Thursday, July 12, 2012

Under the weather

Didn't post yesterday, not really posting today--sorry! I'm just a bit under the weather--no big deal, but not feeling quite the thing (as one of the girls' favorite literary characters might say).

I may not be able to approve comments for a bit, but I wanted to open this up for discussion: which of these things do you think is the biggest bar when it comes to dealing with matters pertaining to health? The list includes the following:

1. Inability to pay for health care due to a complete lack of decent insurance.

2. Inability to pay for health care due to the high cost of doctor visits, prescriptions, etc.

3. Inability to pay for health care because the insurance "provided" by one's employer does not offer enough coverage.

4. Inability to pay for health care due to the economic downturn, job loss or the inability to find a job, or similar economic stresses.

5. Inability to find an available doctor for new patients.

6. Inability to see one's doctor on reasonably short notice.

7. Inability to find a doctor willing to accept one's present insurance.

8. Inability to purchase medications, prescription or otherwise.

9. Inability or unwillingness to make needed lifestyle modifications to promote good health, such as avoiding drugs or excessive alcohol consumption, ending tobacco use, moderating eating and increasing exercise, and ending risky sexual practices and behaviors.

10. Inability to prepare nutritious meals and/or a lack of access or the means to buy fresh ingredients.

11. Inability to take the proper time off from work to recover fully and sufficiently from illnesses or to manage chronic illnesses and/or pain.

12. Any additional factor that you have experienced.

I'm interested in a discussion of these things because I think there's a tendency to believe that if we could "fix" health insurance, we would be fixing health care. Some of these issues mentioned, and probably plenty of the ones I've forgotten, would certainly be improved by better regulation of health insurance practices, but others clearly will not be. I'd like to hear your thoughts--though if comment approval is a bit sporadic, please be patient!

6 comments:

freddy said...

Sorry you're not feeling well! Prayers!
I'll have to think about the list and get back to it, but those are excellent points.
Feel better :)

Beth F said...

1. Inability to pay for health care due to a complete lack of decent insurance. - All the plans out there cover for things we do not need but don't cover things we do need (like maternity care)

2. Inability to pay for health care due to the high cost of doctor visits, prescriptions, etc. We are blessed two fold in this department. There is a doctor 45 minutes from us (not bad really) who does not take insurance, his fees are reasonable as well. He also has them listed on the walls in the exam rooms :)

3. Inability to pay for health care because the insurance "provided" by one's employer does not offer enough coverage. My husband's company is a small start up. When my husband took the job, we prayerfully decided to take in higher salary in exchange for ho-hum health care. We have a savings account set up for medical emergencies and for super costly things, we do have a low interest credit card we can use to pay, if need be. (Last resort option) In the end it makes more sense to do it the way we have, because we've been able to save money instead of spending 600/month for something we hardly ever use.

Beth F said...

1. Inability to pay for health care due to a complete lack of decent insurance. - All the plans out there cover for things we do not need but don't cover things we do need (like maternity care)

2. Inability to pay for health care due to the high cost of doctor visits, prescriptions, etc. We are blessed two fold in this department. There is a doctor 45 minutes from us (not bad really) who does not take insurance, his fees are reasonable as well. He also has them listed on the walls in the exam rooms :)

3. Inability to pay for health care because the insurance "provided" by one's employer does not offer enough coverage. My husband's company is a small start up. When my husband took the job, we prayerfully decided to take in higher salary in exchange for ho-hum health care. We have a savings account set up for medical emergencies and for super costly things, we do have a low interest credit card we can use to pay, if need be. (Last resort option) In the end it makes more sense to do it the way we have, because we've been able to save money instead of spending 600/month for something we hardly ever use.

Tony said...

13: The inability to pay for health care because of lack of proper priorities, the money is not budgeted for it.

I'll also mention, #1 because it segues. Inability to purchase the exact coverage you need due to overbearing government regulations.

Let me explain. The young, healthy people who are "rolling the dice" don't need comprehensive health insurance that pays for everything from Dr. visits to sex rassignment. They need major medical with a high deductable to take care of an accident or major illness, should the unlikely event happen.

They should be able to put money away tax free to pay for their own Dr. visits, and if more people pay their own way (and cause competition between Dr.s for the business) prices will come down. And an insurance policy with a $2,500/yr deductable is pretty cheap. Most people can afford them (even if you work at McDonald's, well until Obamacare, that is).

Ann said...

I think you do not have more answers because the question is too broad, but I will answer broadly. First we need to decide whether we want "national health care" in which we tax everybody in order to give everybody basic coverage for everything, even sniffles and sprains. Those who want better than basic will pay for it themselves (perhaps going overseas if it is illegal to do that in-country. That's the way it works in other countries. My orthopedist is WA does a roaring business in Canadians who want a joint replacement and don't wish to wait years for it.

If we want "insurance", are we happy going on redefining insurance to mean something different in health insurance than in all other insurance? We do not expect car insurance to cover oil changes, tires, even engine repairs and we pay for small scrapes rather that making claims that would raise our rates. Our intention is to cover expensive accidents, at a rate we can afford. Same for home insurance. Home and auto insurance bases its rates on risk and coverage. That's what "insurance" means.

What would real health insurance look like? You would buy coverage for the kinds of big things you need to cover (serious accidents and disease) and would pay for routine maintenance yourself. You would shop around to find the best prices for services you need. Yes, there will be people who are too incompetent to figure out how to "save for a rainy day". We have done a marvelous job in training people to join that group.

Ann said...

1-4. I have always had adequate insurance. One of my sons did not carry insurance for a while being young, tough and invulnerable, but when he broke his shoulder he had to foot the whole bill, but managed to negotiate it down and pay it off over time. Sometimes this is a reasonable option for the people with no dependents.

5. Inability to find an available doctor for new patients. I have heard that many doctors do not take new Medicare patients because they don't cover their costs. I would be concerned if I had to move and find another doctor, but perhaps the Medigap insurance I have would obviate that problem.

6. Inability to see one's doctor on reasonably short notice. I can always see my doctor on short notice, or if he is out, one of his partners.

7. Inability to find a doctor willing to accept one's present insurance. I changed insurance when my doctor's practice would no longer accept the inadequate coverage of our Medigap policy.

8-11 No. Of course not.

12. Everything is working well for us now (ages 78 and 88). We have shopped carefully for insurance we can afford, and have always lived so we have few health problems, just the creakiness of old age. (I take no prescriptions, just vitamins and supplements, neither of us are overweight.) All I worry about is that Obamacare is going kick the legs out from under my well-balanced stool.