Thursday, September 27, 2007

Life List Day 192 - Find Out My Health Care Maximum


Michael Moore was on Oprah today, talking about his movie Sicko and the issue of health care coverage in America. Since I'm self-employed, I have to pay for my own health insurance - and let me say, it's no bargain, even for the crappy HMO I signed up for.

Anyway, Oprah mentioned on the show that it's important you know your health care limit - that some insurance companies cap your coverage at, say, $150,000, which doesn't go very far if you become seriously ill.

So the second the show was over, I called my insurance company and asked what my maximum coverage is.

Apparently, mine is "unlimited," and so is my son's.

That's a nice little piece of mind, although I know I should be more responsible about knowing exactly what I am signed up for, God forbid (knock wood and all that) I ever really do need it.

12 comments:

Livingsword said...

Hi Jill;

Just so you know; Michael Moore’s movie Sicko makes the Canadian health care system sound so much better than the US system. It is not, I am Canadian and seven of my relatives work directly in health care, we have friends that have gone to the States to work in its health care system because of our problems.

Neither system is perfect, both need an overhaul, in the US there are far to many that have no health care and here in Canada the line ups for some procedures is very long (emergencies are handled right away but anything that can wait can take a long time). How about waiting 8-15 months for a hip replacement for example (A procedure that is done the next day in the States)?

With our system people act like it is free because we pay for it with our taxes, this causes serious abuse of the system. We are taxed quite a bit higher here than in the US and 38% of my taxes go to healthcare. It would cost me far less in the States for more prompt service. I should say our people are just as well educated and skilled and we have the same equipment as is used in the US. Yet as I said something has to be done about all those poor people that are not protected…very sad.

So in Canada there is absolutely NO health care maximum, but you may have to wait awhile to take advantage of it.

Deborah said...

This really isn't the place to debate healthcare systems, but Moore's movie isn't about the uninsured, it's about those WITH insurance who end up declaring bankruptcy due to health care costs even when insured. I had a friend declare bankruptcy before she died from cancer (and she was insured). No one should have to do that -- ever. And I would wait a few months for non-life-threatening treatment if it meant keeping my house.

Livingsword said...

Jill;
I apologize if my comment was not appropriate to your blog, I thought since you mentioned the topic it was fair game. In actuality it isn’t a huge issue for me personally, I just wanted to pass along what I thought was pertinent information to the dialogue.

Sorry,
Livingsword

JILL SMOLINSKI said...

Hi Livingsword, I thought it was perfectly appropriate...and interesting, too. As for my blog, I just do what I do, and it if happens to spur discussion, all the better. Thanks for always checking in on me.

Livingsword said...

Thanks Jill;

I for one would love some controversial comments at my blogs…alright more than usual!

Love your blog Jill, always well written and interesting, kind of like a devotional to enjoying life one day at a time…perhaps a book idea? :)

Deborah said...

Guess I thought my comment about the debate not being appropriate was aimed at myself, since it's not a debate unless there's more than one person involved.

After seeing Moore's movie, I e-mailed my best friend, a Canadian who has lived and worked as a nurse in the U.S. for over 20 years on a green card (currently working for an insurance company), to ask her if Moore had presented an overly rosy picture of the Canadian system. Her response was that it seemed accurate. Her parents, who still live in Canada, average about the same wait as she sees here in the U.S. (Next day service would be an exception rather than the rule here) She said there can be long waits for Canadian people in the remote areas, which she said can be true for remote areas in this country.

JILL SMOLINSKI said...

I can't believe I haven't yet seen this movie...today I'm off to Blockbuster to rent it. Sometimes what you see on an hour of Oprah just isn't enough...!
Thanks for all the extra info...kind of gave me the kick in the pants I needed to finally get around to seeing a movie I'd meant to catch when it first came out.

Livingsword said...

Deborah:

My wife is an x-ray technologist, sister is a nurse, another sister is a chief medical transcriptionist, a sister in-law that is a nuclear-med technologist, and another sister in-law that is an x-ray technologist, they all work at different hospitals in the Vancouver area (a large city) and agree that wait times are a very major issue. We have many doctor friends that agree. As I said before emergent care is excellent but non-emergent is pretty poor.

I am simply saying both systems are broken and they both need to do something new. We should not imitate one another:

“Chief among the problems with Canada’s health system are the lengthy waiting times for treatment. Canadians currently wait an average of almost 18 weeks between the time they see their family physician and the time they receive treatment from a specialist.”
- - FROM: http://www.fraserinstitute.org/commerce.web/newsrelease.aspx?nID=355

In the US most of these kinds of cases would be done the next day or within a week, no ton average in almost 18 weeks!

Respectfuly…

Deborah said...

Where in the U.S. is this 'next day' treatment? I wanna move there. I've been booking my gyn appt. 12-16 weeks in advance.

The thing about health care/insurance here is that you can't talk about it as applying across the board. Laws vary from state to state, and insurance premiums and co-pays vary depending on where one works or insures, so it's difficult to legitimately make blanket statements about the cost of any given procedure, length of wait, etc.

I recently met a woman who moved here (Indiana) with her husband from California after they retired.They considered a couple of other states but chose here because the husband's sleep apnea was considered a "pre-existing" condition which meant no insurance coverage for him in the other states. How would one categorize that kind of wait? How did we let insurance companies have that much power?

Since Moore covered other countries besides Canada in his film, I don't think he was saying that we should aspire to the Canadian way necessarily. Nor am I. Since WHO rated France #1 in a study 3 or 4 years ago, and after seeing the movie, I think I'd choose France's system. But I'd still rather wait 18 weeks for sinus surgery than watch another friend suffer the humiliation of declaring bankruptcy before she (or he) dies.

Getty72 said...

I'm kinda glad I live in the UK after reading these comments. I've had emergency treatment and routine treatment, both privately and through our National Health Service and can't grumble about either. It saddens me to think that in some countries health care is closely linked to wealth and that waiting lists are so unacceptably long.

I found both Deborah's and Livingsworld's comments very interesting and I will also go and get a copy of Michael Moore's film. However, after seeing most of his previous films (faranheit 911, Bowling Colombine etc) I am aware that he is prone to sending out as much propoganda and 'spin' as the government do.

Livingsword said...

Deborah;

As I said both systems are broken, neither should emulate the other. When Mr. Moore opened his film he traveled across Canada saying that the US should imitate our system.

By the way WHO is part of the UN so you have to take what they say with a grain of salt.

Getty72;

I completely agree with your comment. My wife has a co-worker that started in May, she is from Scotland (they moved here for the BC lifestyle) and she has been shocked at our wait times compared to the UK.

Mr. Moore is a very political animal beholden to the democrats, which is fine, but we have to take that into account; just like if Rush Limbaugh said something you take into account his ties to the republicans.

Personally I am not beholden to any political party, not even here in Canada.

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