I know there is a lot of unhappiness with the state of the NHS in the UK and whilst I have some…actually not much..sympathy for those who complain, it is still an amazing service.
In the United States there is NO universal healthcare.
What does that mean?
It means that every individual has to pay for all of his/her healthcare.
Every doctors’ visit, every dentist visit, every prescription, every hospital stay, every vision test.
What’s more, it is very expensive.
The options are to pay cash or get insurance and the healthcare insurance situation is for many, completely unaffordable.
For those lucky to have a good job, employers subsidize healthcare insurance for their employees.
For example, a ‘Sarah’ who works as an IT person for Company X. Sarah pays $700/month towards her insurance but her company covers the rest every month.
Sarah’s insurance costs in total maybe $1200 per month depending on the plan.
Carrying on… Linda gets healthcare insurance through her work. It is worthless. It hardly covers any treatment and she has to pay out $10,000 (her deductible) before any insurance kicks in.
So does her insurance cover the full cost of any major health problems? No. After her deductible she may get 50% of her bill paid to a certain fixed limit…and then nothing.
So you mean her insurance doesn’t cover her full health costs? - That is correct.
If Linda pays the $300/month for her policy and gets ill she will still have to fund the first $10,000 before she can make a claim.
How many people around here have $10,000 lying around?
In fact Linda’s insurance isn’t worth the paper it is written on.
So what about those who don’t have employer’s help with insurance?
Then you’re on your own. Premiums can run to hundreds of dollars a month…every month and like Linda, you will still be stuck with a huge deductibles. Also you will still have to pay a copay for every doctors visit, every dentist visit…..
The only positive thing that has happened in recent years is that under the laughably called Affordable Heathcare Act, pre-exsting conditions were scrapped.
Having a pre-existing condition meant that insurance companies could refuse you coverage.
As an aside, under the Affordable Healthcare Act, known as Obama Care, premiums actually went up, not down as promised.
This act has now been replaced by......basically what was there before.
So, as an uninsured individual you are not alone. Many, many people go without insurance. Though not by choice. Even most middle class people cannot afford insurance. There are some government schemes to help. Medicaid is available to those who have little income. Medicare is available to those who are over 65. These are the only safety nets.
For myself, uninsured, we earn over the threshold to get Medicaid and because I am not a US Citizen I have no access to Medicare until I am 65.
Being uninsured can be difficult. A few years ago I had a burst appendix and spent five days in hospital. The bill was $60,000
Because I was self-pay, the hospital cut the bill to $39,000 and after some negotiation they dropped the amount to $20,000 and agreed on me paying $100/month. I will be paying this off until I die.
The whole healthcare insurance business is a scam. The only people who profit are the insurance companies. Those who treat people charge exorbitant fees as the Insurance company is paying and the Insurance company passes on those fees in terms of higher premiums.
The only loser in this is the person wanting healthcare.
It is ironic when the nurse drawing blood for my blood tests admits to me she cannot afford insurance. The last set of blood labs I had cost over $300.
Where we live in Panama City Beach the wages are very low. Around here the average wage is $10-$11 per hour. How can anyone afford to live and pay health insurance?
In the UK, if you get hurt you can summon an ambulance. Here in the US, if you get hurt you can also summon an ambulance but will also get a $1000 bill for your ride to the hospital.
The biggest reason for personal bankruptcy in the US is medical bills.
The toll that healthcare takes on people from an emotional, stress, worry and financial point of view is immense.
So, my message to my UK friends is, love your NHS and be glad you have it because although the US may have the best health care facilities and medicines the price we pay is beyond most of us.