Do you go without health care coverage (US)?

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by BaileyCatts, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. BaileyCatts

    BaileyCatts Well-Known Member

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    This only applies to people in the US since I'm sure health care rules are different in other countries. :)

    Does anyone go without health care coverage, and has it ever resulted in a problem for you? Back in September, I bought a short term (6-month) plan, which I know at the time they told me I could renew just 1 time for an additional 6 months, which basically gave me 12 months coverage, so I didn't worry more about it. I bought that plan because it was the cheapest, I never go to the doctor and knew I would be filing no claims, and only wanted it in case I got hit by a bus or something. So it expires this week, and I called to renew it for 6 more months, they tell me that short term plans are not renewable, and since I had purchased a short term plan, they can no longer sell me any other plan. :huh: And this is freaking Humana, not some little company you ain't never heard of. :mad:

    So now I have no health insurance. I've been looking at other websites, and they are way more than what I was paying (only $72 a month compared to some $200+ a month), and again since I never go to the doctor, I was thinking screw it, just don't have it. But what happens if I DO get hit by a bus or something? What would happen if I have some health emergency and don't have insurance? Do any of you not have health insurance and if so, what do you do in an emergency? Not run of the mill stuff like doctor visits, I just OTC myself if I get sick, but a true health emergency?
  2. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    My sister-in-law goes to the emergency room for everything then manages to get the hospital to write off all or part of the bill. And when I say everything, I mean everything. Including for a sty in her eye.

    It works out nicely for her. And the whole community blames the Hispanic population for the huge amount of hospital bills written off every year putting their hospital in debt, when they have revealed that patients with Latino last names make up less than 10% of those charges.

    A friend of mine, on a more serious note, had to have emergency surgery two years ago followed by four months of rehabilitation care. She had no health insurance. She was counting on the fact that she never went to the doctor, used OTC drugs...all the stuff you say. She didn't have an accident to cause the emergency surgery, either. She was able to get the rehab center to write off 50% of her bill. The hospital wrote off none of it and she was unable to qualify for any Medicaid assistance. She was self-employed and, therefore, had no sick pay or other benefits to help. In total, she had six months of no income and staggering medical bills. She is still making monthly payments to both the hospital and the rehab center and will be for several more years.
  3. Kasey

    Kasey Loving on babies!

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    Do you do anything that could put you at risk? Like, I don't know, leave your house? Drive? etc?

    Not just being facetious. One of my best friends opted out of COBRA coverage when she changed jobs from being full-time at one and per-diem at the other, and flip flopped; so it was a 90 day period between when her new insurance coverage would start. She figured that she would rather do without, seeing as that she is a pretty healthy mid-30s kinda person. In the last 6 weeks, a kidney infection, bronchitis, and dislocated kneecap with xray/MRI/doctor/prescriptions, etc. Several thousands out of pocket because she opted out of interim coverage.

    Fact is, sh*t happens, and eventually, it will happen to you.
    smurfy and (deleted member) like this.
  4. Cachoo

    Cachoo Well-Known Member

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    I was laid off in April: I am older and I have been turned down by the two policies I thought I could squeeze in and still pay the mortgage. The only ones I've found since then have a large deductible (I can live with that) but are asking around $450.00 a month. (Cobra was $505.00) I just can't swing it with the rest of the bills. So I don't have insurance right now.
    On top of that my mother has been ill and I am her caretaker. Here is what slays me: Starbucks has a medical plan for part-timers and there is a Starbucks very close. But I fear getting a job there because I fear losing the one part-time option that covers me medically. I had taken a lot of Family Leave after my folks were in a car wreck (Dad has since died) and Mom is struggling. My manager protected me but when new ownership came in I was out the door. I understand--you need your workers to work. If I get a job with Starbucks and then lose it because Mom is my priority then where am I?
    For now I continue to look for a plan that I can afford (that will not turn me away) and look for job opportunities at home. It does upset me that I did find something that I thought would work but they didn't want me. I am in good health but I guess age matters to them. I would gladly pay for some form of Obamacare or Romneycare.
    I wish you more luck than I have had BaileyCatts. I am afraid I am going to be that person in the emergency room if this continues.
  5. PrincessLeppard

    PrincessLeppard Well-Known Member

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    I went without it for two years, and nothing happened. But that's certainly not any sort of guarantee for you.

