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Health Care is so damn expensive...

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Members Lounge' started by (*steve*), Mar 22, 2017.

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  1. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    Jan 21, 2010
    Can I take the time to complain?

    First, let me say that I'm late in my working career and health Care is probably about as expensive as it's going to get for me. I (and my wife) have a number of conditions, and we fall outside any income, employment, or age related criteria which would lessen the cost.

    So far this year I've had 2 sets of surgery under general anesthesia, my wife only the one, but she has had three visits to the emergency department of our hospitals here, one resulting in emergency surgery and a few days in ICU. She is also a cancer and serious car accident survivor and will be having surgery for an unrelated adenoma next month. Oh, and aside from numerous GP and specialist appointments we have had an emergency physician come to our house once, and two trips by ambulance to hospital. And did I mention that I'm on three drugs and my wife about 7 (mostly relating to her chronic pain).

    And are we paying through the nose for this or what?

    Health insurance: $4400
    Govt health levy $2000
    Hospital visit copay (each) $500
    Surgical copays so far $2500
    Drug copay $3000
    Specialist and GP copay $2000
    Ambulance $500
    ER and home visits $0
    Anesthesia copay $0

    So that's about $14,400 per year. There's some safety net stuff that we'll fall into later in the year so it will probably be several thousand less, and we didn't do ourselves any favors in picking surgeons on their reputation rather than on their price on staying in private rooms in the hospitals we like the best (if we were sufficiently motivated we could have easily found someone and somewhere with a zero Copay).

    The only good thing about my expenses this year is that I've paid most of the copays early in the year. So if I have a few heart attacks, strokes, or broken limbs, it will all be almost $free.

    I'm sure there are a lot of you falling over at reading the huge expense of health Care here. I guess that's what you get living in a country with a small population and very little bargaining power with drug and medical device companies. Oh and added to that, all of my surgery and much of my wife's recent stuff has been determined to be "elective" or "cosmetic" so the Co pays are drastically higher.

    I also didn't realise that our health expenditure actually reached double digits when expressed as a percentage of our gross household income. It's almost as much as our delightfully small mortgage retirements.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2017
  2. davenn

    davenn Moderator

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    Sep 5, 2009

    Cindy and I gave up on hospital cover way back in 2005. the costs are just bullshit back then it was about $145 / month for the two of us and about to increase to around $160 / month
    I dread to think what it would be today more than 10 yrs later after yearly increases of between 4 and 7 % / year , I guess it would be costing around $250 to $300 / month
    and there are still all the gap costs on top of that as you had to pay.

    I have multiple health issues that are making my private and working life a nitemare ... am seeing 5 specialists on a regular basis and the depression is growing
    as they all tell me there is no cures for the problems, they can only make me a little more comfortable and monitor my progress :( :(

    I had that open heart surgery in Sept. 2012, just prior to you and I meeting in Cairns for the eclipse ..... the only thing it cost me was the visits to the cardio surgeon
    prior to and after the surgery. There hasn't been a year in the last 7 years that I haven't had a hospital stay that has lasted anything from 3 days to a couple of weeks
    Some years multiple stays .... particularly 2012 and last year.
    I am thankful for Medicare ... hell I wouldn't mind seeing it increase another 1/2 % rather than paying health insurance that is just going straight to the pockets of
    those running the companies rather than looking after their clients

    Dave
     
  3. bushtech

    bushtech

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    Sep 13, 2016
    Yep, it's a nightmare. No better here in South Africa. As retired people our single highest monthly expense is medical insurance. But being without it is not an option. One big medical event without insurance and you could be a pauper. But burns my you know what to pay it.
     
  4. davenn

    davenn Moderator

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    Sep 5, 2009
    I should mention we did keep ambulance cover ( which has come in handy several times) and a dental plus cover
    covers our dental, optical and physio type things, that costs around $900 / year but we do well out of it with the dental
    and optical always being used to the max haha
     
  5. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    Jan 21, 2010
    If I were without health insurance, I may have had to wait for 6 months on a waiting list for the surgery I've just had. Surgery that I put off for 2 years anyway. On the other hand, it would have been available free of charge aside from some pharmaceuticals. In my case there was an extra complication which potentially could have gotten it treated as urgent.

