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Healthcare Costs in Your Area, Let's Hear About them..


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Talk about sticker shock... I received a letter from Empire BlueCross/BlueShield notifying me of my new rate for healthcare coverage. Seems that if you can't balance your own budget pass the increases on to the consumer.

 

My 2009 rate for an individual plan is now $997.94 a month, up $160 a month for 2008. No wonder so many Americans go without healthcare coverage.

 

Anyone else receive their 2009 rate increases? Let's hear about them.

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Guest ReturnOfS

I also have Blue Cross / Blue Shield. My pay period is every two weeks so my salary gets deducted every two weeks for health insurance. My health insurance will go up $8 per pay period. I can live with that.

 

As a side note, I still think that we all would be better off with Universal Healthcare especially if my taxes don't go up much more than what I'm already paying in premiums. I'm sure that employers in general and the auto industry in particular would be glad to not have that burden anymore.

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You can't win this game. :-(

 

During the 2009 enrollment period, all the plans went up so I switched to a plan with a higher co-pay/deductible to keep my monthly premiums about where they were before. Before that change could even take effect, another increase came along and my new plan now costs what the old plan WOULD have been when I switched.

 

But I can't see being without it. When I broke my arm last year, I was amazed how much everything costs! Between the ER charges, radiology, orthopedist, etc., I only paid out something like $200 but insurance paid out thousands.

 

Sigh.

 

I'm in favor of universal health care (even though it will put my employer out of business), but only if costs get reigned in. It shouldn't cost $800 for me to get an ice pack in the ER! That's just highway robbery!

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Guest josephga

i have over 17.000 in credit card debt right now all due to medical stuff. im thinking about just defaulting on it. i never can catch up. i send them 500.00 a month and over 200.00 goes to interest.

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My story is a bit different, though I feel for anyone who has to acquire healthcare on their own. I did for the past 8 years and it was horrible. Close to $350/month for a basic hospitalization policy with a $1000 decuctible.

 

But, in 2007 I was out of work for several months and finally decided to get something to "hold me over" until I could land a job in my field. I got hired on with a company that offered a full range of benefits on the first day of employment. I jumped at that, and got medical, dental, vision, term life, AD & D and a cancer supplement. The cost for all of that was $36 a week.

 

As things sometimes happen, I got a "real job" in my field 2 weeks after accepting the "hold me over" one. I cut back my hours on the first job and was told that I'd lose my benefits. Since my new job didn't have any benefits, I thought I was sunk. But, somehow I flew under the radar and nothing got cut and my benefits stayed intact all through 2008.

 

I just received a confirmation statement that my total benefit package will continue through 2009. The cost has gone up $6 per week, but the deductible dropped from $500 to $300.

 

So, it's possible to find it out there. In my case, I got lucky.

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Guest ReturnOfS

Interesting story.

 

Btw, how would your employee go out of business if the US goes to universal health care? With universal health care, employers would save since they would no longer have to worry about health care expenses. Then again if your employer is a health care insurer I can see that employer going out of business. But I'm going with the assumption in both cases that the government is the single source of health care which is not Obama's plan.

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Guest Jocoluver

$997.94 a month??!!

 

I retired 16 years ago with a defined benefit pension after working 30 years. Part of that was health insurance with no premiums & $500/year deductible. I didn't realize what a "bonus" that was/is!!

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>Btw, how would your employee go out of business if the US goes to universal

>health care?

 

I oversimplified, of course, but not by much.

 

There are, currently, a variety of mechanisms where employees can reduce their tax burden by setting aside pre-tax salary to cover healthcare expenses.

 

We make bean counting software to help administrators make sure they're staying within the incredibly convoluted lines drawn by the IRS.

 

Universal healthcare takes the personal expenses off the table, and presumably any tax advantages, and it remains to be seen how the IRS rules will change. But a bean counter likely won't be needed.

 

(There are other things impacted. What happens to those tax-protected HSA accounts? They'll be HUGE tax burdens if people suddenly have to absorb them as income.)

 

People want change NOW, but the devil is in the details.

