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Medical bills tied to 60 percent of bankruptcies

Health Care 2009

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#61 Rhea

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Posted 05 June 2009 - 10:06 PM

View PostAric, on Jun 5 2009, 04:08 PM, said:

I found it rather amazing that bankruptcies still occur for people with insurance.  Granted, there may be other elements of irresponsible behaviour that contributes to the situation for any given person, and while Palisade pointed out that health care costs are relentless in its growth (and I certainly agree), I would argue that this fact, coupled with the point that increasingly people's health care costs are driving them into bankruptcy, whether or not they have insurance, means that cost growth is actually a symptom of a systemic distortion in the health system, one that fuels costs, and will not be solved even with universal insurance.

I must admit to being appalled at the notion that somehow affordability and/or capacity to pay should play a significant factor in life or death.  I would also disagree with any notion that somehow if the country bands together in common purpose that this is tantamount to a suicidal drive into national bankruptcy.  Remember that almost every other major developed nation has already made that decision, and lives on still, paying the bills, helping each other, surviving and prospering as the case may be.  I would think that an article of this type would stand to be a call to action, a warning sign of the damages being inflicted by the system, and a signal to the solutions that need to be implemented.  Imagine the impact of all these bankruptcies, how much in health care losses, which will only end of indirectly costing the health care system in higher insurance premiums and higher treatment costs from hospitals.

It seems clear to me that health care can no longer be treated as a private good, it's unaffordable for too many, and those that cannot are incurring a very substantial cost on the rest of the population.  Whether it be bankruptcy write-offs, going to emergency rooms, or just working while sick, these costs are starting to add up.  I would suggest instead that it's time to treat health care as a public good, funded through taxation (I believe payroll taxes pay health care premiums now).  The single payer would be available to all, but not the only option, there will be a parallel private system so those that wish to pay for service has that option.  This will reduce the amount of freeriding use, and make sure that all can receive affordable health care.

Aric

Well said.

Another factor in medical bankruptcies is time lost from work. People lose their jobs because of a catastrophic illness to themselves or their loved ones, because they're gone too much. I did ok through my first big surgery, but by the second 10-hour back surgery and the time lost from work, and just having to deal with the fact that I can't sit anymore for any length of time, I finally had to apply for disability retirement. But it was the lost wages more than anything else that fueled my bankruptcy (sick leave only goes so far). And if it hadn't been for the fact that I was really good at my job and had terrific, sympathetic employers I'm sure I would have been fired somewhere along the way. People often are.

Edited by Rhea, 05 June 2009 - 10:07 PM.

The future is better than the past. Despite the crepehangers, romanticists, and anti-intellectuals, the world steadily grows better because the human mind, applying itself to environment, makes it better. With hands...with tools...with horse sense and science and engineering.
- Robert A. Heinlein

When I don’t understand, I have an unbearable itch to know why. - RAH


Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.  - RAH

#62 Lover of Purple

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Posted 05 June 2009 - 11:59 PM

I believe that state law controls renewals of AFLAC. Most states (but please check with your AFLAC agent) allow renewal for as long as the company allows. AFLAC policies are, for the most part except disability, renewable for life at the rate you start them at as long as you don't make any changes to the policy and keep the premiums up. Again, check with your AFLAC agent to be sure for your state and policy.

Rhea, AFLAC policies pay from a set schedule and often include payments for certain procedures and sometimes (like accident) may pay per day for a hospital stay. I've known people here in Oregon that have been paid $200.00 per day while they are in the hospital! AFLAC isn't designed to replace major medical at all, it is designed to put money in people's pockets directly so they can pay bills, buy food/gas, etc. Which might help them from falling behind and being forced into bankruptcy.

I just thought it could have potential to really helping out. I have policies myself for myself and Lady Purple. Ouyr Cancer policy has a wellness benefit also, so it helps pay yearly preventative exams. :)

LoP

#63 Aric

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 03:03 AM

Hardly, Palisade.  In fact, it's an apt description of the current predicament the US is in now, which is why it makes all the more sense to reach out and stop the fall.  If the US was considering something that had never been done before, or something that had failed, I could understand the apprehension, but major western economies have all demonstrated that the entire population can be protected without breaking the bank.  More than that, the cost effectiveness of Medicare over private insurance, as well as the remarkable turnaround of the VHA over the last 10-15 years proves that the US can design and maintain a state of the art, affordable, and government managed, health care system, with costs under control, quality very high, and outcomes better than private health care on average.  So while I can appreciate your point about how fiscally inept the US government has been, and continues to be, in this case, government action is needed, and using the model of Medicare or the VA, will produce significant improvements.

Perhaps in the end, Palisade, the President and Congress will fail to design a good system, but it seems for the overall population, even something as undesirable as a massive expansion of government into health services is better than what exists now.  Personally, I don't think it would be that bad, whether you're paying for health care to an insurance company through a payroll deduction, or if you're paying a somewhat lesser amount to the government via taxes, with the option of using your increased take home earnings to pay for further insurance beyond what the government is covering, the day to day on that end won't be much different, but when in a hospital, when at the doctor's, when in need of medical services, the comfort of knowing one is fully protected should be a welcome improvement.  Let's see what the politicians come up with.

