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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Thank you, privatized healthcare!

I'm taking Thursday and Friday off this week. Part of the reason is
that I have the time and could really use a vacation, and another part
is that I wanted to make some appointments to get some things done
that I've been meaning to do, namely an eye exam and a massage. Sure,
the massage is frivolous, but i've been saying for 3 years that I
really wanted to treat myself to one, but I still haven't managed to
do it. So Friday was to be the day.

And it's about time I update my eye prescription again. For the past
several years my prescription has changed dramatically within 8 months
of being updated, so I make a point of getting an exam every spring so
that I can continue to look ahead while I walk on the sidewalk instead
of admiring the cracks in it, and so i will be able to see no matter
where I sit in a lecture hall (though I prefer the front anyway, but
you don't always get the option). So I was all set for my eye exam on
Thursday.

But then today I got a call from my eye doctor's office. I used to be
doubly insured for vision, both through my work insurance, and for
some reason my dad's insurance was still covering me, even last year,
which I thought was strange. 25 must be the cutoff age for parental
bennies, though, because at 26 I'm no longer covered under my dad's
insurance.

And a month or so ago I received a new insurance card in the mail
saying my plan had been updated. I examined the card and noted that my
copay rates have risen by 5 dollars, and then I promptly tossed the
information booklet detailing my new and improved healthcare coverage
in the trash. I figured I'd learn of all the ways they were planning
to rape me firsthand rather than bore myself with insurancese. And,
yep, they've officially dropped vision coverage from my plan. No no,
don't bother to grease up, i'll just bend over and you can rape me
dry. So I am uninsured, and the eye doctor quoted 50-60 for the exam,
another 50 or so for the contact fitting (which is bullocks if you ask
me; just tell me my prescription and I'll put my own damn contacts in,
thank you very much), and then the cost of however many boxes of
contacts I wanted to purchase. So I'm guessing at least 150, and I
had been planning to get new lenses in my glasses as well, but I'm
sure that would tack on at least another 50. So altogether that would
be 200 bucks I wasn't planning to spend. So much for a relaxing
weekend. And that just makes me feel guilty about splurging another 50
bucks for a massage.

So now I'm sitting here when I should be sleeping worrying about the
fact that I am not even halfway to meeting the savings goal I set out
for myself at the beginning of the year, and hidden expenses keep
popping up. I've also got some repairs to do to my car which may or
may not have to be done before I can pass my inspections next month.
If my brake work needs to be done, that could be a 600 dollar repair.
Makes me consider just scrapping the damn thing.

Anyway, I think I'm going to call off my eye exam, since it feels
irresponsible to pay that kind of money right now, and anyway, I think
my old prescription has held up better this year than it usually does.
I can still see pretty well. Maybe i'll go to one of those cheapy eye
centers and just have them do my prescription, then I'll order my
preferred brand of contacts online.

And I'm not sure about the massage. I was looking forward to it. Maybe
I'll still go.

Everyone keeps bitching about the evils of socialized healthcare
systems. Well you know what? I don't feel secure in our system of
private insurance companies who take my monthly fee and then look for
any possible way to deny or cut my coverage. Health shouldn't be a for-
profit business.

And if you hate socialism so much, then why don't you go ahead and
stay out of the public libraries and parks, pay to put your kids
through private school, fill your own potholes (which admittedly seems
to be a good idea sometimes), and answer your own emergency calls.

12 comments:

Logical Libby said...

I love people who complain the country is becoming socialized, but then say we need to stand behind the military, the fire department, the police, and everything else the government pays for...

[sbg] said...

It's funny, when we start talking about expanding the government's role in health care hard-core Republicans immediately jump to Stalin. It drives me insane when people make irrational connections like that; ie, access to health care = becoming communist Russia. As if the biggest sin Stalin committed was provide access to health care (he didn't do this well), not the 20 million he killed. Oh, and then they say, "socialism failed!" Well, Stalin failed... It'd be like shutting down the possibility that a public school system might work all because one principal had sex with a student 50 years ago.

Tauni said...

I am sorry about the eye insurance coverage. That really sucks! I have heard that 1-800-contacts is cheaper than going through the dr. office. Maybe you can do the lense crafters, get your new lenses in your glasses and then a prescription for the contact.

We have had TONS of car repairs and medical bills (even with insurance) so I understand your pain. Our savings was supposed to grow not decrease!

B.R. said...

This is, indeed, a very important topic. What else could one say about this?!
I hope that you do check your eyes, though. I went for my exam a few weeks ago and my prescription had gone from + to -. Funny that!
So, if you do have a history of your prescription moving up/down, I'd get it checked. You are going to Law School, after all, and all that reading needs to be supported by good glasses/lenses.
It is very expensive taking care of one's eyes. But it's a necessity and not a luxury.

