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Sunday Morning Health Care

chicago dyke's picture

Good Morning fellow Travelers. So it occured to me that I haven't asked you Good People, as I've been asking my neighbors and clients. What kind, if any, of health care do you have? I think I'm in the very bottom 5% in the blogosphere, in terms of my income, and so my answer right now is "none." Not that I haven't been trying, mind you. But fitting a plan that actually does something into my pauper's budget has been, let's call it "challenging." I like food, and what little I make comes over the intertubes so I can't really give those things up. Foolishly, I had thought that there may be some sort of state program, even temporary assistance, which could fill in this period when I'm between "employer provided plans." Well, I was wrong. This state is experiencing budget nightmares, and they are throwing orphans and the disabled off the roles, so "healthy" people like myself have zero chance at qualifying for what little is left. I find this pathetic and typical of what is wrong with our legislators. I don't blame about 75% of the Dems in this state, many of whom I know and know to be good people honestly trying hard to change things for the better. But their Rethug counterparts here are some of the most soulless, venal, downright evil people I've ever known. To them, it's a big game, a game in which the only thing that matters is scoring 'gotcha' points and humiliating the other side. Never mind the dying children and starving elderly people and crumbling roads. Or the fact that by not helping people like me now, when our health care needs are relatively minimal, they guarantee greater later cost when I'm rushed to the ER for chronic conditions resulting in my inability to have them treated earlier on, and for less.

Anyway, I'd love to hear about your health care solutions in this age in which insurance company profit is more important than our lives. I think I'm going to break down and get a PPO, or some other wholly inadequate and overpriced plan that provides barely any benefit and costs me greatly in terms of what I'll have to sacrifice to afford it. But I'm getting to that age where I really cannot go without one, so hey! I can sell some blood twice a week and still have enough energy to work. Or something like that...

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zuzu's picture
Submitted by zuzu on

Though I recently found out that I'm eligible for group coverage through the Freelancer's Union. And I also found out that I can use city and state clinics for basic health care, which would have been great to know when I had a raging sinus infection last year and couldn't find anyone to look at me for less than $300, not including the meds.

I *could* have afforded health insurance, but I'm basically healthy, and I would have had to have not paid other bills. So I'm just careful not to break anything.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

right now i'm on staff so i have oxford, but it's not great or even particularly good--i was freelancing for 10 years before now, and did Cobra for as long as i could, then would get myself BC/BS, and HIP, and all sorts of other individual plans-- but then have to drop them when individual rates went up and i couldn't swing it. For most of the time i went without coverage entirely. (i prefer freelancing, so will be doing Cobra again pretty soon)

Avant Guild -- http://www.mediabistro.com/AvantGuild/

Submitted by lambert on

Went to the local clinic for another reason, found out I had hypertension. The doctor told me to stop eating salt, start taking walks, and come back in a month, and he'd prescribe me some pills. I followed the directions -- and I'm eating less anyhow -- and never came back. Why? Because I don't want to get into the system as having a pre-existing condition in case I ever do get health insurance.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by lambert on

I don't know how to diagnose "down the memory hole."

All I can do is tell you to get in the habit of always, always selecting the entire text box of a post and copying it before you press submit. That way, nothing is ever lost.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

I have been with Kaiser Permenete for years on an individual plan. It is a high monthly premium, but on the plus side there is a decent Rx benefit and low copays.

Basically I advise moving to Canada or France, but in the US KP probably offers the best value.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

so here's my Q: is it possible (and in that radical, "unscrupulous" way) to sign up for a Cadillac plan, but only for a short time? i'd do that, i can come up with the 500-700$ month fee, for one or two months. i'm all about gaming the system right now, i've done it in other things/ways. two or three months of "real" health care could do the trick for me. let's talk.

seriously, has anybody tried that? does it/can it work? we've got to get all revolutionary on their asses, so i'm listening. who is Scammaster J here? anyone?

