Can you afford to be without health insurance?

Medical insurance is a must - Medical insurance is a must for everyone who can afford it. Hopefully we never have to use it but it's necessary,
@Bunny2 (2102)
Australia
February 27, 2007 2:44am CST
Many years ago I fell ill and was vomiting all the time. It was within half an hour of eating pizza, so the doctor we called in the middle of the night assumed it was gastro. So did the Emergency room doctor the following night. The next day was a blur. The following day I went to my GP but he was on holiday (vacation) so he had a locum, who told me I was constipated. The next day I was still vomiting anf the old locum paced the floor unril I uttered those fateful words: we have private cover. I couldn't for the life of me see why he wasn't sending me to hospital after 5 days of vomiting and that's why I said it. His face lit up and he told me they'd been trying to get me into a public hospital but there were no beds. Within 10 minutes I was in an ambulance and soon at the private hospital. Within another ten minutes i had pain relief and an ultrasound and then Xrays. I had a bowel obstruction, which was actually a gallstone which made its way out of my gallbladder and into my intestine and then got stuck in the small bowel because it was so large! The size and shape of an avocado pip. Surgery followed and the surgeon told me I was so weak that had I not had the surgery with a few hours, I wouldn't have survived. So if it wasn't for private health insurance, I might not be alive today. Also just one month earlier my husband had reduced our cover so that we had to pay the first $500 for the hospital visit. The following day he went and returned us to the top cover we used to have. Oh well, at least I'm here to tell the tale! Do you have private health insurance? Public hospitals are *free* in Australia, but in a case like mine, which was an emergency, it might not be picked up.
2 people like this
5 responses
@missyd79 (3438)
• United States
7 Mar 07
i have health insurance but it is not great insurance like yours. and i actully work for a health insurance company here in the USA. My deductible is 2800 per year per family and since it is just my son and i on my plan we both have to meet 1400 out of pocket before my insurance will pay anything. i thought i would be okay because i have a health savings account where i put 25 per month into it and my employer puts 10 dollars in and since my son and i usually are not sick and only usually got to the doctor for routine services or a minor cold or something like that, we would be okay, but i guess i was wrong, I came down with mono 2 weeks ago, i have been to the doctors office 4 times already and the emeregency room too. so now i just have to wait for the medical bills to start rolling in, luckyily i can make payment plans with them.
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@Bunny2 (2102)
• Australia
15 Mar 07
That's the problem - we don't know when any of us will get sick or be in an accident. My son broke his nose last week and the coach took him to a public hospital emergency centre - they were great but it took 4 and a half hours. And this morning, one week later they reset it. This was all done through the public sector and cost us nothing except the car parking fees :) So the public sector can work - and we were exceptionally happy with the treatment and the people. But if we'd been with him we would have likely taken him to a private hospital emergency centre and would have been out of pocket several hundred doillars even though we have top cover. BTW I hope you're feeling better very soon {{HUGS}}
@ossie16d (11834)
• Australia
6 Mar 07
It is generally true what you are saying Bunny and this is despite the fact that here in Australia we have the "free" public hospitals, which of course are paid for by the taxpayers through a deduction from the pay. We actually did have private health insurance from when we got married and kept it going for many years, although some times it was a real struggle financially. At one point we were considering reducing the level of cover we had, and in fact I had let it go 2 days overdue while we decided. The second day I was extremely sick, so called the Gyn, who immediately saw me, had me admitted to Hospital and I had emergency surgery that night. When I realised what was going to happen I phoned my husband and he rushed into town and paid the fees, at the level we had been on. LOL Thankfully, because I ended up in intensive care for 3 days and then another 7 days as an in-patient, and in a private hospital to boot. That taught me a lesson and we stayed in the private health fund for as long as our son was home. When he left, we had paid for another 3 months and then I let it lapse, simply because of the cost. My husband is a veteran and so is covered as a private patient by the Government anyway. We live in the country and our Doctor knows me, so if anything is amiss he deals with it immediately. He insists I have an appointment with the appropriate specialist immediately and if something is seriously wrong, then I am admitted to hospital without delay. One of the problems here in Australia is the shortage of nurses, now that they are required to go to University before they are