Affordable Healthcare: Unaffordable Healthcare Insurance

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Here are some questions to ask yourself if you believe you have health insurance. What were your total out-of-pocket costs for the year if you met your deductible? What was the cost of your healthcare insurance? How much did your employer pay and how much did you receive? Where is your money going? The California Health Care Foundation[1] estimates that 45 million Americans are uninsured. While this number may seem alarming, consider the fact that 100% of American’s are essentially uninsured on the 1st day of January, every year, and they remain so until they have met their deductibles–something that insurance companies are increasingly making an impossible thing to do. To make informed decisions about your healthcare costs, you have to know the true cost. These are just a few of the alarming statistics you might come across:

1. The average healthcare premium that employers charged for a family with four members was $9,950[2].

2. It is expected that by 2006, the average family insurance premium will be $1,500[3].

3. According to national surveys, the main reason people aren’t insured is because insurance is too expensive[4].

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4. More Americans are worried now (50%) that they can’t afford their healthcare insurance than (42%) who say they are worried about their ability to pay.

How are bills paid?

Do not be misled by billing and reimbursement. Your insurance company will send you a copy detailing the amount that was charged for your last healthcare visit. It is worth asking your insurance company for a copy of the amount that was actually paid. Let me show you one example.

The hospital sent me a bill in the amount of $11,569.20 to my Blue Cross of California insurance carrier. It was for “Inpatient Services”. This included a simple c-section and 2-day stay. My insurance company “discounted” the bill by $9869.20 to $1700.00. This is what they “pay” for the service. Wait, who paid for this service? It was me! I was able to exceed my annual deductible by $7.70 due to this claim. The amount that a member applies to their deductible is the amount they billed less any “patient savings” and other amounts “not permitted”.

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You will need major surgery, or you will be in an accident, which will result in huge bills. Your deductible will not cover you if you’re able to pay it. You are considered a cash-paying patient until you have reached this amount. It’s true.

You can see it for yourself. In my case, $11,569.20 $9,869.20 = $11.00 = $1.689.00.

If you’re still not convinced, I can show the April 4, 2003 bill for $766. I paid $266 and $84.26 to the deductible. There are many more, and you’ll find your own if you pay attention.

But, can you afford to spend cash on healthcare?

Absolutely! Healthcare insurance is something you cannot afford. This is evident if you have a family. Single? Maybe. But why waste your hard-earned money on something you can do so much better with your money? I have 4 children and a wife. It is unacceptable to pay $6,000.00 for premiums and other fees each year. I am joining the ranks of those without insurance and have a great job. Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital gave me an update about the cost of a cesarean. The cash price for a C-section is $3,000.00, as it turns out. You can also call yourself.

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What if you are injured and end up with huge bills? There is too much at stake.

You do. However, I hope you don’t believe your insurance company will bail you out in these situations. You will be stuck in an impossible situation if you get hit by a truck, spend two months in hospital and accumulate millions in bills. Your insurance company will sue the trucker, his insurance carrier, etc. For the next 10 years, the collectors will pursue you for unpaid bills.

It is your responsibility to educate yourself and not give your hard-earned cash to this corrupt industry. For a lively discussion, please comment on this story!