Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The media is getting on my last nerve.

I have a girlfriend who is paying more for the health care penalty than she pays for her own care! And she has one of those bubble babies who is allergic to everything. And she's a single mother! How is that fair?

The stupid questions the media poses about this subject makes my head spin spin off.


  1. Now that it's the "2017 plan year" with my insurer, my insurance plan co-payment clock has reset and the rates have gone up substantially ...

    This means that my insurance for 2017 will now only provide full cover after throwing over ten thousand dollars at payments for it as well as for co-payments.

    I have one prescription that now eats up 580 USD per refill, so I'm using up what's left before having it filled again. Fortunately I was able to stock up a bit during 2016.

    Compare this to £29.10 per quarter for all prescriptions if I simply bought a pre-payment certificate from the NHS, and £8.40 per refill if I simply refilled the prescription without one ...

    I'll also have to visit a doctor to have the prescription changed at all. The last doctor's visit was charged at 670 USD including some diagnostic tests, which means I'd be expected to pay all of that except for 50 USD until the co-payment limit has been met. Visits to the doctor for examinations were free for everyone within the NHS.

    Given that my prescription costs would be under 300 CAD in Canada and that the private care doctors there are also more reasonably affordable, it would actually be more cost-effective for me to fly to Toronto for health care.

    Medical tourism for Americans doesn't mystify me at all -- what mystifies me is why there isn't a lot more of it ...

  2. That is insanity. What kind of posh place do you go to the doctor? My doc is in literally the 5th most expensive city in Silicon Valley and he only charges 200 bucks for a visit. But then, seeing a doctor in a very affluent city is my form of medical tourism. People pay their bills there. So, doctors charge less. I know - it seems counter intuitive, but it's true. That is what shopping around gets you.

    I'm guessing that anyone that can afford medical tourism - does that. If I can run into a random guy from Sweden who travels to Germany for healthcare - I'm guessing it happens all the time. People just don't maybe talk about it. Because if you can afford to fly somewhere else for healthcare, you aren't getting sympathy from anyone.

    One of Mr S.'s buddies has a daughter with juvenile arthritis. I think he said a dose of her medication costs like 25 grand. And she has to have it a few times a year. The whole system is insanity. Yet people are so wedded to insurance. There is so much bloat in the system, that people don't even know what's normal to pay or not. It's frustrating.

  3. They make television shows here and it isn't California -- that's all the hints you get. :-)

    I'm lucky I'm not like Terry Pratchett who had to pay something like £4000 per month for the stuff that kept him going as long as it did.

    The biggest problem is that when "the plan year" resets, I have to pay for everything until I hit the limit. That means that I'm paying for health cover that then gives me the privilege of paying for everything until I've hit the limit, with a few odd quirks like that 50 USD exclusion. The only reason I hit the limit in 2016 was that I went away to hospital for quite some time, and after handing over a sheaf of money, I was able to have them cover nearly everything (except ridiculous pharma co-pays) for the rest of "the plan year", which for me reset on 1 March.

    Since the American medical establishment seems to be able to make up the prices as they go along, and since I'm resident here now (and not in the UK), I'm keeping this health cover because it's better than being made bankrupt by medical institutions deciding how much of my present and future worth they'd like to claim as trophies.

    With medical tourism it's not necessarily about going to the best place for it, or the place that will see you immediately. I think part of why it's not talked about is that it's seen as a "what's wrong with America" kind of matter, and that instead of talking about how it's cheaper or how it works better somewhere else and how that could also happen in America, it turns into a blame game for the person who's figured things out enough to make it work.

    The "health care exchanges" are also horrid, especially when you come up against state-level health cover issuer problems. I have a friend who wants to move into a rural county for various personal and business-related reasons, but he can't because there are no national plans available within the rest of his state. And so he maintains a city apartment and a city mailing address in one of the very few counties served by a semi-decent exchange plan. It's not a matter of being able to afford it -- in his case, there are simply no plans being offered.

    But I know someone who flies to Mexico City for dental work because it's cheaper and often done better. I know someone else with dual citizenship in a Caricom country who flies down to one of the French hospitals in the French Caribbean where things work better for him.

    I also know of a guy who should have flown to Bangkok to have a certain matter with cancer taken care of straightaway, who wound up being fussed over by overly cautious American medical practitioners who delayed treatment to the point that the cancer spread to his liver, and now he's quite properly forked. By the time my next birthday rolls around, he won't be here for it.

    So yes, I'd take medical tourism and paying out-of-pocket over avoidable dying or being made into a semi-permanent debt slave, full stop.

  4. Wow. I'm sorry to hear that. Sounds like you have a chronic condition.

    The older I get the more I think people don't want to actually solve any problems. They just want to fight about it.