Welcome to THEJNSREPORT’S: Healthcare & The Average Working Person
I want to start by saying it’s been more than a minute since my last post but with 2021 upon us and still digesting all of last year I thought it prudent to share a post I had in drafts for quite some time but neglected to publish before now. This post I drafted believe it or not several years ago long before any of us had an idea about what Covid 19 would mean. I’m better late than never and so without further ado. Here we go…
Healthcare we all know is important but just how much many of us are unaware. For the majority of my life I’d say I’ve taken for granted the blessings of being healthy and being able to avoid visits to the hospital unless to see family or friends. All that changed in this new year. I came face to face with the brutal realities of how expensive it is for any unfortunate, unplanned major events to befall you especially as a working class individual with little to no savings for a rainy day.
Healthcare costs are out of control in America and the greed of doctors, health insurers, pharmacists and any other entity benefitting from how the system is setup are at the heart of the problem. You really have to guard your health with all you have.
One of the first jobs I had after graduating college was working for a home care agency in Brooklyn, NY. It was a place where I learned first hand about office politics, gender, & ethnic bias as well as the importance of having a job that paid sick days and offered health insurance.
In those days it’d be a miracle if I had an annual physical. Aside from the common colds or occasional bouts with the flu, I avoided the debt pit that health catastrophes can put you in at a moments notice. Later on at another job where I didn’t work in traditional corporate setting my job at that time didn’t offer health insurance or sick days. You didn’t work you don’t get paid was how it went.
I gave up playing in recreational sports leagues with the realization that working with my hands and doing a physically demanding job was more important to my bottom line and took priority over recreational activities. I knew that if I got injured while participating in them it would leave me up shits creek with no paddle. My mindset was if I’m not being paid to play I can ill afford to get hurt.
As time went on and just prior to the Affordable Care Act health insurance was offered at my place of work. It was a welcome benefit from my employers and the only reason I had or kept the insurance was because my employer subsidized half or close to half of the premiums every month.
I watched in horror as each enrollment year ended and the health insurance companies filed with the state to increase their premiums by on average 17% from the previous year. This practice continued year after year causing my employers to look for cheaper health plans all the time. I’d ask the question why are we paying so damn much for health insurance and to boot I wasn’t even using it.
The ugly truth was my wages (which are not “income” an argument for another time) were being extracted from me without my consent in order to pay the healthcare costs of those who either don’t work, but rather only know how to spread their legs and procreate. I was told by other health professionals that the increasing costs were also attributable to people who have higher risks for illness as well as those who use far more health insurance dollars due to chronic health conditions and for all the people hospitals render care to but don’t pay their health care bills.
So essentially we’ve allowed a system of robbing Peter to pay for Joy, Ann, Frank, David, Margie, Ben and Paul and all his kids. This sick notion of it’s okay to overcharge, or make a law stating that healthy young individuals should be working hard to make ends meet while paying the healthcare costs of others simply because they’re younger and not using it as much is pure bullshit. Yes, I’m aware that as we age we will all tend to need more health care. Why should that mean I should be forced by a legislative mandate to pay for something that isn’t going to my benefit?
It’s the same lie we’ve all been told when it comes to social security. Remember the purpose of social security is to have money extracted from your pay check put away for one’s retirement because the government can’t trust the average citizen to save for retirement on their own. Then the same wasteful government takes the money that’s not supposed to be touched or comingled and uses it for any other purposes it so chooses without the consent of the citizens.
In addition the money that is left over is basically working in the pay it forward format of we spent the retirement age persons savings already so let the younger generations pay for them now and when they reach retirement age the younger generations will pay for them. The age old robbing Peter to pay Paul principle.
So all that said, a few months back I suffered a severe injury to my left hand while trying to open up a package using a knife. Suffice it to say my accident caused me unexpectedly to be out of work for pretty much two months. Bills began piling up and the co pays for my visits to the doctor and physical therapy left me pretty much barely surviving. Cutting back drastically on things I didn’t need became the priority.
Even still what a shock I came across when I saw just how much the doctor had charged my insurance for the surgery I had to have. Two and a half hours on the operating table to repair the injury cost upwards of $53,600. With agreed upon rates between the insurance company and the doctor and hospital my insurance claimed to have saved me $17,000 dollars. Meaning my surgery still cost as much as a mid level brand new luxury car.
My mouth was left open for quite some time as I tried to digest what I was looking at. I mean talk about charging an arm and a leg! This same doctor was oblivious to the fact that I couldn’t work post surgery and rather chastised me for not going to physical therapy 3 times a week with no money coming in and a $50 copay for each visit which lasted all of 30 minutes. Lessons that I learned from this ordeal were to first start saving a little money any chance I get and put it away as if it were an expense so it doesn’t get used for something else.
Secondly, keep any insurance coverage you have that covers the lions-share of healthcare costs. The third thing I learned is never again attempt to open up a package using a knife.