Aric

Edited by Aric, 06 June 2009 - 03:04 AM.


#64 Rhea

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 11:16 AM

View PostLover of Purple, on Jun 5 2009, 09:59 PM, said:

I believe that state law controls renewals of AFLAC. Most states (but please check with your AFLAC agent) allow renewal for as long as the company allows. AFLAC policies are, for the most part except disability, renewable for life at the rate you start them at as long as you don't make any changes to the policy and keep the premiums up. Again, check with your AFLAC agent to be sure for your state and policy.

Rhea, AFLAC policies pay from a set schedule and often include payments for certain procedures and sometimes (like accident) may pay per day for a hospital stay. I've known people here in Oregon that have been paid $200.00 per day while they are in the hospital! AFLAC isn't designed to replace major medical at all, it is designed to put money in people's pockets directly so they can pay bills, buy food/gas, etc. Which might help them from falling behind and being forced into bankruptcy.

I just thought it could have potential to really helping out. I have policies myself for myself and Lady Purple. Ouyr Cancer policy has a wellness benefit also, so it helps pay yearly preventative exams. :)

LoP

I have that insurance through AARP. It paid more than $100 per day average my second surgery, because I was in ICU part of the time. This last time it was a straight $100 per day, but I was in the hospital for almost 3 weeks. It really helps if your income is as low as mine (Social Security Disabilty is crap - it doesn't pay you much more than 1/2 or 2/3 of what you were making when you were disabled, because it takes some kind of lifetime average that includes the crap jobs you worked as a teenager and in college - the school disability is even more obscure and worse). I really need that money to make up for the incessant doctor visits after the hospital (GP, pain management specialist, infectious diseases expert, neurologist, and the beat goes on), additional meds, etc. The AARP is a group policy and I can't be cancelled. And all they ask to pay up is a copy of the itemized bill from the hospital to verify you were actually in the hospital and the date of admission and discharge. :cool:

I got additional life insurance, additional ad&d (I also have one through my bank that has a premium of $8.28 every other month (!) because of some special deal many years ago, but it ain't much), the supplemental hospitalization policy, long term care, and a partridge in a pear tree :p the second I joined AARP. They offer excellent insurance at a really good price, so I figured I might as well cover everything. I was still working then, but at work our life insurance started out at $50,000 and worked down to $8,000 because we had to give up benefits in lieu of paycuts when California started having all the troubles. Our medical co-payments went up, our co-pay on meds, etc., all for the same reason. Better to have fewer benefits than take a pay cut or have people lose their jobs. When I turned 50, I pretty much got everything AARP offers. Little did I know I'd end up on disability or how important the insurance would become.

Health Net has a whole wellness program now, including annual exams. Yay!

Edited by Rhea, 06 June 2009 - 11:35 AM.

The future is better than the past. Despite the crepehangers, romanticists, and anti-intellectuals, the world steadily grows better because the human mind, applying itself to environment, makes it better. With hands...with tools...with horse sense and science and engineering.
- Robert A. Heinlein

When I don’t understand, I have an unbearable itch to know why. - RAH


Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.  - RAH

#65 Nonny

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 08:11 PM

View PostPalisade, on Jun 5 2009, 05:19 PM, said:

View PostAric, on Jun 5 2009, 05:08 PM, said:

I would also disagree with any notion that somehow if the country bands together in common purpose that this is tantamount to a suicidal drive into national bankruptcy.  Remember that almost every other major developed nation has already made that decision, and lives on still, paying the bills, helping each other, surviving and prospering as the case may be.

Is this the case of the of the guy who jumps off the roof of a hundred story building, passes the 60th floor, and says, "All is fine..."?
This particular "funny once" is long expired.
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"Give a man a gun and he can rob a bank, give a man a bank and he can rob the world." Can anyone tell me who I am quoting?  I found this with no attribution.

Fatal miscarriages are forever.

Stupid is stupid, this I believe. And ignorance is the worst kind of stupid, since ignorance is a choice.  Suzanne Brockmann

All things must be examined, debated, investigated without exception and without regard for anyone's feelings. Diderot

#66 Nonny

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 08:31 PM

Probably I should stay out of this thread.  I just got a call from another friend who went bankrupt over catastrophic illness.  She's in hospice now.  There's nothing more to be done, no more surgery, no more chemo, no more radiation, just pain management.  And she sounds more upbeat than she has for years, because her husband, a really great guy who will miss her terribly, will now have a chance to claw his way out of the big suck her 5+ years of cancer hell has dragged them into.  The world will be a sadder place without her Southern Fried Egghead turn of phrase, and Robert Crais signings a lot less lively.  Her son just got engaged, and his kids will miss out on a legendary nana.   He and his fiance have opted for a short engagement.  We're hoping she makes it to the wedding.
Posted Image


The once and future Nonny

"Give a man a gun and he can rob a bank, give a man a bank and he can rob the world." Can anyone tell me who I am quoting?  I found this with no attribution.

Fatal miscarriages are forever.

Stupid is stupid, this I believe. And ignorance is the worst kind of stupid, since ignorance is a choice.  Suzanne Brockmann

All things must be examined, debated, investigated without exception and without regard for anyone's feelings. Diderot



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