Sunday, June 7, 2009
The truth about Medical Insurance
60%+ of bankruptcies were caused by medical bills
78% of those were people who HAD medical insurance but were bankrupted by bills for things that weren't covered
It's easy to say "won't happen to me", but there are a lot of things that DO happen to people who think it'll never happen to them. I ate a healthy diet, exercised daily, had no bad habits -- I was the last person you'd expect to get sick, much less something that would affect me the rest of my life.
As for insurance, after I lost my job, I converted my employer-paid policy to an individual policy with the same company. They haven't been able to find an excuse to cancel my policy for fraud because everything on my application was accurate, but after I used the insurance to pay for an expensive test, they have rewritten the policy to the point that it covers essentially nothing.
If you call the company and ask what the policy by this name covers, wanting to buy the policy, you'll be told it covers all sorts of things; it's apparently just my individual policy that's been revised to cover nothing. Since I'm not part of a group policy, they can do whatever they want to me, and there's very little I can do about it. I'm now in treatment for a pre-existing condition, so any other insurance company either won't insure me or will only insure me for an unaffordable premium.
One of my business partners is looking into getting a group policy for the two of us, but the problem is, we BOTH have pre-existing conditions, so the price on that may be just as ridiculous as on an individual policy.
This is why we need the government to step into the health insurance business. The insurance companies have guaranteed that if everyone is required to have coverage, they will no longer refuse to insure people with pre-existing conditions, and that our price for coverage will come down.
The government has agreed to subsidize premiums for people who don't earn enough to easily afford them, if universal insurance is mandated. From a middle-class or upper-class perspective, that may not be what you want to hear, but for those who would otherwise need to choose between insurance and food or rent, it's crucial. And with the economy the way it is, you can fall from middle-class or upper-class to below-poverty-level very easily -- most people are just one or two paychecks away from financial disaster.
That's the reality. It CAN happen to you. What will you do if it does? If, like most of us, your health insurance is tied to your job or your spouse's job, what will you do if you lose your job? COBRA only requires 18 months of continuation coverage; if you can't get a new job, or your new job doesn't provide insurance, then what?