    Cachoo, it wouldn't hurt to talk to the people at Starbucks. They open up pretty early, so they have plenty of shifts and could probably work around your schedule.
  6. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    My sister-in-law could afford a high deductible private plan. She had one once. She is young enough and in good enough health that it would not be out of reach. But she is also batshit crazy and "refuses" to be "seduced by modern medicine" when eating organic food and doing yoga will "guarantee" that she is never in need of medical treatment. Except that she needs medical care more than her parents, brother or me combined and is constantly in the ER with some malady.

    My friend could have afforded a plan at the time of her surgery. It was an expense she didn't care to have and preferred to spend her money on entertainment and travel. She can't afford one now. Nor can she afford the entertainment or travel she was doing before. All of that money is going to pay off medical bills. She knows she made a big mistake in judgment before because she is living with the consequence and will be for a long time.

    I truly feel for people who have no affordable options for health insurance. That is a problem we need to fix. People who do have options and decide not to purchase a plan because they have other priorities or oddball ideas, on the other hand...they are contributing to our health care problems because eventually they need care and someone has to pick up the tab.
  7. Louis

    Louis Tinami 2012

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    Democrats have been making short-term health insurance harder and harder (and in some states like mine, impossible) to get.

    It may be more Obama's fault than Humana's, just sayin'....
  8. Holley Calmes

    Holley Calmes Well-Known Member

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    I had great insurance with United Health Care until my husband sold the business. During the time I WAS covered, I had berast cancer. It was only a Stage 1 with no lymph node involvement (thank God!) so I only had 2 lumpechtomies and radiation. Total cost to United?? $300,000!

    Since selling the business, we have no health insurance. My husband is now on Medicare thank goodness. I can get little supplemental policies and some healthcare coverage, but since I have a pre-existing condition (even though I am cured..) the policies cover very little and cost a fortune. Believe me, I have tried. I'll be 5 years clean next year, and I'm hoping that helps.

    Don't believe it when they say you can get coverage even with a pre-existing condition. Oh, you can, but it won't do you much good and it'll cost more than most people can afford.

    So, I am without coverage. I live in fear of a major health problem. I'm 62 with 3 years to go to Medicare. I'm praying to be healthy that long! I do know from experience that if you are a self-pay, it's 50% of what they bill the insurance companies. My oncologists say they will work with anybody to help people afford care. I'm terrified I'm going to lose my house if something awful happens.

    I feel your pain!

    BTW-getting hit by a bus would probably be covered by the bus company's insurance....
  9. LilJen

    LilJen Well-Known Member

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    You're screwed if you have any sort of long-term chronic conditions. To get onto one of the "health care exchanges" for high-risk patients, you MUST have had NO insurance for at least 6 months. If you've had the lousy luck to, say, get childhood leukemia or have a wonky thyroid or whatever else cannot possibly be your fault, you are in big trouble. Paying for those maintenance drugs for 6 months may be impossible. Yeah, insurance companies and pharma companies have programs to help pay all or some of the cost, but the amount of paperwork and hassle is unbelievable.

    And if you're self-employed, forget it. Insurance is almost always completely unaffordable.

    It's unfortunate that this is what this country has come to in terms of health care. In my opinion, there should be a baseline menu of essential services that are covered for everyone (not that everyone would agree on what's "essential"), as is the case in MANY other countries.

