I find this appalling. As someone whose health insurance coverage has been spotty over the years, I am ashamed that there is such opposition to health care reform in this country. People are actually believing the insane notion that health care reform is a way to euthanize the elderly? People actually believe that health care reform is akin to socialism?
For shame, America. For shame.
Let me tell you what the current system is like for an average individual (like me). I am a free lance graphic designer. I make a middle-range income, lets say b/w 35 and 65k/year. I am self employed. I own a house. I do not have children. I am very healthy except that I have hip dysplasia. This is always considered a pre-existing condition. This condition is manageable and does not require regular treatment. I am in my early 30s. I am female.
My health insurance options are as follows:
I am eligible for basic catastrophic coverage. This means I am covered for unplanned, major events like a car accident, or being struck by lightening – no coverage at all for doctors visits, prescriptions, etc. This would have a $7,500/year out of pocket deductible before there would be any coverage. This would not cover my pre-existing condition. This plan starts at around $2500/year.
I am eligible for a standard individual health insurance policy. This is your basic plan with an out of pocket deductible and some prescription coverage. For this to be a meaningful plan, there should be a basic doctor visit co-pay of b/w $35-$50 dollars per visit. My out of pocket deductible would start at around $3,000/year. My pre-existing condition would not be covered for the first 24 months and the can “renew” the non-coverage for as long as they see fit. This plan starts at around $5,400/year.
If I hire one other person into my little freelance organization, I am eligible for a two-man group insurance policy. This plan is closer to what most people in corporate America consider health insurance. There is a co-pay system of around $20-$35 per doctor visit. There is decent prescription coverage which includes a generic flat rate of $10-$25 dollars per prescription for allowable drugs. The out of pocket deductible is still high at $2,500/year. My pre-existing condition will be covered provided I haven’t seen a doctor for it 6-12 months prior to creating the 2 man group policy. This plan starts at $9,000/year.
These are actual prices I have paid and been quoted over the last 3 years. None of these plans include dental or vision. The second plan wound up costing me more money than it covered by a few thousand dollars. The third plan would only pay for itself if you had to have something major, like surgery or a hospital stay. All of these costs you can take right off the top of your yearly income. Who could afford a voluntary salary reduction of almost $10,000 a year for something you may or may not need?
I had to spend a year without health insurance and without seeing a doctor for my hip dysplasia just so I could eventually get the condition covered. When I did, finally, get to see a doctor, I had almost missed my window for corrective surgery.
That is a very scary word when it comes to one’s ability to walk.
So, maybe, just maybe, before everyone freaks out about the possibility of a government run, optional, health care plan they should consider how this may or may not affect someone they know/like/love/respect/work with and/or care just a little bit about.