Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My Fellow Americans ~ You Do Need To Read This



Those of you who have read my blog for a while know I don't get on the soapbox to preach very often. As you also know, I am a naturalized American citizen who has lived here for over 50 years. There are many things I love about living in America, but I have never understood the greed and cruelty that prevails in the American health care system - from insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, medical supply houses, and the hospital industry. The health care system in this country simply astounds me. 

These problems have never affected me because I have always had good health insurance, thanks to the University of California where I worked. But I do care about people and people get ill with cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and so on. And unless you are wealthy, on Medicare, or have good private insurance, you are pretty much toast should you get hit with something major or need to visit an emergency room, hopefully not being transported there via ambulance.


So this guy, Steven Brill at Time Magazine, took it upon himself to dive into it and write, not just an article, but practically a whole weekly edition of the magazine and fill it with extremely shocking, but still very, very valuable information for anyone who does not have adequate health insurance and for the rest of us who like to stay informed. 

For example, one woman was left with $902,000 in medical bills after her husband passed away from lung cancer. She made about $40,000 a year, running a child care center from her home. America promotes entrepreneurship, but what if you don't make enough to be able to afford good health insurance? Just one example. What I didn't know is that there are lots of things a person can do to get their hospital bills discounted. Hospitals apparently don't expect to get paid in full, yet they will never let you know this. And have you ever heard of a charge master? Neither had I.

I am bringing this magazine, on the stands this week, to your attention because it includes so much valuable information. And a lot of stuff that will shock and astonish you. At least it did me, but we do need to know. 





20 comments:

  1. i have had to purchase private medical insurance the past 2 years - and it is a joke. terrible industry preying on those of us who try to prepare for 'what if'.

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  2. It is a complex issue. My husband has been self-employed most of our marriage and being unable to afford private insurance, we learned ways to get suitable medical care, and I suppose some would be called "tricks of the self-employed and uninsured."

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  3. From what I gather, the cheapest health insurance is to be an undocumented alien--then the rest of us pay for you!!

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  4. Let me step up on that soapbox with you. TJ & I owned a crane service together when he was suddenly diagnosed with cancer and could no longer work. We paid for our own private insurance but it was very expensive. When he could no longer work we were suddenly cut to one salary (mine). We lost our business and were being hit with insurance co-pays to the tune of over $300 per week for doctor visits. When he died, I was tens of thousands of dollars in debt because of medical bills. I negotiated some down but it still took me 3 years to pay it all off.

    Our healthcare system is broken. I don't know how to fix it but something needs to be done!

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  5. Our medical system in Canada is one of the reasons I love my adopted country.

    I don't understand why so many of the lower income people in the US oppose the socialized medicine. When there is more control of the participants-doctors, pharmaceutical suppliers, specialists and so on, it's a little harder to fleece the users.

    We're trying to fight two-tier medicine here, where if you have money in your fist, you can jump ahead of the ones in the system. There's always a con for everything, and always someone who thinks they are more deserving.

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  6. It's time for a BIG change, but some people just don't get it.

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  7. I read that article, with horror. We are insured, but if one of us is unable to work, not have insurance, life would change drastically.

    Timely post, Ingrid. Thank you.

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  8. Vi har det klart bättre i Sverige.
    Gick till vårdcentralen idag för jag dras ju med bihåleinflammation. Systrarna sade vad jag skulle köpa på apoteket ...ingen kostnad eller tidsbokning....så är det i små städer, kram!

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  9. Thanks for the heads up. I will get the magazine to see if I have any options. So far Medicare has mostly taken care of enough of my illnesses that I can handle what is left but I know if I had any long term hospital stays or major operations, I would be toast also. Truthfully, I have no problem with socialized medicine.

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  10. I wouldn't have a problem with socialized medicine. I do have a problem with the outrageous charges. Our insurance cuts back the costs, but without insurance a person gets whacked with the full amount. They shouldn't be able to charge so much in the first place! I have learned of some of the in's and out's though.

    Good post, Inger!

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  11. Dear Inger, I knew about this Time magazine article because PBS Newshour did a feature on it this past Monday. They interviewed the journalist who researched and wrote it.

    Like you I am appalled--and have been ever since I became an adult and had medical bills and had to buy prescription--at the greed in the health industry.

    And I am unable--I mean really unable--to understand why so many people in our country are so fiercely opposed to President Obama's Health Care Reform.

    Have they forgotten that we truly are--we must be--our brother's and our sister's keepers. We must care for one another. Peace.

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  12. I participate in Christian Healthcare Ministries. I pay $150 a month and any of my hospital bills that go over $500 will be covered. I am so thankful for this Christian sharing 'healthcare' plan that I found. I do have to pay for the smaller bills... doctor visits, etc. Gary has a prescription card that covers us both from his Bethlehem Steel employment from the past. I feel so badly for those who do not have coverage.

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  13. The last time I was in the hospital, the bill was so long, we could lay it across our pool table lengthwise, and it touched the floor on each side. Thank God we had health insurance! I feel so bad for anyone who doesn't have it, because just one bill like that, and life is never the same again.

    Thanks for the heads up. I'll look for that magazine the next time I'm out.

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  14. healthcare horror is what i call it. thanks for the heads up on the magazine. i saw a special on some of this on CNN, everyone is talking about it but no one is doing anything. and the govt will not do anything because they are in the pockets of the insurance and healthcare people.

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  15. I am so proud to know you Inger! You are one of the very few to stand up and be counted! Keep it going my dear.
    Living in Canada I am always perplexed by the the attitude Americans have the feeling that there is nothing they can do. And they allow the 'insurance companies' to control them and their elected officials....the ones they put in government. If only the majority realized the power they have to change things that are completely out of balance not just in the US but here too, then things would change.
    Change is coming and I fear it will not be pretty because too many people are fed up and in the state of poverty due to the greed of 'the insurance companies' of the world.
    There that feels better. And thanks Inger for this opportunity. Inger for President!!!

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  16. In the UK we're never expected to pay health bills but sometimes we resort to 'going privately' to avoid long waiting lists. We used to be proud of our National Health Service but sadly recently it has started to crumble. There's not enough money to keep it going as it once did and frail patients are dying from neglect, some even die from lack of basic care like food and drink while in hospital. It's a scandal that our country is in the middle of.

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  17. Even with *good* insurance, the amount we're expected to pay out of pocket is staggering.

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Thanks for leaving a comment.. ~~ Inger

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