Access to the best care for everyone

29 Sep

As I look at the current economy, I wonder what types of vital services people will start to forgo — because they get laid off, or can’t afford to continue to fund their current life style. I fear that health care, especially for younger generations (people in their 20s and 30s), will be on the “cut” list when an individual or family looks for ways to reduce their expenses.

I know a couple who live in Texas. The man is currently self employed and the woman is unemployed and looking for a job. They are thinking that this might be the right time in their lives to start a family. BUT they don’t have good health care. Currently they have catastrophic insurance only. That means having a child could cost them, if all goes well and there are no complications, between $8,000 and $15,000. Ouch! You can read more about the cost of having a baby here.

I know of another woman here in Oregon who was a very healthy 28 year old. She works for herself and believes in homeopathic and naturopathic medicine. She chose NOT to pay for traditional health insurance, and this choice worked for her for five years. BUT this year she took a trip and was exposed to meningitis. Then the worst-case scenario happened. She got viral meningitis. She needed to have brain surgery and spent three weeks of recovery in the hospital. She now owes over $500k in medical bills. She is selling her house and moving into a cheap rental, and will still owe more than $300k.

Ok – it seems like I am trying to scare you into making sure you have health insurance. And yes, I am. But I also want people to understand their options and look beyond the “traditional” plans. For my friends in Texas, I am recommending that they put the man on just catastrophic insurance and the woman on individual insurance with maternity options. This way they can pay a total of about $250 per month but still get fairly good coverage if they want to have a baby. Once the baby is born, they will have to look at options again, to make sure they continue to have affordable health insurance for their family. Hopefully by then the man’s business is doing better and they can afford to fund insurance through the business.

If being able to afford health insurance is a problem for you, think about creative ways you might be able to self insure. If a broker is telling you things that don’t seem right, talk to another broker. Sometimes it makes sense for your small business to fund the insurance, and sometimes it makes more sense to acquire the insurance individually, and maybe pay yourself or your employees just a little bit more per month to help pay for insurance. At the end of the day, also understand that if something really bad happens, the last thing you need to be worrying about is bankruptcy. You will have enough to deal with–emotionally, physically and mentally–if the worst-case scenario happens to you (health wise). Do you also really want to have to worry about exorbitant medical bills?

I hope that our new president truly looks at this problem in our country and gives us a new solution. It is crazy that there are people out there who want to have a baby but can’t afford to pay the health insurance. As a country, we need to deal with the reality that medical complications can, and are, pushing more and more people into bankruptcy. I hope, I pray, that this time around we will get an administration that can actually affect some change and make a difference for the working people of America.

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One Response to “Access to the best care for everyone”

  1. MUSAorg September 29, 2008 at 5:02 pm #

    The Meningitis Foundation of America (MFA), a national organization, would like the public and media to know that information is available regarding the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of meningitis. MFA was founded by parents whose children were affected by meningitis. In addition to supporting vaccines and other means of preventing meningitis, the MFA provides information to educate the public and medical professionals so that the early diagnosis, treatment and, most important, prevention of meningitis, will save lives. Meningitis is a dangerous and sometimes fatal inflammation of the brain and/or spinal cord that can leave survivors with serious life-long physical problems such as deafness, brain damage and other disabilities, meningitis can sometimes result in loss of limbs. MFA would like to be considered as a news resource for the disease. For further information, visit the MFA website at http://www.musa.org.

    MFA is proud to announce the new C.I.S.S. Container Identification Scratch System
    When we participate in sporting events or mingle at social gatherings it is possible to lose track of our water bottles and/or beverage cans, especially those served in containers that are very similar or identical to a container from which you are drinking. This carries the risk of transmitting an illness, such as meningitis or the common cold or flu. The Container Identification Scratch System, or C.I.S.S., is a fun way to make sure you always know your drink from others. Use it at sporting events or at a family gatherings and reduce the waste from forgotten drinks. Simply scratch your number from the C.I.S.S. label and identify your drink. For more information please contact Bob Gold at Ciss.bob@gmail.com and http://www.musa.org

    Thank you,

    Meningitis Foundation of America
    P O Box 83602
    Phoenix, AZ 85071
    (800) 668-1129
    http://www.musa.org

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