    Most major, urgent medical events get treated in the major public hospitals and pretty much cost you nothing other than your time off work even if you're not insured. (Which is not to say that with most people only getting 4 weeks annual leave and some amount of sick leave on top of that, that it's not going to impact financially).
     
  6. bushtech

    bushtech

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    Sep 13, 2016
    Around here free medical attention is only available if your income is below a certain threshold, if above that you pay full whack.
     
    davenn likes this.
  7. davenn

    davenn Moderator

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    we have an interesting system in Australia
    for GP visits it depends on which doc you go to if you get billed or not

    There is a system called "Bulk Billing" when a doc/specialist, that may or may not be assoc with a medical centre with several doctors.
    The bulk billing means that the Doc/medical centre bills the govt directly and there is no money to pay by you.
    Other doc's will charge you full price often ~ $70 for a GP visit, $300 for a specialist visit, and you have to do a claim to Medicare to get part of that back
    Some specialists do that also, others can do the claim for you at their reception and you just pay the gap difference

    The wife and I go to a GP at a local medical centre where visits are bulk billed ..... why others go else where beats the hell out of me, haha
    Maybe they have no choice in they part of town ??

    I have had several times the misfortune where I have used all sick leave ( ~ 8 days a year is allocated) and all annual leave in lieu of sick leave
    and have lost weeks of pay as well ..... hurts a bit :(

    has been hard to have an actual holiday over recent years

    Dave
     
  8. bushtech

    bushtech

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    Sep 13, 2016
    A Socialist government has it's advantages even though I don't buy into socialism, but let's not go OT.
     
  9. duke37

    duke37

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    Jan 9, 2011
    Many, many years ago I was head hunted for a job in Denmark but decided to stay in England because of health problems. Health care is free except for dentistry. Prescriptions are free in Wales but not England.

    The NHS seems to be quietly going private. I understand that MRI scanners earn a vast amount. I went for a MRI scan and they broke my back trying to flatten me to get me in the hole. The chief operator was an Australian, perhaps she was trying to ring the shed.:(
     
  10. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    Jan 21, 2010
    My wife has just come home from her 5th trip to hospital this year (or something like that). She had a 4 day stay after some further surgery (no ICU this time) and the whole thing cost us $25 (which we were asked to pay up-front). Very nice private hospital.

    She is now on first-name terms with her surgeon's anesthetist, which is kinda scary.
     
  11. shrtrnd

    shrtrnd

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    Jan 15, 2010
    Good news on your wife. Hope the both of you stay healthy for many years to come.
    I just spent a week with my dad in the hospital. My mom is dreading the hospital bill when it arrives.
    Their advice to me, is to not get old.
     
    Tha fios agaibh likes this.
  12. CDRIVE

    CDRIVE Hauling 10' pipe on a Trek Shift3

    4,960
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    May 8, 2012
    Oh my how this topic is depressing me. This past January I had what I thought was a very bad flu. Since then I've been repeatedly poked, MRI'd, CAT Scanned, Xray'd and poked some more. One specialist after another, biopsy and poked some more. All with no answers. I'm now seeing a neurologist and waiting to hear the results of my latest blood test. My life went from enjoying cycling & retirement to daily misery. The neurologist asked me if I'm depressed. I told him "Yeah! I am now!" :(

    Chris
     
  13. davenn

    davenn Moderator

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    Sep 5, 2009
    welcome to my world :( ... that has been my life for the last 5 years. I have around 5 health issues that they cannot cure
    I have lost the joy of my astronomy, photography and other things ... Sadly, there's been many a day when I have wanted to call life quits :(


    Dave
     
  14. Audioguru

    Audioguru

    3,115
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    Sep 24, 2016
    I am in Canada. A ling time ago I had my appendix and a broken arm fixed for free. I had two hernias repaired for free. I had cataracts surgery but I selected Improved lenses in my eyes (I paid a couple thousand dollars) which are much better than the older free ones. I had a heart attack, hospital room for a couple of days and surgery for free. My medications are free. Recently my right hand developed occasional numbness and tingling so the xrays, ultrasound and MRI were free. Visits to my doctor every 3 months are free. I no longer have work insurance (I am (retired) so I pay for dentist visits. My government shared the cost for my hearing aids.
     