    Sorry for the :soapbox: BaileyCatts, is there a high-deductible policy you could get? If you're generally healthy that'd be the way to go--will cover anything major that happens.
  10. Jayar

    Jayar Well-Known Member

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    Going on five years without insurance. I have a longtime domestic partner but can't get on his insurance. I turn 40 in a few weeks and am guessing that I will need insurance soon. Everything has come out of pocket, and even an office visit ($120) can be too much sometimes.
  11. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    For years my husband and I had catastrophic coverage only. The irony is that he is a physician but he mostly worked locum tenens without benefits and I was a student.
  12. Cachoo

    Cachoo Well-Known Member

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    Yes--Mom had a bad autumn but this winter (or lack of it :)) has not been nearly as bad. She did have a seizure but I think we have figured out why and it isn't chronic. So at this point I feel more sure about checking with Starbucks and combining that with transcription work (if I can find it) or even temp work outside of the home depending on the Mom's wellness each day.

    BaileyCatts--just curious and you don't have to answer of course. Are you under 30?
    Note To PDilemma: Don't you just want to shake people sometimes? We all end up paying for their bad decisions.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2012
  13. sk9tingfan

    sk9tingfan Well-Known Member

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    I'd like to know what brings you to that conclusion?
  14. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

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    I too went without health insurance for 2 years when I was in my late 40's and between permanent jobs. Fortunately nothing happened in my case as well.

    However, in dealing with my elderly mother's health issues I can say that the fact that she had insurance made a big difference in the care she received. When she broke her hip, the hospital was ready to send her home a few days after the surgery and she would have been on her own. When they found out she had insurance in addition to Medicare, they sent her to a rehab facility for 8 weeks.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2012
  15. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

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    I am currently without as well. I am praying I can last until August when I hopefully begin a full time teaching job.
  16. Scintillation

    Scintillation New Member

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    I'm currently covered but in the fall I'm intending to leave my job and go to culinary school. I know there are COBRA options but my stomach drops every time I think about how much that's going to cost. I sometimes think I can just get away with not being covered but I know that'd come back to bite me in the ass.
  17. AxelAnnie

    AxelAnnie Well-Known Member

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    This is where the everyone should pay their share argument gets me... If you don't want tot pay for med ins..... Fine...... Just don't go to my hospital when you are sick...... Don't rack up bills that have to be written off into higher prices... And don't use resources you have chosen not to pay for.

    Part of why med coverage is so expensive is that people choose... The spiffy smartphone, great laptop nice car, trips, flatscreen tv, and the etc.

    I am not talking about people who are really poor... But 20-35 young professionals who figure they can do without it... And the can... Until they smash into a bus while txting and, end up with a compound fracture.
    snowbird, flutzilla1, smurfy and 3 others like this.
  18. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    ^^^The answer to that, if you are young and generally healthy, is to get catastrophic coverage.
  19. Meredith

    Meredith what a glorious day!

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    When the company I worked for was sold, I found the COBRA options :eek: at best, and did not take advantage of them. A few weeks later I fell off a ladder, fractured my pelvis and broke my wrist in 6 places. I was out of action for 2 full months.

    I wish I had obtained medical coverage, even with a high deductible. It would have been preferable to paying all the hospital, ER, and doctors' bills I paid. Only the orthopedic surgeon deducted a large chunk from his bill. Guess who I paid first. :)
  20. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    One thing to think about BaileyCatt: if you have a gap in your insurance coverage, will that make getting insurance later on a problem? It can.

    I went without insurance for a while back in the 80s when I was in my 20s and it worked out. But last year I got laid off and I only got COBRA for the kids and me for medical, not dental. I figured that I'd only be unemployed 6 months and we were all due for a cleaning but that would only end up costing just over $375 while 6 months of COBRA would cost $575,

    Well I did get a job in 6 months but I'm a contractor with no benefits. And then I had a crown break and there is also decay on that tooth and, even with the discounts my dentist is willing to give me, it's still going to cost me $1300 to get it all fixed and get the night guard I need to stop having this happen in the future (I've started grinding my teeth again with all the stress). And we are all on our second teeth cleaning and I forgot to tell them not to do x-rays for my daughter so it cost 2x as much for her and the boy and I just had to do without x-rays.