Submitted by hipparchia on

but it's meant for people who knw they will uninsured for only a short time and are guaranteed insurance in the near future, as in about to get a new job that provides group insurance, or got a new job that provides group insurance but it won't kick in until after some probationary period, about to marry someone who can add you to their employer's group insurance, etc.

the problem with getting diagnosed with and/or treated for something -- anything -- in our present system is that it then becomes a pre-existing condition. doesn't matter if you get fully cured or not, doesn't matter if it was major or minor... once you have a pre-existing condition and become uninsured again, then you are virtually uninsurable after that, sometimes just for that condition, sometimes at all. depends on both the condition and the insurance company.

even if you do later get group insurance, from an employer let's say [group insurance is slightly more heavily regulated than insurance for individuals and group insurers have to cover you to some extent], the insurance company can still refuse to cover your pre-existing condition. it used to be that a pre-existing condition was anything treated in the previous six months, then it morphed into the past 12 months, and now many companies have gone to 24 months. and when you get into stuff like cancer, especially in individual policies, you're looking at 5-10 years.

also, if you buy insurance shortly before getting treated for something, especially if you drop the insurance shortly after [but often even if you buy regular ongoing insurance], the insurer will go after you for committing insurance fraud [whether you meant to do it that way, or things just happened that way, it matters not] and in the past, the courts have generally been on the insurance company's side on this, not the patient's.

some states have better regulations than others, but in general if you can join a good group plan, your rights as a patient are slightly more protected than if you buy an individual policy on your own. is there a professional association for what you do for a living? they sometimes offer group plans, or can sometimes steer you to reputable sources for buying an individual plan.

if you're stuck buying an individual policy and navigating the choices all on your own, you might want to make an appointment with one or two independent agents in your area [you are in michigan?] as they can sell policies from more than one company and can help you navigate the maze of what's available, what's affordable, and what's more likely to cover your particular situation.

i've heard good things from people who need reliable health care and who have kaiser permanente, but they're not available everywhere.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

why just for a few months? do you have a job in a few months that would cover you?

even when I had a job that would cover me I kept my KP insurance becuase I wanted the continuity of care.

can you commute to your job from Canada? Cause moving to Canada is the best solution. I just don't care much for Canadian weather and don't feel like learning to speak French, so moving to France is out.

jackyt's picture
Submitted by jackyt on

Canada is a big land mass with diverse weather patterns. Point Pelee, Ontario is at the same latitude as Monterrey, California. Victoria, B.C. is one of those springtime in February climates, (with a November through January rainy season). Toronto has a weather pattern nearly identical to N.Y.C.

Baffin Island, on the other hand, gets cold.

Sorry to be so OT, ChicDy, but you already know where I stand on health care. Single-payer all the way, with payment levied through tax channels. It allows for an automatic progressive rate structure, based on taxable income. Easy, cheap, efficient.

And yes, I get my pick of doctors.

And by the way, since I'm a certifiable antique, I'm covered for prescription medication with a $100 annual deductible. I'm so disgustingly healthy I don't take advantage of it, but if I ever did get sick, I'd be looked after no questions asked, and no nasty paper work, ever!

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

I wish we were paying for your health insurance. In an HR 676 world we would be paying for it, and what is more, you would be getting health care, and what is more, it would cost less money that what we are doing now.

Submitted by hipparchia on

it's called social insurance, where everyone chips in an agreed-on amount, the same amount usually, and then whoever is unlucky enough to get hit by catastrophe draws what they need out of the collective kitty.

in order to get some kind of idea ahead of time on what everybody needed to put in so that there would be enough for all who needed it to draw on without draining the fund entirely, actuarial calculations were done: x number of old people, they'll likely cost y dollars each; a number of babies, they'll likely cost b dollars each; s number of sick people and they'll likely cost t dollars; etc, so we'll need z dollars from each person.

it wasn't long before the greedy robber barons started noticing that old people and sick people took more money out than the young and healthy, and bingo! thus were born the ideas of charging some people more than others, and even keeping out the people who were most likely to spend all that lovely money.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

group affiliation plans are the best and cheapest way to go by far...and we all can qualify for at least one of them.

a while ago, i said at Kos that it should offer group healthcare--that it was time for us to do like they did in Poland--Solidarnosc--to create alternative structures to provide the vital things govt was failing at.