  15. Audioguru

    Audioguru

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    I am glad that Canada is democratic and is not communist. North Korea is communist and life for most people there is miserable.
     
  16. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    Jan 21, 2010
    One of the major problems of Australia's scheme of partially socialized health Care is the enormous cost to the taxpayer. It is simply scandalous that our government, the people we trust to spend our tax dollars, pays, per capital, half of what the US government does.

    I find it hard to argue against the benefits of doubling our health spending in order to remove some supposed right to health care for all.
     
  17. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    Jan 21, 2010
    Fortunately my country's health system means that's not going to be something I'm going to have to face -- even if I lose my job and can't afford health insurance.
     
  18. shrtrnd

    shrtrnd

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    Jan 15, 2010
    When the government gets involved in anything, people don't realize that a large percentage of the monies people pay is to the bureaucratic system RUNNING the operation. That's one added expense. As noted in the above posts, bad doctors/malpractice insurance is another mitigating factor that runs-up our bills. At the risk of offending the emotionally entrenched, hospitalization of people with no income, is paid for by the people who DO pay their hospital bills. Sure modern medical miracles are expensive. Despite the politically incorrect observation that logic tells us that EVERYBODY is not going to get on-demand medical care for every malady suffered, enough people are convinced that health care is a human right, So the people with money, are going to pay for themselves, and everybody else who doesn't have any. Emotionally draining, I know; but that's the way it is.
    We can vent about 'rights', but society dictates where the money you earn yourself will go. And in this case, if you have money, it's going.
    I empathize with everybody here because I know darned good and well sooner or later I'll be in the same boat. Most people wind-up there if they're not dead from something earlier. I just don't like having to pay for myself and my family, ... and then everybody else too, just because the governments can make you do it. I know mine is a minority opinion, but the fact is that if you have money, governments are going to redistribute what they can of it.
     
    Tha fios agaibh likes this.
  19. Audioguru

    Audioguru

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    Sep 24, 2016
    I notice that the patients in the emergency department of hospitals and medical clinics are immigrants and refugees having their first cold or bruise. Many of them are crippled due to poor nutrition in the country they come from. They have contributed little if anything to the health care system I have paid a lot of taxes for many years.

    The bureaurocrats running my health care system are not paid anywhere near the millions paid to the CEO of my electrical system.
     
  20. shrtrnd

    shrtrnd

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    Jan 15, 2010
    How many bureaucrats do you figure there are in your health care system, compared to the one CEO of your electrical system? NOW, add-up the cost.
    There are about 36 million people in Canada
    24 million in Australia and 4 1/2 million in New Zealand.
    All of those countries notice the expense of their medical for universal coverage.
    There are over 322 million Americans, the papers like to tell us an additional 11 million illegals, but a more accurate estimate is about 40 million.
    If a country has a problem supporting the medical needs of a manageable population, how in the heck does anyone believe a population ten times as large is going to do it?
    I know I'm the cynical minority. I want cheap or free medical, just like anybody.
    I'm just cynical enough to know it isn't going to happen.
    I'm glad *steve* and his wife are protected by their country's medical care system. I'm glad anybody else from anywhere else might have protection. I hope I've got some kind of protection when I need it.
    I'm just venting about *steve*'s original concern about the pathway there.
    You try to get an education so you can get a good job, you work all your life to provide for your family and hopefully
    offer them a comfortable living while doing that. Somebody else sees a way to avoid the trouble of doing that. They game the system to have somebody else foot their bills. We oblige them.
    I'm reminded of the first spelling lesson may father taught me as a kid. (Who is from Canada, and whose brother got a very welcomed Canada medical system pace-maker, he just died on it's waiting list when the pace-maker battery gave out and didn't get a replacement battery in time):
    I O U O 4 I 8 O (I owe you nothing for I ate nothing).
    We have a lot of people (malpractice lawyers, public & gov't) feeding at the public trough who believe it is their right. You and I pay for them.
    That's, why medical expenses are so high.
     
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