actually considered to be qualified. That takes 3 years out when they are not in wards plus they also have a HECS debt and when they are qualified they often go overseas where they get a lot more money. So, not enough nurses for the beds we do have available which means that wards are closed etc. There is also the problem that a lot of people go to a public hospital for everything, because the Doctor does not bulk bill. Going to the hospital means they get treatment and medication for nothing, even if they have to wait around for hours. One day my husband cut his leg badly, so he was rushed to Hospital, as it was a weekend. He was seen immediately but the outpatients/emergency waiting room had at least 100 people waiting to see someone. When I commented on it to the staff, they told me that many of them had colds, headaches etc. It did seem to me that if a person did not have a visible wound, they could be there for ages. At one stage some years ago I had gallstones which were to be removed but was told it would be at least a year before a bed would be available, despite the surgeon saying it was urgent. No further forward on the list after 6 months, so the surgeon told me that every time the pain got bad to go to the Hospital rather than take medication. I went 3 times in a month and they suddenly my case fitted into the urgent category. I had the surgery 10 days after the last visit. I am also recorded as having a heart condition, so if I go to the Hospital with chest pain (once only), I am also seen immediately. However, I am not so sure that the same would happen if I went to a hospital in a larger city. I am not sure what the answer is, but am thankful that at least we have a better system here in Australia than many other countries do.
• Australia
27 Feb 07
I used to have private health, but found it cost me more money than it was worth. Some years ago I was in a serious accident, the hospital placed me in a room which only had one other person in it as I needed peace and quiet. But the room they put me in was a shared one, the woman next to me snored all night in between her screams for attention. I asked on a number of occasions if I could be moved, moved anywhere even to the sitting room as it was alot quieter. They refused, I put up with this woman making continuous noises and her extremely large families visits for nearly a week before I was discharged. Two weeks later I recieved a bill from the hospital for the a so-called private room, $150 a day for several days. I rang the admin office at the hospital, told them I wasn't informed the room I was being placed in was a private one, and that I had repeatedly asked to be moved during the entire stay and told them why. Immediately my bill was waived. From then on I never informed the hospital or any other medical proffesional I had private cover. Since then Ive been admitted to hospital as a public patient on more than a dozen times, each time I was placed in a private room, and not once have I been sent a bill. Every time I get sick, I got to the emergency room and am admitted or treated with no problems. I have severe kidney problems and a spinal disease. Ive had doctors admit to me that if I have private insurance, other doctors will make sure I end up with more care, not because I need it nor will benefit from it, but because it means they can charge more and are guaranteed more money, so therefore by staying on the public health system, I have no costs and although I will recieve the same medical care, it means I will only recieve what is necessary and no more, as doctors will only find an extra unecessary operation or two. While I had private health insurance for 5 years, I used it for 1 pair of spectacles and one knee operation. But if I calculated the cost of those two purchases I am still out of pocket. Now I just pay the specialists in full, it might cost me $600 per year but its still saving me alot more than that by not paying for private unecessary care.
1 person likes this
@lpipe0240 (1161)
• United States
27 Feb 07
It is interesting to hear about Health Care in other countries. Here in the US, unless you are below the poverty level, or are retired you are responsible for your own health care. Luckily most employer offer to pay aportion of it. I work for a hosipital so ours is pretty good compared to what a lot of my freinds have. But insurance is a risky situation. I was thingkin of increasing our deducatable on our auto insurance to $1000 but my wife was against it and left it at $500. It is hard to cope with thoses deducatables. Hope your feeling better....
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@mipen2006 (5528)
• Australia
28 Feb 07
If you can arrord private health insurance you should have it. The organization I work for covers employees with a universal insurer. I am 66 and have been covered for the past eight years. Last year I had cataracts removed from both eyes, so my premiums skyrocketed, and my cover fell dramatically. It was obvious they wanted me out, but they were diplomatic enough not to come out directly and say so. I can go back to Australia and get cover through social security, or I can take the risk and work on for a while longer. I decided to take the risk for another year, and then review the situation.