And, might I suggest that you go and get that massage? Granted, it's an expense but a good/needed one at that. I find.

I went three years without getting a massage till this past week when my body 'told' me that it appreciated the lifting and the swimming but it'd rather be massaged for an hour.

What a good thing that was!
Indeed, do go and get the massage. I had forgotten what a great thing that is. My body has been happy for a week now.

Trovan said...

Well, said, you commie!

Hehe, just kidding.

Sorry about the general douche-baggery of your insurance company. I too have felt that pain in the past, just like most of us have.

And, while I do agree that the whole health care system is messed up and needs to be changed, I don't think that socialized medicine is necessarily the answer.

It may be, however, if they can fix the Canada mistakes.

sov said...

Definitely get the massage. You will be glad you did, and you won't regret it.

And as far as socialist health care is concerned, I'm all for it. Bring it on! It's time to get rid of things that don't work, and privatized health care is one of those things.

Dena said...

I can't help you out with the eye exam, but I do know that many schools specializing in massage therapy will do massages for cheaaap! Our local community college offers 30 minute massages for only $10. That way, at least, you can still take care of the "responsibilities" but not feel too guilty about a $10 massage.

feed the world with PEZ said...

Trovan.. What are the "mistakes" with the Canadian healthcare system exactly?

My aunt and uncle when visiting from England each year have to purchase special insurance so that if something happens to them in while on vacation they don't get screwed like the rest of us.

Thousands of people go bankrupt every year directly because of medical bills. Millions of people currently have zero health insurance. People with expensive illnesses get dropped from their insurance all the time. People with "pre-exsisting conditions" get denied coverage. Those seem like a rather large mistakes to me.

The US is the ONLY wealthy, industrialized nation that does not have a single payer healthcare system. Its all in the name of profit.

If by chance you think that your taxes would go up you are wrong. Currently we are paying as much in taxes as many European countries. In fact if you include the amount you are paying for healthcare as a tax (which is essentially all it is) you are actually paying more.

If you look at the TRUE cost of our healthcare system we are pissing away billions of dollars each year. Just the fact that it is designed to make a profit makes it more expensive. The only way to make increasing profits year after year is to increase cost and lower expenses. That's business 101. Eventually you have an unsustainable system that collapses. Just like the housing bubble that never existed.

My brother is in the military and his healthcare is covered by Tricare (a single payer healthcare paid for with your taxes). If it works for the US government it would work for you.

natabird said...

That sucks about your insurance, and I know what you mean about unexpected expenses preventing you from meeting your savings goals... Cars are the worst.

I hate our healthcare system now. I also hate the idea of a completely socialized healthcare system. Having worked as a healthcare professional for the federal gov at the VA and also working in the private sector, I see flaws in both systems.
I don't have a good answer, but I think changes need to be made. I don't like that insurance controls the healthcare system, but I don't want the federal government to be calling all the shots either. I'm still trying to think of a good solution.

Sra said...

Good comments on this one.

I'm not saying socialism is the way either, but I think people who eschew socialism for no other reason than that they've been socialized into thinking it's evil need to get a grip. As I wanted to point out, a lot of really great things in our society have socialist structures. It's healthy to question the things we take for granted.

Anytime you give anyone too much money or power (which are essentially the same thing), you get corruption. So checks and balances are in order. True checks and balances, not power division in name only.

Also, I got that massage, and it was love, and I got a cheap eye exam and have an updated prescription. Huzzah!

B.R. said...

This is, indeed, a very important topic. What else could one say about this?!
I hope that you do check your eyes, though. I went for my exam a few weeks ago and my prescription had gone from + to -. Funny that!
So, if you do have a history of your prescription moving up/down, I'd get it checked. You are going to Law School, after all, and all that reading needs to be supported by good glasses/lenses.
It is very expensive taking care of one's eyes. But it's a necessity and not a luxury.

And, might I suggest that you go and get that massage? Granted, it's an expense but a good/needed one at that. I find.

I went three years without getting a massage till this past week when my body 'told' me that it appreciated the lifting and the swimming but it'd rather be massaged for an hour.

What a good thing that was!
Indeed, do go and get the massage. I had forgotten what a great thing that is. My body has been happy for a week now.

Trovan said...

Well, said, you commie!

Hehe, just kidding.

Sorry about the general douche-baggery of your insurance company. I too have felt that pain in the past, just like most of us have.

And, while I do agree that the whole health care system is messed up and needs to be changed, I don't think that socialized medicine is necessarily the answer.

It may be, however, if they can fix the Canada mistakes.

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