boxhill wrote:WarriorSpouse, you should be thanking your lucky stars that you are amongst the lucky ones in the US who HAVE insurance, and that you CAN afford it. Medical bankruptcies affect many.
For 12 years, we had a catastrophic policy that cost $400 per month with a $15K per year deductible PER PERSON. We could barely scrape up the money for that. My cancer would have bankrupted us.
The complacency of those who have never had to face being under- or un-insured simply enrages me.
BTW, the UK has FAR, FAR better medical outcomes for FAR less money than our vaunted US system.
My experience with the US healthcare system is very similar to boxhill. For years when we were starting out my husband was uninsured, because despite working at an auto shop fulltime they didn't provide health benefits and private insurance was insanely high, especially since I had pre-existing conditions. I worked for a small company and they didn't offer health benefits either. So since I was the one with health issues we bought insurance for me and he had to go without. This was all during the great recession so it wasn't exactly easy to just go out and get another job. Eventually, my company starting offering health plans so he was finally covered which is good since John did get laid off and found another job with a large corporation but they didn't offer health benefits unless you were salary. It's only thanks to the Affordable Care Act that they changed that policy and started offering it to high level full-time hourly staff too. The insurance prices for small companies is way higher than larger ones, so we switched to his plan.
I will never forget sitting in the hospital with my sick and newly diagnosed husband terrified we'd lose his coverage and not be able to pay for his care. FMLA was our hero and I worked hard to make sure everything was submitted to the letter so they couldn't get us on a technicality. But the first two months was torture as we tried to make sure he didn't dip below the 30 hours a week mark, which would mean termination of his health benefits. Our first hospital bill for the 2 weeks stay and surgery was $408,000 and that didn't include the costs for the doctors, the ER, or any of the tests as those were billed separately. His second hospital stay was $104,000 and the third was around $40,000. Each chemo treatment is $12,000-ish and that doesn't include the follow-up hydration and blood tests. We had to pay $10,000 in max out of pocket costs, (They put the whole first hospital bill into 2017 since he was admitted Dec 30th, so $5K for 2017 and $5K for this year and that's for the second-best insurance plan available) but I'm so incredibly blessed we had that much in savings. We've been saving for years to buy a car, and that's the only reason why we aren't up to our eyeballs in credit card debt to cover it.
For a household of two people, you have to make under $21,892 combined to qualify for Medicaid in Virginia and even during the recession we made more than that. He's able to work so he can't get disability, too young to retire early and get anything through Medicare. We are in the lower-middle class so there is no health care safety net for us. We make too much to get assistance and too little to be able to easily afford private market insurance. And don't get me started on how our government wants to take protections away from people with pre-existing conditions, every time that's discussed my heart skips a beat. We may have some great hospitals and doing some awesome research, but our system is incredibly broken.