Monday, April 24, 2006

Young and Uninsured: Living Without Health Coverage

Healthcare is extremely expensive in the United States. Some say it’s because we have the best healthcare in the world and we use the most advanced technology. True, we do use advanced technology, but we are far from the healthiest country in the world. With the money we spend on healthcare, you’d think we were!

Health insurance is extremely expensive. If I wanted good health insurance – one that actually covers doctor’s visits and drug benefits – I would need to pay about $250 per month. At that price, it just is not economically feasible. Let’s say I do get sick and need to see a doctor – I’ll pay the $50 for the visit (insurance has a $10-30 copay anyway) or the $100 for the blood tests. To get my money’s worth, I would need to go see the doctor once a week or have some kind of medical testing every month.

Of my dozen or so close friends my age (around 25 years old), almost none of them have health insurance. It’s okay for now, but when we get married (which I already am), we’re going to need health insurance for our wives and our children. Do you have any idea how much pregnancy and delivery costs? Or how much medical attention babies need???

One of my friends had his appendix burst. It was a life-threatening problem which ended him up in the hospital for weeks. The bill was enormous. He couldn’t afford it, so he was forced to file for bankruptcy.

Our options are limited:
A) pray that the government gives us good Medicaid (not likely)
B) fork out the $700+ per month for family medical insurance
C) get a job with a company that offers health insurance and a benefit

Option A
Not a very appealing option. Aside from the fact that accepting government assistance is distasteful to some, Medicaid is just not a good program. Unless you have kids, you get almost no coverage unless there is an emergency. I suppose it’s better than nothing, but it is not a good idea for the long run since some people usually end up going to hospital when they really need to – far too late for cheaper interventions that a simple doctor’s visit might have taken care of. This is all, of course, assuming that the government will give somebody Medicaid. It seems these days that they are very strict on who gets coverage.

Option B
An option that more and more of us are forced to face. In fact in Massachusetts, they want to force everybody to get health insurance (read my posting on that here). The insurance companies want way too much money for health coverage – it’s ridiculous. The premiums are almost as much as a house payment. Imagine needing to pay for 2 houses but only living in one. What about car payments, car insurance, gas, food, bills, bills, and more bills?! Unless a man is making $100K+ per year, there is almost no way he can afford to get health insurance for his family.

Option C
An option that is slipping away day by day as companies find ways to cut costs. And we are expected to contribute more and more for a supposed “benefit”. Even if a company is making loads of money, they get stingy on the health benefits because it’s the competitive thing to do.

The exclusiveness of our health care system causes a dilemma among America’s work force – especially young adults. In my next blog posting, I argue that Health Insurance Stifles Career Creativity .


At 10:45 PM, Blogger jessada said...

My mom would ALWAYS get on me about this. I'd be travelling all over the world, relying solely on travel insurance, and she'd be worried sick. -- Jess.


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