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I left the workforce and entered into early retirement almost 7 years ago. I was fortunate enough to receive a generous severance package which included medical and dental “retirement” benefits.

 

We all know that dental insurance covers next to nothing (my plan has a $1500 limit, and for some unknown reason that benefit limit hasn't changed in 15 years!) I was just informed by my dentist that I am excessively grinding my teeth at night and the damage will require extensive repair and replacement! I can just imagine what the bill will be; however, I've already explained to her that this will have to be a prolonged repair job because I am just not financially able to expend that amount of money in 2009.

 

I started off having a premium medical plan (preferred Physician Option) with United Healthcare and my monthly payment was about $300 a month. As time went by I had to choose a higher deductible/higher copay plan which has worked very well for me since I see only physicians who are "in network." My monthly amount was only $160 a month, an amount I felt was extremely reasonable. I've just received notice that the amount will be increased 52% next year! That's an extra $83 a month! How do health insurance companies justify these rate increases and why isn't the government examining these situations?

 

I know I am "blessed" by having what many consider reasonable and affordable health insurance but I still think a 52% increase is outrageous. What will these plans be in 5, 10 years? It's no wonder many Americas forgo health insurance because it has become a luxury and not a necessity. Shame!

 

BTW, they changed our prescription drug plan a few years back and I hate to even comment on the rip-off that is occurring with that company (Caremark!).

 

ED

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Guest zipperzone

Holy shit - almost $1000 per month !!!!!

 

I am very fortunate. As a resident of British Columbia (that's in Canada, guys) we have government health insurance for which I pay the paltry sum of $64 per month and that covers absolutely everything - except dental.

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Guest josephga

i wasnt talking about filling bankrupt. just defaulting on it. I know a few who have. you default they raise the interest and charge a fine for a few months then they discharge it then turn around and sell the debt to a collection agency for pennies on the dollar. then the collection agency will settle for a lower amount or lose it all together. since i get paid in cash they can't garnish my wages. i was doing good making the payments until they raised my interest rate from 6.9% to 16.9 % even though i was never late in 14 years of having a card with them. i asked for a lower rate and the refuse. cant move it to a lower interest card because of such a large amount

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Can u explain why the Mayo clinic in Mn, has always a large number of cars with Canadian license plates in their parking lot? I'am told that while it's free, u could die of something else before getting the necessary surgery for whatever u have in Canada. In the U.S. if someone needs a Hip replacement surgery which is one of the most common procedures for baby boomers, you can get it within the week. In Canada or England, it's a minimum of 6 to 12 month painful wait!

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Being resident in the UK, I can't comment generally on this topic of healthcare but the above remark is factually incorrect.

 

In the UK, after being seen (for free) by your general practitioner, you are referred to the consultant-surgeon who sees you (for free) within a couple of weeks to discuss the options for treatment. If you agree to surgery, it is scheduled within a short time. The surgery and convalescent care are paid for by the National Health Service (NHS). Waiting lists for surgery are only a few weeks long. That is the situation nowadays throughout the country.

 

And if you want to know a good example, a friend of mine had an eye problem; he went, without an appointment, at 5.30pm to the ER at the eye hospital in London and was operated on at 7pm that same day.

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Until consumer is more directly connected with the provider of the service, there is no curing the healthcare morass. Medical Insurance is an oxymoron. Having it doesn't "insure" of anything. They're paper pushers who've appropriated the power to practice medicine by paying or withholding payment for medical care. Fie on them all. They should be held criminally responsible for the lives they've taken or destroyed. And the structure of medical costs has been bloated to accommodate them. getting them out of the healtcare system would decrease costs enormously.

 

Several years ago I took over the affairs of an old friend, the victim of a neurological disease that rendered him a quadriplegic in just two days. He raked up an $800,000+ medical bill (including NY City sales tax of 8.25%) in just four months of acute care. He had no medical insurance but plenty of assets. I was ordered to move him because this hospital couldn't offer a procedure he needed. I offered them immediate payment of $400,000 in cash and they immediately accepted it with gratitude - no questions asked. So what was the real cost of his care. Oh and this particular hospital was under the jurisdiction of a bankruptcy court at the time. Go figure!

