, I received $653 in medical services over a five week period, for which I haven’t paid one penny.  But if I were unemployed or working in a job without health insurance, I would owe $653 to my doctor.  Need I tell you how much $653 means to an uninsured person in a low paying job??
And it’s going to get worse.  My mammogram showed “something suspicious” earlier this month, so I had a 2nd mammogram and an ultrasound.  I’ll let you know how those numbers appear.
It makes my head spin that the “Christianists” on the right wing of the political spectrum oppose the expansion of health care. Those people supposedly follow Jesus Christ, who healed the sick. But they have no compassion toward those whom Jesus healed.  And, frankly, it disappoints me that President Obama and the Democrats caved on the Affordable Care Act.  It is patently unjust that those who are least able to afford health care get charged more than I do.  And, finally, I reserve my utter contempt for the Republican oligarchy in the Missouri Legislature, who refused to extend Medicare to the least and most desperate of our citizens … while most of them claim their “Christian” credentials.  Shame on them. A pox upon them.


Blogger JCF said...

It's actually worse than that, Lisa.

The costs charged to your insurance company are usually actually LOWER than what they charge the uninsured. Because why not kick poor people some more when they're sick?

6/25/2014 2:31 AM  
Blogger JCF said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6/25/2014 2:37 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

I know that, JCF! It's an insidious and immoral system. There should be one price for any procedure, regardless of whether one has insurance.

The amounts I reported in this post were the amounts the providers requested. But the "allowable amounts" were lower, due to the price fixing between providers and insurers.

4/25: The provider billed $126. Insurance price was $40.72.
6/3: The provider billed $315. Insurance price was $232.18.
6/3: The provider billed $206. Insurance price was $144.60.
6/3: The provider billed $6. Insurance price was $3.05.

So I got about a 1/3 discount simply because I have insurance.

Please explain to me why we don't have a national insurance plan!?!

6/25/2014 9:38 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

You probably got more than that if you were able to compare with retail. In the time before I qualified for Medicare, and was laid off (thank you Wall Street!) I found that the carriers and medicare negotiate prices well below what the individual without insurance pays.

Medicare really is the answer. Simply extend the age limit down to 1 minute old. Yes we would have to figure out how to do some funding, but we did that for old people, we can do it for others.


8/04/2014 10:38 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Amen, Jim. I'm not thrilled with the Affordable Care Act. We should have gone for a single payer system and a level playing field.

8/04/2014 8:41 PM  

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