Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Health Care

I just had to comment on Limeys post regarding the American Health System.

When I came over to the States I was just pregnant & I had no idea....a result of 2 weeks of parties to empty our liquor cupboard! We did have health insurance however I was classed as an "already existing condition" as I had conceived in the UK.

This changed the whole perspective when it came to costs, it would have been cheaper to fly home & have the baby in the UK, have 2 weeks in the Seychelles in a Spa, buy a Porsche (maybe sink to buying a second hand one) than pay the hospital bills.

My first born cost me $14,000 as she was an emergency c-section!

Of course we were oblivious to the whole billing procedure and could not understand why we were getting lots of bills every week. Then more bills from the same people as they adjusted the costs etc it was such a muddle of a minefield!

It was a rude introduction into the American Health Care System.

We were scared we would be imported as we were on temporary visa's so in the end we did pay the price. She was worth it though.

Now I am a little more savvy it would have been nice to have had someone to advise us what to do. We did call the medical companies who were about as good as a chocolate fireguard as they cannot speak to you in plain English. They were throwing all sorts of their medical terms, HMO, PPO deductibles etc which were like a different language to us. Plus we had a colicky new born & Sir L had to travel alot. It was very stressful.

Something does need to be done so that people these days can get medical care & not worry about the price, loosing their house or selling a couple of their kids to pay their medical bills.

I think twice these days before I go to the ER or the doctors as its so expensive.

I spent alot of time at the hospitals in the UK last year and I was shocked at how slow the systems were, the scruffy hospitals, doctors arriving late and the way patients were treated. It took 2 hours for an ambulance to arrive when it was a 15 minute drive and then the staff were very rude and mean to my mum.

In USA I would have written a complaint & it would have been addressed, in the UK it is the norm.

So my vote is for the American health system & hospitals yet at no cost!

Do you remember "Jim'll fix it?"

Let's make it "Obama'll fix it!"


Almost American said...

Sadly, I don't think Jim could have fixed this one, and I have my doubts as to how much Obama will be able to do either. In Massachusetts, where health insurance is now mandatory, there is still no guarantee that the health insurance will actually be a) affordable or b) worth having once you've got it.

As you discovered, even having insurance doesn't mean your bills will be paid. I fought for months to have a hospital visit paid for, that should have been covered 100%. Amazingly, the insurance company was on my side - it was the hospital that kept billing me. They billed the insurance company too - and billed us for different amounts! It was only when I finally threatened to sue them for harassment that they stopped!

Limey said...

I just can't say enough how flawed the American health system is. I'm going to link to this post from mine. Thanks!

Expat mum said...

If there's one thing I would stress to people arriving in this country it's to keep on top of your medical bills. Keep every piece of paper and don't ignore anything. If you disagree with a bill keep fighting it, but be careful that it's not passed along to a debt collection agency. That would ruin your credit rating. The billing system can bring you to your knees.

Heather said...

I remember being so confused with the whole HMO/PPO thing. I don't know what the answer is - the UK definitely needs to clean up their act and the USA needs to make healthcare more affordable. The trouble is everyone goes up in arms at the slightest announcement of more taxes. Our local hospital was going under and they wanted the sales tax to go up by half a cent - outcome DENIED! Seriously! People would rather have no hospital than their sales tax go up.