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There's got to be a better way. People shouldn't have to run up huge credit card bills because they can't afford health insurance.

 

I have a Blue Cross/Blue Shield PPO through my employer. There's a $48.79 bi-weekly deduction from each paycheck. There's a $15 co-pay when you stay-in network. If you go out of network, there's $250 annual deductible and a 70/30 split of what they consider "reasonable and customary". The rates have stayed the same for the last few years.

 

The problem is finding doctors who take insurance. I see several specialists -- for allergies, for a thyroid problem and for arthritis. Only one of them (my allergist) takes insurance.

 

Like I said. There's got to be a better way.

 

Justice

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for what it's "worth", I pay $428 per quarter for major medical coverage....$5000 deductible, 80/20 coverage after that, and something like $6000 max out-of-pocket expense....I don't mind paying for the very few regular dentist, eye checkups I get.....

 

I'm 46, in good health, non-smoker.....

 

would be VERY curious to see what you experts here think about my deal....thanks......

 

don't know what to make of Canada/UK health insurance....some deride it, others praise it....depends what political party you're talking to, I suppose.....

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Your coverage isn't the best and it isn't the worst, but it's certainly affordable. Do whatever it takes to keep it.

 

> don't know what to make of Canada/UK health insurance....

 

Well, for starters other countries (Canada and UK included) do not have health insurance. They have health CARE.

 

That's where the US system has broken down so badly.

 

I've seen it work the way it was intended to work. My mother passed away from cancer earlier this year and all of her medical expenses were covered by dad's retirement health care benefit. It was a union-negotiated coverage much like the packages that are breaking the backs of GM, Ford and Chrysler today.

 

Our family would otherwise have suffered financial ruin. Chemo is fuckin' expensive!

 

I know families who did not have that coverage and were ruined.

 

That entire concept is unknown outside the US. There is no such thing as a family suffering financial ruin due to medical care anywhere in the developed world except in the US.

 

That's what we need to fix.

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Guest zipperzone

>Can u explain why the Mayo clinic in Mn, has always a large

>number of cars with Canadian license plates in their parking

>lot?

 

I very much doubt it has a "large number of Canadian license plates in their parking lot" Most Canadians who go to the Mayo Clinic would be too ill to drive and would fly down and perhaps rent a car there.

 

I had a friend who was diagnosed with bladder cancer 4 years ago. His Canadian urologist wanted to remove his bladder and he would have to pee into a bag for the rest of his life. That operation would be done immediately.

 

Money was not a problem for him so he opted to visit the Mayo in Scottsdale because he was desperate, wanted a 2nd opinion and thought the Mayo's expertise was second to none. He flew down only to hear their diagnosis was no different. He had the bladder removed there - the cost, including 3 weeks in a hotel after the operation? $75,000 U.S. (when the Canadian dollar was lower, so it probably was closer to $100,000). The bottom line was he got the same result he would have had in Canada for free.

 

 

>I'm told that while it's free, u could die of something

>else before getting the necessary surgery for whatever u have

>in Canada.

 

Whoever told you that is probably the type who loves sensational tales. I'm not saying it has never happened but it sure ain't the norm.

 

>In the U.S. if someone needs a Hip replacement surgery which is one >of the most common procedures for baby boomers, you can get it >within the week.

 

Hip replacement is not life threatening. You can get it in one day here if you are willing to go to a private clinic and pay for it. Most people are either too cheap or can't afford the cost so they wait for the free one.

 

>In Canada or England,

>it's a minimum of 6 to 12 month painful wait!

 

See above.

 

Which would you prefer?

 

(1) Canadian style: Waiting for a procedure when it's not life threatening or

 

(2) U.S. style: Relying on some bean counter at some insurance company to decide if what your doctor says is necessary will in fact be covered by them and if not then have a hospital run up a bill into the 10s of thousands of dollars and charge exorbitant interest charges.

 

I know our system is far from perfect but there's no question about which one I'd choose.

 

Which one would you choose?

