::cue Whitey Ford::
Nothing makes you appreciate your financial mortality like a wade through the waters of your health-insurance benefits.
Ironically, this is doubly true because these are the best benefits I've ever had, and I'm currently making some of the best money I've ever made — certainly more than enough to be comfortable by most standards; my salary is higher than the average 2-income salary in some cities…and yet, it doesn't take much calculating to realize that any *real* medical issue would bury me completely. There'd be nothing I could do, especially if the issue interfered with my ability to make my salary.
But even if I could continue working, these numbers are just, well, sick. I'm "only" going to pay about $6,000 out of pocket per year before my benefits kick in — that's $500 a month. Do you have that in extra income? Because I don't, and like I said, I do pretty well. Any more than a month or two of an extra $500 in expenses would have me bleeding my savings out, which I'm sure is true for many people. And that's just the base pay — I'm also responsible for between 20-80% of the cost of everything from hospitalization to chemotherapy, plus all of the cost of any of the zillion things that aren't covered which are incidental to care, healing and recovery. What's 20% of chemo? I've got to imagine it's pretty awful. I was hospitalized for an accidental injury years ago and the bill came to over $80,000 for a week-long stay and emergency surgery…20% of that is $16,000, or $1333 per month if I get lucky and land on a payment plan. Almost double my rent payment. HA.
And this isn't even getting into the good bits, like how there are certain "preferred" brands of drugs that are more covered than others, forcing me to give money to companies that my health-insurance (and likely also doctor and hospital) corporations get a kickback for. I'm sure that, like the other strange little requirements sprinkled all over this policy, is totally there because it's giving me the best care and the best opportunity to heal. And oh, if I don't heal, if one of these profit-motivated medical decisions keeps or makes me sick, then guess what? More rent-payment-level bills in my lap.
Once again, what really bothers me is that we allow corporations to do all this (at all, but also) while claiming that their primary goal is the health of citizens. If only there were regulations requiring them to disclose that their profit margin was their main concern, I could sleep easier. I'm not sure why, but… Better the devil you know, I guess.
But I suppose the upside is, when you're this screwed, it's hard to really give a shit. I can feel a little better able to accept the reality now that I know that the deal is: I eat the $75/mo cost of health insurance (and count myself lucky that my employer pays for the rest, which is substantial — again, rent-level), and I use it for everything I can, but I don't let it make me think for a second that I'm not going utterly broke if I ever get sick or hurt. If that happens, I'm going to give up hard and quick on ever paying those bills, because screw it, it's not possible; there's nothing to gain there morally by trying my best; instead I'll just try to keep my health and my life as long as possible, and accept that it will destroy my financial life to do so.
I live in a country that has no problem letting corporations take our life savings in exchange for medicine — to the point where our government spends tons MORE on health-care than countries which provide it for free, just to support this system — and if I need lots of medicine, my country is going to let companies take everything I have or threaten to kill me if I can't pay.
Noted. Thanks, USofA.