    So far I've paid $875 in dental bills not counting the stuff I need to do to my crown. I would have paid $950 in dental insurance during this time (10 months) and it would have covered all the cleanings, the x-rays and half the crown. So I would have spent $1550 for $2425 worth of services and been ahead. Plus my son and I would also have gotten the x-rays we should have and I would not have issues with my teeth every time I eat solid food. (I have to run to the bathroom to floss or food gets stuck in there risking me getting worse problems.)

    Now, in the greater scheme of things, this is not a lot of money and not a lot of aggravation. But it's a picture of how it works if you don't get medical insurance and then "things" happen. Now multiple all those numbers because medical issues usually cost a lot more than dental issues.
  21. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    If you are young and have no pre-existing conditions, you can get private insurance. It may have higher deductibles/copays than what your COBRA gives you but it should cost less.

    In my case, because of pre-existing conditions, they wanted my son and I to pay 25% more than the standard premium, which have been okay. But they wanted my daughter to pay 300% more because an ENT said she needed her tonsils & adenoids removed. The end result was that we'd be paying $25 a month less for about half the coverage as COBRA. So I went with COBRA and made sure we all had EVERYTHING done we could get done during this time. And my son had an emergency and was in the hospital for 5 day that we hadn't planned on and has a lot of after care too.

    So that part worked out well for us.
  22. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    You are still screwed though if you come down with a non-catastrophic ailment that prevents you from working. :eek:
  23. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    If the ailment is protracted or requires hospital stay/procedure, you will reach your deductible eventually. For instance, the catastrophic insurance kicked in fast enough when I gave birth. Yes, we had to pay about $100 for every prenatal visit but once I delivered, the deductible was reached.
  24. PeterG

    PeterG Argle-Bargle-ist

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    (((((U.S.'ers!!!!)))))

    :(
  25. vesperholly

    vesperholly Well-Known Member

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    I went without dental last year. I had just had a cleaning and a bunch of fillings done in December 2010, and though my insurance covered 80% of the bill, I still owed about $350 out of pocket. So instead of paying $375 a year in 2011 for dental coverage, I skipped it and paid the OOP expense with that money.

    I should have gotten a cleaning in the middle of the year, since it's only $99, but I just kept putting it off. Eventually it was so late, I just decided to get dental back for 2012. My teeth are genetically soft and I've needed fillings often.

    No health insurance is one of the reasons I've shied away from moving without a job lined up. That's a nice catch-22 since it's difficult to get hired if you aren't already living there, but I don't want to move without a job. :shuffle:

    health care system --> :revenge: <-- Americans
  26. KCC

    KCC Active Member

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    I've also had breast cancer, so no private insurance will touch me, even though I'm 5 years clean. But, I did get into two state's high risk plans with no waiting period (Kentucky and Idaho). Just came straight off of COBRA. The prices are very high, and have high deductibles, but I don't like having to risk our retirement savings if something did happen (again). I am one of the most healthy people on a high risk plan. I run/exercise regularly, take no prescription drugs, have a healthy weight, no history of mental illness, etc. It is crazy that no one will insure me except the state.
  27. BittyBug

    BittyBug Quadless

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    I have private individual insurance for which I pay dearly, and unless you fancy the idea of potentially being saddled with a large medical bill for the rest of your life, I would recommend that you find some type of catastrophic high-deductible plan and find the way to pay for it. People rarely expect to get sick, but we do. Even the healthy among us. All it takes is one unanticipated surgery and you'll be facing a bill of potentially tens of thousands of dollars.

    Plus, as Mac said (I think), if you have a gap in coverage you are going to be screwed in the future if you have any pre-existing conditions.
  28. Grannyfan

    Grannyfan Active Member

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    I just smile when people complain about having to pay $200 per month for health insurance. I'm retired, am part of a huge group and still pay nearly $500 every month. That's just for me--no spouse, no kids. I'll be 65 this year and will be glad for that amount to go way down.