The Democratic Party should do it too--and have all registered Dems be eligible.

Until corporations start fighting for real universal/national care(which is totally in their best interests too), we'll have no true govt solution.

Submitted by Elliott Lake on

Because if you have a bad car accident, or other catastrophic thing, you aren't immediately wiped out financially. We joke here that Blue Cross's ppo high deductible plan is, "No, I don't have insurance, I have Blue Cross" but it is at least some safety net. (This is what I have). No meds benefit, no copay, not much is covered--but if I get in another car accident, or have a farm injury, there is some backup.

I say for now because I believe it can't be hidden anymore that universal health care is working in MANY MANY countries and soon our citizens will demand it.

Things you can do to help cut the costs too: ask your doctor (or the doctor of your friends) if she/he has a sliding scale for income (many do, you just have to ask); check on formularies at local pharmacies (the local grocery store pharmacy chain has a list of antibiotics that are FREE with prescription); ask too about specials on diagnostic things (our local hospitals have yearly specials on mammograms, etc., for low income folks). And too, if you ask up front, many doctors and clinics will set up a payment plan for you that you can afford.

It all seems crazy and cruel--that our country prefers insurance companies be assured large profits to its citizens being assured access to health care--and it is.
My late stepfather was a doctor, and when a patient couldn't pay in money, there was always trade, or free care for the destitute. He took firewood, produce, farm repairs, even horses as payment. And by the time he died, he had written off over a million dollars in bills that he knew his patients just couldn't pay; but he never turned anyone away. But then he also made housecalls and patients came to the house at all hours. (Nowdays most doctors have unlisted phone numbers and would faint if patients found where they live.)

No, he never got rich--in monetary terms. It is shameful that our country and medical system has forgotten the value in human lives.

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

1. If you need medical care, you go to a clinic.

2. You are evaluated by competent medical personnel and treated competently according to your needs.

3. The medical personnel are appropriately compensated for their services.

4. You pay for those services in advance, weekly/monthly/annually according to your ability, via a special progressive tax on earned and unearned income.

5. The medical personnel are regulated by the government to ensure they are competent.

6. In the event of malpractice, damages for pain and suffering are capped and paid by the government, in exchange for guaranteed coverage and compensation for actual losses such as lost wages or disability. (similar to Workers Compensation)

As Ronald Reagan once said: "There are simple answers, just no easy answers."

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“I don't belong to any organized political party. I'm a Democrat.” - Will Rogers

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

everybody gets a little

------------------------------------------------
“I don't belong to any organized political party. I'm a Democrat.” - Will Rogers

zuzu's picture
Submitted by zuzu on

Is, in fact, moving to Canada. I applied for immigration when Gonzalez got sworn in as AG, and got my permanent residence card last year. After Torquemada got bounce, I had originally thought I wouldn't actually go unless McCain became president (I still love NY), but I just don't know now.

I'd be eligible for citizenship after three years, and I wouldn't have to give up my American citizenship.

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

we'll be annexing Canada when global warming kicks in.

------------------------------------------------
“I don't belong to any organized political party. I'm a Democrat.” - Will Rogers

Submitted by hipparchia on

we've destabilized the middle east... which has driven up food and fuel costs... we're about to nuke iran... we're unable to pick a president... october 2008 cananda invades the u.s., swooping down on us like wolves on the fold, and saves the world [incidentally imposing their evil marxist health care plan on us].

jackyt's picture
Submitted by jackyt on

You Wish!

Submitted by hipparchia on

otherwise i'm just going to have to wait for global warming to heat up vancouver to miami temperatures.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

is there anyway of researching on how many people have emmigrated from the US? Get the feeling that they are planning to close the border?

zuzu's picture
Submitted by zuzu on

Either Immigration Canada or Statistics Canada would have that information.

And, yeah, I'm a little afraid that a window might close on me.

That said, the process was easy. I went as a skilled worker, which is a points-based system. I'm a lawyer, but what they really need are people in the skilled trades, especially in Calgary.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

Like Chicago, only more wind and colder.