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31. Re: Out of the Blue Jan 10, 2013, 14:52 Creston
|RaptoR| wrote on Jan 10, 2013, 14:37:
This makes me so jealous of the rest of the world

Definitely not the case here in the US. We are given a set number of sick days a year... at GE, it was 14. Because that number is so low, most people don't take off for "trivial" illnesses like the flu because it leaves them exposed if they run into something a little more serious.

Some companies don't give any sick days at all (Charter Communications) and instead you are forced to take your vacation time (which is VERY limited, Charter only gives 7 days a year).

If you're out longer than that (say you need an invasive surgery), you'll go on short term disability and you get a fraction of your actual pay. For most who make only a little more than the cost of living, this is not a viable option.

Obamacare solves a lot of things as far as getting insurance for people, but it doesn't fundamentally change the way medical care is given in the states. Qualifying for insurance in the states means you have to be 100% healthy or you'll get extorted, and a lot of pre-existing conditions are excluded anyway.

The vast majority of health insurance in the states is provided by your employer. It's not financially reasonable to obtain insurance without the group discounts an employer provides. So if you are laid off or go without work for 2-3 months, your insurance lapses. For someone that has a condition like diabetes or high blood pressure, getting insurance becomes an incredible nightmare. You will be denied for pre-existing conditions OR your illness won't be covered, and that's just downright criminal. Obamacare effectively forces insurance companies into covering patients with pre-existing conditions.

We may have some of the best surgeons and doctors in the world, but the cost is insanity. Early on in my career, I had a kidney stone surgery that cost me $12,000 for a half-day stay in the hospital and lithotripsy treatment. That is WITH INSURANCE. It's a nightmare and being unfortunate enough to have an illness or be in an accident, you're looking at potential financial ruin.

A few things:

1) COBRA ensures that you are allowed to keep your health insurance for 18 months after you have been fired. You need to have worked for an X amount of time (I forgot how much it was, it's been a long time since I studied for my insurance papers), but after that you can keep your health insurance. The only thing is that you obviously have to pay for the employer's part yourself, so it makes it terribly expensive.

2) You CAN get reasonable health insurance if you're not permanently employed, but it does depend a lot on your own situation. I paid around ~$250/m with Blue Cross Blue Shield, but I've never smoked, never done drugs, was in my 30s at the time, and crazy enough, I got a discount for living more than 10 miles outside the city limit (big discount too, like 27 bucks a month.)

3) While I understand the idea to be jealous of the rest of the world, realize that it's not as if the rest of the world gets this shit for free. Yes, I realize Canada gets "free" health care, but at the same time, the average Canadian pays TWICE what the average American pays in income taxes.

If you want the government to take care of you, there are countries in the world where it will absolutely do so. Germany is a fine example, and of course in Holland, if you are sick, you will be taken care of. The flipside of that scenario is that you pay about 20 to 30,000 dollars more on an average salary in taxes.

Personally, I feel I can afford REALLY fucking awesome health insurance for 20 to 30K a year.

4) you can typically buy short term disability "shore up" insurance to make sure that if you're sick for any amount of time, it will pay you up to your full salary. This is typically not even that expensive, usually a few dollars per month. In addition to that, you can also get long term disability insurance (basically if you are permanently disabled), and it's also not that crazy expensive, though obviously if you start adding it all up it does become a pretty serious amount.


This comment was edited on Jan 10, 2013, 14:58.
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