I follow a number of blogs. Several are international. One of them, Diary of the Princess of Tides, describes in part her encounters with a nationalized healthcare system. I’m blown away by the level of indifference shown by so many of her providers. Indifference that, in several cases, would cross well into medical malpractice in the US.
Got me thinking about the healthcare system in the US, especially as it applies to me. While I have never seen the level of indifference I read in her blog, I am paying outrageous amounts for the healthcare I get.
My company doesn’t have medical insurance, so my wife and I have our own policy. That costs a little over $30,000 a year. It has $2,500 deductibles for me and my wife, plus there’s an addition $2,500 deductible for each of us for mental health expenses – $10,000 a year total. Then there’s my pills. I take 5 a day, they run about $10 a day, after a small discount provided by the insurance – $3,650 a year. The amount we actually spend isn’t the full total, because my wife is quite healthy. The $40,000 a year we do spend is still a lot of money.
To be fair, my insurance is high in part because I’m in my fifties. Note the rates have not been highly influenced by my cancer diagnosis, though, because I stayed with the same insurer after the cancer was first found.
To put this into perspective, the US minimum wage provides an income of about $15,000 a year before taxes. So my wife’s and my medical expenses alone require the equivalent income of about 3 minimum wage workers. We are very lucky to be able to afford this. Regardless, we are paying big time to have little indifference and high quality care…