I can’t afford …

Here is a $1000 bill for you to pay. If you pay the bill you will receive one of the following, take your pick. 

  • A 40″ flat screen TV 
  • A new refrigerator 
  • A weekend golf outing
  • Three new suits 
  • A new watch

Or, you can pay for your recent MRI … but wait, that’s not affordable is it? 

No doubt you get the point. While $1,000 is $1,000 that’s generally not true when it comes to health care. The thing is health care is never considered a part of the family budget, it’s extra, unaffordable as it were. How come the vacation, buying a new appliance, smoking, drinking, playing the lottery, going to a sports game and much more is affordable as part of daily living, but paying for an MRI out-of-pocket before reaching a deductible is always unaffordable; a financial hardship? 

The fact is nobody wants to spend money on health care expenses so even when it is affordable apparently it isn’t … and guess what, that view is nothing new it’s always been that way. 

I recall a story a decade ago I may have told before. When I was managing health benefits an employee’s wife called me outraged that Lyme disease vaccine was not covered by our plan. She said she lived in an area with a lot of deer and without getting the vaccine she feared for her children’s lives. I told her it would only cost about $60 to get the shot. “You expect me to pay for it?” she screamed at me. Just before hanging up she told me she would hold me responsible if any of her children died. 😁


Categories: Healthcare

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7 replies »

  1. I think there is several misconceptions when it comes to healthcare. First, you state that people don’t consider healthcare in their budget which is most likely true. However I do consider my healthcare insurance part of my budget. What I do not consider is maxing out my deductibles or co-payments or actually getting sick to the tune of several thousands of dollars. Budget implies that the cost is known and you can plan for them. Preventive care can be planned for and costs are relatively known, getting seriously sick has too many unknowns to budget for.

    Second, the purpose of insurance is to guard against financial ruin but it is starting to seem like the cost of insurance to prevent financial ruin is causing financial ruin. It also seem like (I doubt that this is fact) those without insurance still manage to live their lives. Of course everyone else from taxpayers and folks who pay insurance premiums are paying.

    Third, I understand the frustration of what insurance covers and does not cover. Yes I know that is probable stated in some fine print some where but it always amazes me that insurance will cover some preventive care to save them money and not other care or vaccines. You may be able to save some money by selecting a plan that covers no vaccines but when you pay money for a plan that covers some vaccines you feel cheated if they are not all covering all vaccines and wonder what you are paying for.


  2. Worse than that.

    In 1992 – 1993, about the time for ClintonCare, I did a focus group in Syracuse New York on health coverage. One participant acknowledged she had left her husband and boys uninsured. They used to be covered under dad’s plan, but he lost his job. She found the health option at my employer that she could afford came with a $500 deductible, $1,000 family, which she decided she could not afford because she needed two scripts for herself, with $20 copays each month under her HMO. The HMO monthly contribution WAS pretty much unaffordable.

    When her coworkers pointed out the risk she was taking of leaving her husband and boys uninsured, she looked at me (even though I said nothing) and exclaimed, “you just don’t know how much it costs to keep two teenage boys in Reebocks”!


    • I like that. The irony of my story is that I later learned the women’s children were actually too young to receive the immunization in any case. You had to be thirteen.


      • RD, as for accidents, the insurance premiums are just not worth it for many who do not get a government subsidy.
        Many take there chances and if something happens they will make payments, file bankruptcy or file with the hospital’s programs they have for low income where someone has donated money to help people. I owed $3,000 to a local hospital and told them I could afford $50 per month, they took my income info. and informed me the bill had been paid by their low income trust fund.


    • What risk? I raised 4 children and I bet none of them went to the doctor more than 5 times in 18 years. Health insurance is a scam. You are not rated a low risk and low premium if you are healthy. So you end up paying for the sicker people. I have only been to the doctor 3 times in the last 20 years. At 60 all my test came back the same that they were in 1995. Everything within the normal range. Total cholesterol at 150.


      • Can’t you say that about any insurance? You and your family have been fortunate and lucky. What about the risk of accidents besides illness?


  3. I get your point, but my sister’s health care insurance premium went from $500 per month to $920 per month and the deductible went from $2,500 to $5,000, thank you ACA. You can keep your doctor, you can keek your current health care insurance, nothing but lies from BHO BOZO.
    My sister would say what am I paying $11,040 per year for health insurance, when my average health care costs out of pocket has been about $1,500 per year, over the last 5 years. She tells me she feels all she has is a very expensive catastrophic health plan, thanks again ACA. Affordable for who???

    I know life is all about choices. I would not spend $1,000 on any of the things you listed. 40″ TV $269 @ Sam’s Club, New Gas range @ Lowe’s $344, New Refrigerator @ Sears $540. New Bulova wristwatch on Ebay $125, list for $399. My purchases over the last 2 years. Total $1278. No need for a golf outing or Disney trip or a new suit.
    The lady giving you crap over the shots for her kids needs a reality check for sure.


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