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Zipperzone, I defer to your knowledge since u are a resident, but From the NY Times article:

 

"...Indeed, Canadians may be the biggest foreign consumers of American medicine. According to a recent estimate in the Toronto-based Financial Post, they spend more than $1 billion a year on health care in the United States for services that are not available at home or that require long waiting periods..."

 

My question would be if it's free and good, why are Canadians spending 1 billion a year to be treated in the U.S.?

 

Here's the link to the entire article: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE5D7103FF933A25751C1A960958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all

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Guest zipperzone

>Zipperzone, I defer to your knowledge since u are a resident,

>but From the NY Times article:

>

>"...Indeed, Canadians may be the biggest foreign

>consumers of American medicine. According to a recent estimate

>in the Toronto-based Financial Post, they spend more than $1

>billion a year on health care in the United States for

>services that are not available at home or that require long

>

>My question would be if it's free and good, why are Canadians

>spending 1 billion a year to be treated in the U.S.?

 

I really don't know. The figure of 1 billion no doubt reflects the exorbitant fees US hospitals charge which would be free in Canada - look at deej's report of $800 for an ice pack.

 

You never answered my question as to which you would prefer, ours or yours. As I said before, ours may not be perfect - but what is? I'd choose ours in a heartbeat. If you think yours is better, that's your prerogative.

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>Holy shit - almost $1000 per month !!!!!

>

>I am very fortunate. As a resident of British Columbia (that's

>in Canada, guys) we have government health insurance for which

>I pay the paltry sum of $64 per month and that covers

>absolutely everything - except dental.

 

1) Sorry, zip but it doesn't cover "absolutely everything". Canadians are charged for a whole host of things from drugs to ambulance rides unless they have supplemental insurance plans.

 

2) Rising healthcare costs are just as big an issue in Canada as they are anywhere else, it just depends on how you look at it. 10-15 years ago, public health care spending accounted for about 30-35% of provincial government spending (health care is a provincial responsibility under Canada's Constitution). Today, it's 42-45% of spending, which means that the provincial governments have 10 cents per dollar less to spend on other things like universities, schools, roads, prisons, social assistance/welfare etc.

 

This is because the big problem is that healthcare costs in Canada are rising much faster than the annual inflation/economic growth rates and particularly, government revenues. Provinces with significant additional income from natural resource royalties (BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia) have been better able to cope, but are still seeing health care spending consume larger proportions of their budgets than before.

 

Nobody up here seems to have any idea on how to address this fundamental structural problem of health care inflation. The 'band-aid' solution over the past few years has been to get the federal government to divert additional federal tax dollars to the provinces to cover the shortfalls. Even with a booming economy, that was a temporary solution at best, but with the economic situation as it is now, the federal government is now facing its own revenue declines and will have fewer 'extra' dollars to share than it had in recent years...

 

I agree with zipperzone that, as a Canadian, I much prefer our system of healthcare to that south of the border, but neither should we kid ourselves and think we're not facing the same kind of problems - it's just that instead of higher premiums, we pay higher taxes and have fewer tax dollars going to deal with the rest of our social/physical infrastructure.

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>I really don't know. The figure of 1 billion no doubt reflects

>the exorbitant fees US hospitals charge which would be free in

>Canada - look at deej's report of $800 for an ice pack.

>

They're not 'free' in Canada either, zipperzone, it's just that the bill goes to your provincial government instead of you... see my other post above.

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I needed to see a physician during a recent trip to Scotland. I made an appointment at a village clinic within an hour. The cost of the doctor's visit and the prescription (all satisfactory and successful)? $00.00. Great Britain offers reciprocal medical care to the US.

 

And then.....I recently paid an NYC doctor $800. The doctor UNDEREPORTED the amount to Medicare by $200. (I'm pursuing that discrepancy, possibly an instance of "creative bookeeping": the doctor accepts only cash or check as payment. Hence, records are hard to trace). So far Medicare offers to pay me the roaring sum of $26. on the claim.

 

WE NEED NATIONAL HEALTH!

 

 

 

"I'd say that's a bit of an extreme reaction, now wouldn't you?" -- N.F. Bates

 

 

Lankypeters

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