Saturday, January 8, 2011

$8,000 for a broken arm

Our youngest son fell off his bike and broke his arm. Here he is, December 2008, in All Children’s Hospital, St Petersburg, Florida, waiting for surgery to re-set a broken arm.

A few years ago in the United States we had excellent health care, even though we were self employed.

Our family so far has been healthy with no pre-existing conditions. Then our health insurance premiums started to increase so much, that health insurance was almost unaffordable. 

A couple of years ago our monthly health insurance premiums were almost as much as our mortgage, and our deductible was $10,000. This means that our insurance company would not pay for any medical treatment until we had incurred more than $10,000 in medical debt. In addition to the large deductible, we paid large co-pays ($100.00 to see a doctor), and had no prescription coverage.

A couple of years ago our youngest son fell off his bike and broke his arm. He had a procedure in the hospital to re-set the bones. This was a simple break with no complications. During the procedure I worried about how much this was going to cost. I was worried about my son, but I was worried sick about the cost. A friend of his recently broke his arm, and his parents were charged $17,000.

We were charged $8,000 for his broken arm! This did not reach our deductible of $10,000, so our health insurance company paid $0, and we were charged the full $8,000. There was nothing remarkable about the break. The arm was re-set, and put in a cast. The doctor checked him every few weeks, and then, when the arm was healed, the cast came off.

In June 2010 we received another notice of a hefty health insurance premium increase and our deductible rose to $12,000. Our health history had not changed apart from son's broken arm. We could no longer afford health insurance, so we joined the rank of uninsured in America.

Recently Blue Cross Blue Shield of California announced a 58% health insurance premium increase.

People are not uninsured in America by choice. Health insurance is unaffordable.

Health care is a fundamental human right, not a luxury item.

1 comment:

  1. Everyone in the U.S. believes that Canada has horrible health care. Having lived in both, I find health care about the same, with one main exception. In Canada a broken leg won't cost a family $8,000 and chemo-therapy won't cost $380,000. My wife is in the U.S., pays hundreds per month in insurance premiums, yet because of a pre-existing condition, diabetes and a kidney transplant, any complication such as kidney rejection, will not be covered (she's only 43). Look at the licence plate of the cars going to the ER's in Canada. NY, Florida, Georgia. US health care is good, but so few people will ever experience it's good side. Just wait till you get sick, then see how much insurance is really covering you. I'm a Canadian resident so get health care (it's not free but costs are contained and I have peace of mind knowing that when i see my doctor I won't lose an entire paycheck to cover the costs).