Scallywag

Money can't buy happiness, but neither can poverty.

~ Leo Rosten ~

Is Health Insurance Enough?

June 6th, 2013 ~ Est. reading time: 3 mins, 35 secs

Is health insuracne enough for you?

Is health insuracne enough for you?

If you live in a country with health insurance you might be heartily sick of it. Then again, if you live somewhere where you’d love to have health insurance, it’s a problem you’d only be too glad to have.

In a way, health insurance is one of those First World problems, isn’t it? Like people complaining their martinis are too dry, service isn’t what it used to be, and fine dining out is getting too expensive.

But health insurance is different because sometimes it can mean life or death.

Universally, the United States is famous for its outrageous health insurance situation. As I understand it, unless your employee has you covered, it’s seriously expensive to afford your own health insurance. Which is why so many people simply don’t have it, and that’s where it gets serious.

“Do you have health cover? Do you have health cover?” My brother was repeatedly quizzed as he lay on the stretcher bed after having a heart attack. It sounds like an American drama, but it happened in Australia.

Fortunately for him, he did have health insurance, because he needed it. Within a minute he was whisked away by helicopter from his country house and taken to Melbourne’s Epworth Hospital. Once there, he was again quizzed about having health cover. Then he went in for surgery.

Apparently, the stent they inserted was a lifesaver and he made a complete recovery. But he would never have got one had he not had health insurance in the first place. It sounds like a promotion for health cover, but it does highlight the extreme end of what medical cover can do.

Unfortunately, modern health treatment is expensive, and many countries expect their citizens to shell out for health insurance to cover their costs. Still, like so much insurance, it’s tricky to know what you’ve got.

When Ruth had our first son, we received a $400 bill for the anesthetist’s consultation. “When did I meet with the anesthetist?” she later asked.

“When he peeped around the delivery room door and you yelled, “Hurry up!” Health insurance covered only part of that.

In Australia having full health insurance reveals a system full of smoke and mirrors. “Full cover” actually means part cover or even no cover, depending on the hospital, the doctor, and the tiny fine print.

You can, for example, get dental cover. But some dentists don’t accept it, and if they do, charge whatever they like anyway. Meanwhile, some physicians (or at least the firms they work for) charge nothing more than the fee covered by our basic tax-funded health care. Whilst others hit you with fees big enough to make you feel sicker than when you went in.

If that seems familiar then you know the mess the whole health business is in.  If not, and you find your country’s cover more than adequate, be thankful indeed! Health, health insurance, and the whole healthcare machine are a complex business.

Now it would be easy to blame doctors, but like all professions, there’s the wonderfully good as well as the bad and they are merely part of the whole system anyway. Post injury health is complex, easy to blow budgets on, and cause much public fuss because governments rarely pay enough. Hence health insurance, because it gives leaders a way out.

With an aging population, we know things aren’t going to improve. So what can we do? The answers, it seems, comes back to me and you. Yes, if you can afford the luxury of health insurance, feel free by all means. But keep you first focus chiefly on keeping healthy. The entire health system is focused on acute care (after sickness has started), rather than preventative medicine. So spend a bit on being healthier, eating well, and enjoying your body because it’s a lot more affordable than fixing yourself up if you capsize.

Being pretty clueless about forms, I naturally regard insurances with a jaundiced view. Good to have, but a bit like a reverse lottery where you hope against hope that your number doesn’t come up. So, where at all possible include healthy living as a key part of your health insurance. Go ahead and enjoy life without excess alcohol and smoking, and take every opportunity to enjoy walking around. Have a laugh whenever you can, care for others, and love your family and friends to bits. And, while you’re at it, do things for good reason. This whole combination adds to your health in so many ways, reduces your medication dependence, and boosts your quality of life (right from the ground up).

Health insurance is really a euphemism for getting sick insurance. Really, it’s a matter of financial cover for medical expenses, rather than generally feeling well. Above all, be thankful for the health you have (even if right at this minute it’s actually in tatters). For what we have is what matters most and thankfulness with a dash of good sense reminds us that health is more than a working body. Health is also about how we live and think.

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You’ve Only Got One Life To Live

Safety First Or Thirty-First (Depending On Where You Live)

Feegs

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