    Both my kids had fairly long periods of time without coverage when they were younger.
    It didn't seem to worry them, but I fretted over it. Thank God they never had a sickness or accident that required a trip to the hospital.
  29. Grannyfan

    Grannyfan Active Member

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    Regarding my previous comments, I realize many people simply can't afford $200 a month, and I didn't mean to be insensitive.
    Prancer and (deleted member) like this.
  30. FiveRinger

    FiveRinger Well-Known Member

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    I went almost 2 years without insurance when I was laid off. COBRA for myself was $300+ per month and I just could not afford that on unemployment. The only reason I haven't quit my current job is to keep my insurance. Last year I complained about ghe high deductibles, but in hindsight, I know it beats a blank.

    I actually got an individual dental plan for just over $30 per month an it helped picked up a lot of slack my group plan doesn't. Ex: employer group plan does not cover crowns at all but this plan does. When I tried to get medical coverage thru the same broker who sold the dental plan he refused to give me a quote...he told me to tough it out with my group coverage because the deductible was enormous and the premium payments would have bought a car. I was under 40 with no pre-existing conditions.

    This year I chose group coverage that covers until you reach a spending limit of $1500 and then there is a gap in coverage until you reach another spending limit. I am healthy, so I chose that because I have not spent $1000 in medical bills including prescriptions in the last 5 years. About a month ago I walked into a store (national chain) where I slipped and fell on a wet rubber mat. I went to the emergency room, had follow up visits with my doctor, filled prescriptions, and currently going to physical therapy.

    I cannot run any of this thru my insurance or I will end up in that gap period. Everyone of my bills has to be forwarded to my lawyer who collects them to be sent to the store owner. It is a pain in the ass. All I can do is thank God I did not fall on ice in front of my house because I would have had a big bill. Next year I hope there are better insurance options for all of us.
  31. Debbie S

    Debbie S Well-Known Member

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    Yikes, FiveRinger, that fall sounds scary. I hope you're doing OK. As I'm sure your lawyer told you, your expenses should be paid by the store's insurance. You should not be responsible for any of it.

    Yes, COBRA is expensive and you can probably do better with an individual plan as long as you are healthy with no pre-existing conditions. By better, I mean it will cost a lot less and coverage will generally be what you need. I believe that if you have had insurance for the past year with no lapse in coverage, you can get a pre-existing condition exclusion waived by a new insurance company - I think. Anyone looking into this should check on that.

    If you do have pre-existing conditions and can't get an exclusion waived, your only option might be your state's high-risk pool, but that will be just as much as individual insurance, maybe more, unless you qualify for assistance.

    After I got laid off 5 years ago, I got an individual plan with United Health Care, first under Optimum Choice, which then stopped offering individual policies in my state, and then under Golden Rule. I had to keep that plan until a month ago, when I finally got a job that provided health insurance (my most recent job was a contract position). I was very grateful I had it when I broke my leg ice skating - the hospital bill for surgery and a 1-night stay was $10K. And the surgeon and anesthesiology bills were extra. And then there were the follow-up doctor visits with x-rays, and 6 months of PT.

    I wouldn't recommend anyone go without health insurance for any length of time. I've been without insurance for a month here and there when I was much younger and was between jobs or between school and a job, but I was lucky.
  32. BaileyCatts

    BaileyCatts Well-Known Member

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    Nope. Maybe age and weight have something to do with it then? That's something I forgot to add, I have been calling other places to get a short term, they deny me. I am 46, and while I am overweight, I do NOT have diabetes, I do NOT have high chloestoral (sp?), I have no heart or lung problems, I do NOT have any illness or disease that apparently all "fat people" are supposed to have simply because they are "fat". Other than being overweight, I'm probably healthier than half the people reading this. I rarely even get colds in winter. I had a blood test in 2009 and every single test came back smack dap right in the middle of NORMAL range. My BP is always normal, everything is always NORMAL. But apparently since I am overweight, that means I am laden with diseases. :rolleyes:

    So that is why I am thinking of going without until I can get on an employer plan, because I am running out of places to try who won't deny me based on one single question (how much do you weigh). And I am always asking for High Deductible plan options only because I know those are probably the best options for me. But if no one will sell it to me based on that one single question, what else am I supposed to do?
  33. topaz

    topaz New Member

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    In my opinion, I think everyone at every age needs health insurance. Just regular maintenance per year with check ups, dental and vision.

