Carly – 27- New York, USA – Insured (Employer)
“It’s ridiculous to think that my situation is the exception, not the rule.”
For the past 18 months I’ve been fortunate enough to work for a company that has a really fantastic benefits package (medical, dental, vision, etc). Before that I had no insurance for over two years. Luckily, any health issues (various colds, a badly sprained ankle and resulting months of physical therapy, etc) only happened once I had insurance again.
The time I didn’t have insurance was really stressful and scary but for me; at one point I had bronchitis for two months because I didn’t want to have to pay out of pocket to see a doctor. I am one of the few people I know who has had insurance their entire life, save for that two year period, and it’s ridiculous to think that my situation is the exception, not the rule.
I believe in a public option, I believe that something needs to be done because health care in the US is a joke. I’ve been trying to follow the town halls and everything else surrounding Obama’s attempts at health care legislation but it’s been hard because the opposition is batshit crazy and totally unbelievable. Aside from gay rights (and fixing the economy and ending the war) this is the issue I feel most passionately about. Most of the people around me are having health care issues and it’s completely unacceptable in the United States of Effing America.
Crystal – 25 – Sydney, Australia – Insured
“Medicare is fantastic – it offers free or heavily discounted health care to every Australian.”
I’ve spent my life going back and forth between Medicare, the Australian government run health care system, and private health insurance. Medicare is fantastic – it offers free or heavily discounted health care to every Australian. Whether I have a broken limb or an emergency, or need antibiotics or daily UV treatments, I can walk into a hospital or medical centre and get treated for free. Sort of. Medicare taxes me 1.5% of my income, taken from my tax return so that I don’t even notice. And at about $50 p/month for basic cover, private insurance is also a good option.
“The most ridiculous medical cost I’ve ever faced was in the USA.”
The most ridiculous medical cost I’ve ever faced was in the USA. I went to the ER in Austin Texas for a really bad flu and it cost $400. Not only was it unreasonably expensive, but it wasn’t even good – they diagnosed me with asthma, wtf. I’ve had a few health issues over the years, and if I was uninsured and living in America then I truly believe I’d either be bankrupt or dead. I have no idea why America’s health system is so unreasonable. I suggest you all come and live here, where health care is practical, high quality and affordable, particularly for the people who need it the most.
Riese – 27 – New York, USA – Insured (Government)
“My government-subsidized health insurance is so much better than nothing.”
My health insurance (Dental & Basic) is through the New York State government; basically it’s like Medicaid and available to people with poverty-level-or-below income. It’s exactly what the anti-universal-health-care people fearmonger you about — mediocre doctors, overcrowded clinics, impossible bureaucratic paperwork mazes to navigate for basic care and indignant overworked asshats on every “service” line.
But ya know what? It’s free and IT’S SO MUCH BETTER THAN NOTHING! I’m lucky to have it. Copays are low and though it took six months to get set up with a therapist, my weekly therapy is covered by the plan ‘cause I so crazy. Howevs, I’ve paid out-of-pocket for meds 4 or 5 times due to administrative errors.
“Based on the amount of time we’re expected to wait on the phone or at the doctor’s office, I assume most patients with my plan must be unemployed.”
It’s an HMO, which means I need a referral from my GP for anything, which’s problematic ’cause to get an appointment with her requires 4-5 hours of phone call re-directs and follow-up actions involving snail mail, cards, booklets, forms, etc. Working 40+ freelance and part-time hours a week for the last four years, and now with starting my own business, I rarely have time to actually make a doctor’s appointment happen. Based on the amount of time we’re expected to wait on the phone or at the doctor’s office (I’ve waited up to six hours past my appointment time), I assume most patients with my plan must be unemployed. It’s a Catch-22!
Still, it’s better than nothing, and if catastrophe strikes; I’m covered. [Check out a record of my most efficient doctor’s appointment ever srsly – Live-Blogging my Doctor’s Appointment! And yes another fun day at the doctor!]
