In my adult life, I've had two short spells where I didn't have insurance from my job. The first time was while working as a server at a restaurant between jobs in 2008, the second is right now, where my new company's insurance doesn't kick in for 90 days. In those times, I have had to find my own insurance or be in scary situation of not having insurance.
We can make plans for side-income and income from hobbies all day, but unless we are self-employed full time, our employer is the source of our primary income. Your employer often gives you a lot more than that. Make sure you are taking full advantage.
It is no secret that I am a huge fan of automation and aggregation. The fewer places you have to look for your financial information, the less time you will use and the less likely you are to mess up. Simplee simplifies and automates your insurance just like Mint or Adaptu does with your finances.
What It Does
Simplee works with your insurance account to make sure you really understand where your money is going and gives you reminders when a bill is due. The site also helps create an understanding of how your healthcare costs are distributed (you vs. insurance) and understanding what your true costs are.
I have really good insurance. I work at a great company with great healthcare benefits. My monthly cost is only about $60. Even with that, things are not always as they seem.
A few weeks ago I got sick. Really sick. I had a fever over 101. I was coughing, sweating, freezing, vomiting, had a headache, and just felt like crap. After a couple of days of my symptoms only getting worse, I went to the doctor. I didn’t have a primary care doctor (I know, irresponsible of me), so I went to a local clinic. $107 after my insurance paid its part. The prescription was another $15.
The next evening (a Friday), my temperature was on the rise. When it broke 102, we called the doctor I saw the day before. She said I needed to go to the hospital. $481. There is also a charge of $17 for tests. A follow up doctor visit (I had passed my deductible by this point) cost $8.
It turned out I had a nasty virus. They were not sure what kind. But that virus cost me $628. Good thing I have a good job.
But here is what makes me livid. What did it really cost for me to be sick. I paid $628 and my insurance company paid $3362 (glad I have insurance). So apparently being sick cost a total of $3990.
BUT WAIT! DOES IT REALLY COST $3990?
The doctors and hospital billed my insurance company for $5650. Apparently it costs $1660 more than I cost to be sick? That can’t be right. Can it? Why would it cost an uninsured person $5650 to be sick but only cost me $3990 to be sick? I would like to think I got the ‘good looking person’ discount, but no matter how attractive I am, I know that is not the case.
The fact of the matter is that we take advantage of people who do not have the financial insight or means to take care of themselves. If someone who can’t afford insurance walks in with the same problem as me, they are charged thousands more just because they don’t have insurance. That is disgusting, wrong, and should be illegal.
I don’t know why we allow this sort of atrocity to continue in this country. We are allegedly the most developed and powerful nation in the world, yet we can’t even take care of our own sick people without sending them into bankruptcy unless they are privileged enough to have insurance.
To me, going to the doctor is a human right, not a privilege for the wealthy. I usually try to keep politics to my personal blog, but I know that when I vote in 2012 and every year after, I will always vote for the person that thinks every single American deserves top quality healthcare no matter what.
Photo by lydiashiningbrightly.