Monday, December 14, 2009

Coffee Talk: Preoccupied

I've got a pile of jewelry to photograph and ideas for blog posts but healthcare has been preoccupying my head space lately. Yes, it's in the news and it's a hot political topic but that's not why I'm thinking about it. Since TBC left his job and went into his own business, we've had a tour of the U.S. healthcare system going from company sponsored insurance to COBRA to paying completely out of pocket (with a premium equal to a house payment) and now to a "national plan" which has left me with a stack of medical bills to pay while they determine any "pre-existing conditions." I feel like a reflection of the political discussion going on right now.

I wish I weren't.

I'm coming to terms with the fact that health insurers are there to make money, doctors are there to make money, drug companies are there to make money and my husband's business is there to make money so the costs are passed to us, to me. I could talk here about how I don't think a for profit healthcare system is effective but the point is moot. I've just got to wrap my head around it.

Essentially, I pay a monthly premium out of my paycheck but for what? Paying a premium is like buying into a group rate. The insurance company has negotiated a price for health services. Paying for insurance allows me get their negotiated rate. I pay their rate on top of my premium - or as the insurance company explains, a deductible like car insurance. It's called "high deductible health insurance." My health services deductible is $5200 for a family. So here's another bill to add to the family budget - $5200 for healthcare in addition to the monthly $450 taken out of my paycheck.

I see your eyes glazing over like mine. I'm not trying to explain healthcare so much as I'm trying to explain how it effects Joe and Jane Schmoe.

The insurance company says it's a good thing because we'll all be careful and look for the most reasonable priced healthcare. The word reasonable usually means cheap.

Scary thought that keeps me up at night. What happens when the most reasonably priced healthcare isn't what's right for you?

I need to go for an MRI because of migraines. I've got claustrophobia and need a completely open MRI. Not every place has one so you know it'll cost more. But first, I've got to call around, price the options and then see if I can afford it.

This holiday, I think I'll ask for an MRI for Christmas. Do you think they'll wrap it?

I hope my readers will excuse me for being a bit pre-occupied - you can see why. But, I'm still here making beads and jewelry and drinking coffee with you.

So now that my kvetching is over, thanks for listening by the way, chatting over coffee always reminds me of one of my favorite SNL skits, Coffee Talk with Linda Richman - she's like butta!

So hit the play button and we'll talk!


Katie said...

Wow - thanks for sharing the plight of your insurance issues. I am fortunate enough to have a husband who gets great insurance coverage through his job, so it's hard to get a good perspective on things until you hear it from someone who's actually "in the trenches."

I hope you get your MRI for Christmas - I completely understand the claustrophobia thing because I am the same way! They could always do like they've done for people I know - send you to a regular one and prescribe you a valium so you sleep through it all :o)

SummersStudio said...

Ah, Cindy, I am sorry you are in this situation. We could chat back and forth about the pros and cons of this health care model and that. But at the end of the day you are still where you are at today and it is stressful. I've been in your shoes and just want you to know that I understand where you are coming from. It's good to get it out of your head and into writing. Hugs.

TesoriTrovati said...

"Here's a topic....chick peas...they're neither a chick, nor a pea...discuss!"

Funniest bit ever!

I hope that your woes and your headaches (of all sorts) will vanish. I am saying a little prayer for you...(I hope you don't mind)

By the way...I used one of your bubbles in a piece that is on my blog right now (and I linked back to your website). I love 'em!

Enjoy the day!

mairedodd said...

i really feel for you.. this must be so incredibly overwhelming... it's so easy for people to talk about when it isn't an issue for them - the out-of-pocket expenses for some are minimal... but for those of us for whom it isn't, it's daunting... best luck getting the mri you need... and hoping the stress doesn't keep your headaches ever present...

Michelle said...

I understand what you are going through. I am self employed and work another part-time job. I can get insurance through my job, but it's more than what I pay on my own policy. I never meet the deductable (which goes up every year) so all medical expenses are paid out of pocket. I tried getting on the state funded healthcare, but was told that my household (which is my mom who collects social security and has 2 other sources of income) makes too much money! I would like to see someone from the state live on just over $20,000/year! When I get stressed about it--I bead or read!

Hope that it all works out for you...good luck with the MRI!
Bead Happy!