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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My solution to healthcare ...

** A pause from construction worries to a much larger topic **

I've run the gamut of healthcare options -- having an HMO, going without insurance, having healthcare that is crippling to our finances, and now having a pretty good plan for a pretty good price.

We loved our HMO (Grouphealth) in Seattle. I never felt like my care was sub-par, and the rates were amazingly affordable. Each baby cost $200. It didn't matter how long you stayed in the hospital, if you had a C-section, etc. the cost was $200. And when they closed down their own maternity ward (where Tyler was born), they had us deliver at the hospital where Bill Gates' wife delivers (where Zachary was born). Yes, it was nice. And it still cost $200. To get my gallbladder removed? It was $15. Yes, $15!!!

I've heard not everyone has our luck with HMOs, so I don't necessarily think they are the answer. I don't think no insurance is the answer, either, because that can get very expensive! And government healthcare? Well, my parents were denied personal coverage (cancer will do that for you every time!) and wanted to get on a government plan that is offered for those denied coverage by other individual plans. The paperwork was so confusing and ridiculous that they decided to just go uninsured for their mission. (They actually have insurance through the church, but it doesn't cover ANY pre-existing conditions.)

And we've had Becca on Medicare/Medicaid (sorry, don't remember which is which) since she lived with us. It's such a pain that most doctors won't accept it. In fact, at the doctor this week I changed her name and asked for them to take the Medicare off of her account, but they said she still had some outstanding bills they were trying to collect from the government -- and she hasn't been into the doctor for more than a year!!! In fact, our dentist went for more than a year without being paid by Medicare, so he stopped accepting it. Grrrr .... I just saw a friend on facebook that said her sister (who is 22) was being denied kidney dialysis on Medicare because she hasn't worked for 10 years. Get those kids working in case they need healthcare down the road!

In any case, Utah has a healthcare system (Intermountain Healthcare or IHC) that I think has the answer. They are a large network of hospitals, clinics and doctors' offices, and they are NON-PROFIT. Can you imagine -- someone not out to make money based on people's sicknesses and medical needs? I think that's the key -- all hospitals and clinics and such should be required to be non-profit. Why does this work? Well, the company is not out to make money. In fact, they have to find ways to spend their money so that they come out even to remain a non-profit.

This means at the end of the year if they haven't fully disposed of their money they give their employees bonuses to compensate. So, yes, you can imagine people around here love working for IHC. However, they don't wait until the end of the year to dispose of the extra money they have. Their equipment is top-notch, because they've got to spend those bucks and therefore always have new equipment. They also have AWESOME financial assistance based on your income. I had Shayla in an IHC hospital, and based on our income they went from our bill being something like $900 (our portion, not the insurance portion) to $150. We've been blessed several times by IHC because they simply cannot make money and therefore help those whose income isn't sufficient to cover healthcare costs.

In any case, I think healthcare would be revolutionized if hospitals (which are actually very big money-makers) were forced to be non-profit. Really -- should they make profits based on people being sick? When I run for president that will be MY platform. (So, yeah, don't hold your breath. However, it's too bad someone who really wants to be president won't take this idea and run with it ...)

**Now back to scheduled sweat equity. **


Lean Bean said...

I think I heard the president saying they are going to offer a government health insurance that will be non profit. Sounds good to me! I think the more choices we have the better because no one plan is gonna be the best thing for every person or family.

We have UnitedHealth Care through my hubby's work and it's good. I wish they paid more for the infertility care procedures, but hey beggars can't be choosers! :)

the Rowleys said...

Sounds good. Medical/ health care is really a problem and very frustration.