Before Medicaid, I’d been alternatively uninsured or under-insured since my Dad (and his tenured university professor’s benefits package) died in ’95. My Mom tried her darndest to get me covered as best she could, when she could, often out of pocket, and I used school health services when possible, but ultimately I ended up spending a gigantic chunk of the trust my Dad left behind on my medical care between 1995 and 2004. I felt so lucky to have the ability to pay out of pocket that I didn’t think about what I’d do when that money ran out … and then it did, five years ago … and I want to slam my head against the wall thinking about those bills. My largest expenses include the year it took to diagnose me with Fibro, which included lots of specialists and then two months of weekly physical therapy mistreatment and another four of actually beneficial physical therapy, three times a week AND then a psychiatrist.
I think all Americans are entitled to the same health care I currently have, which in terms of quality is probs equal to most public schools. Enough with this! We need more prevention, education and recess. Why are some lives worth more than others? Furthermore, the administrative and computer system labyrinth I encounter with this plan is MIND-BLOWING. So much money could be saved if all our records were centralized, for example. Technology, people!
I also honestly don’t think any human who hasn’t gone un-insured or been close to someone who has can really truly grasp the situation … when you’re living hand-to-mouth and an $850 — let alone $8,500 — bill shows up in the mailbox, it’s like a dinosaur is in your mailbox eating your hand off. Which would also be pricey.
Robin – New Jersey, USA – Uninsured (Self-Employed)
“I own my own business, how many more effing insurance policies do I need to have!?!?!”
I have no health insurance. In fact, there were only 6 months of my life post-college when I actually had health insurance. In the past, it has been because I could not afford to have it, but now I’m just lazy and probably mildly retarded. I am also stubborn and feel like I should not have to pay an insurance company in order to just have the basic human right of emergency care and routine check-ups. It’s just sick. I own my own business and pay the following insurances already: Car insurance, Renters insurance., Liability insurance, Insurance on my equipment. How many more effing insurance policies do I have to have!?!?! I have only terrible things to say about America’s Health Care system. After reading everyone else’s responses, I think we have covered it, so don’t even get me started.
Intern Daphne – 20 – Belgium – Insured (Government)
“If us Belgians can manage to have such system, why can’t anyone else?”
Let’s face it: Belgium has one of the best health Insurance in the World. Basically every taxpayer enjoys a basic health insurance. This means partially or whole refunds of doctors/specialist visits and medicine, the freedom of choosing your own physician, no long waiting times to see a doctor or specialist and high quality care from every healthcare worker. Besides this basic health insurance you can buy upgrades from the government or private institutions, but next to America these are way cheaper because the Belgian government is very serious about keeping good health insurance affordable to most. Well it’s not really free because you, the employee, and employers have to pay special taxes to fund this nationwide kind of social security. Also there is a lot of paperwork involved. But still it’s some damn good health care here in Belgium.
“Let’s face it: Belgium has one of the best health insurance in the world.”
Besides this basic insurance, we (my family) have a few extras like hospital admission insurance etc. This came in very handy when I had to be admitted in the hospital for about half a year, now a year ago. Instead of the 2000+€ a month I only had to pay about 200€. I’m still seeing a doctor weekly or biweekly and that’s practically for free.
If these doctors appointments would not be covered by insurance, it would be simply too expensive for me to visit my doctor. But also going to your physician for strep throat or a sprained ankle is so easy and cheap, and believe me, I’m a regular at my doctor for those things because, maybe more than in America, you need prescriptions for all kinds of silly medicine. O and have I already said that also medicine is covered by health insurance and thus very cheap?
I think every government should provide a basic health insurance and look over the quality of healthcare. It really pisses me off how expensive and unorganised health insurance in America is. I mean, if us Belgians can manage to have such system, why can’t anyone else?
Next: “Before we can even begin to offer affordable healthcare for everyone, we first have to define what is necessary and counts as a “need” when it comes to healthcare. “
Stories from Katrina, Brooke, Natalie, Natalie’s Boyfriend and Tinkerbell!