    Also, young people aren't as "healthy" as they use to be or to what they think they are. A part of the US don't eat right nor exercise. I'm sure some would be surprised that they're obesity is putting them at risk for pre-diabetes and high blood pressure.
  34. PRlady

    PRlady aspiring tri-national

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    If I needed private insurance I would be in the same situation; I read healthy on every single test, exercise, do all the exams you're supposed to do at my age....but I smoke. No insurance for me.

    However, although reading this thread breaks my heart and makes me so angry on behalf of everyone having to play russian roulette with the system, insurance is sort of a giant casino. They're betting by the actuarial tables that you or I will get really sick due to being overweight or smoking, and the tables are all they have to use. Some of this will change when the new healthcare system kicks in.

    I agree with everyone that you should get catastrophic coverage if at all possible. My daughter is 24 and still on my insurance (thank you Barack) because her job comes with none. She's got two years to find something that pays and/or ante up to pay for it herself, because I would pitch a total fit if she went without it. And she's healthy too.
  35. Cachoo

    Cachoo Well-Known Member

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    Well I have not given up: BaileyCatts if I find anything at all I will post.
  36. Allskate

    Allskate Well-Known Member

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    In some areas of the country it would be more, even for younger people. :(

    I think they make excuses for everyone. My friend was in her thirties and a marathon runner in great condition, but she was refused health insurance supposedly because she had once had a kidney infection. It's much more likely that she was refused because she was of child-bearing age. Fortunately, she now has employer-provided insurance and she had that when she was diagnosed with cancer. Otherwise, she would have been worrying about going bankrupt on top of worrying about losing her life.

    That kind of thing really bugs me, too. I think that people who genuinely can't afford health insurance should get care anyway at a cost that they personally can afford. And I don't think they should be waiting until their life is in danger because that's not good for them and it drives up costs. But, it drives me crazy that there are people who can afford insurance and would be able to get it, but cannot afford the cost of care when they get really sick or injured and those costs get passed on to everyone else through higher insurance rates and higher state taxes (because it is often state hospitals that provide the care). I think I read somewhere that the average person paying insurance is paying something along the lines of an extra $400 a year to cover people who didn't get insured.
  37. PRlady

    PRlady aspiring tri-national

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    Yeah, but it's supposedly unconstitutional :rolleyes: to 'force' people into getting insurance. It's constitutional, apparently, to allow millions of free riders to crash the healthcare system when the worst happens.
    Kasey and (deleted member) like this.
  38. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

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    My now-husband was without health insurance in his 20s, before he'd worked enough as an actor in Equity productions to 1) make it into the union and then 2) to accumulate enough weeks of work to qualify for their health insurance plans. During that time, he did have to go to the hospital for an injury to his hand, which cost him dearly.

    We are now both covered under his current union's health insurance plans, which are way better than what my (very very very large and stable major employer) company's health insurance plans are.
  39. Kaffeine

    Kaffeine Well-Known Member

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    My boyfriend is currently covered under his parents insurance until May 31st (after being laid off in October). He has epilepsy..specfically absence seizures. And its very active--even with meds, he still gets them from time to time. So he really needs insurance. That and he has 5 herniated discs in his back. He's desperately trying to find a job that will have insurance while going through school.

    It keeps me up late at night. :(

    My mom had no health insurance (she couldn't afford it ) when she was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer back in 2006. THankfully the hospital took her in, did the surgery, chemo, everything. I don't even want to think about the costs :scream::scream: She's now on some type of indigent program so she can get healthcare.
  40. Louis

    Louis Tinami 2012

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    Except it's illegal in many (highly Democratic) states, including NY and I believe NJ.

    I would've had to buy a year policy costing about $12,000 to cover a one-month gap in insurance. Um, I'll take my chances.