A $500 a month health insurance payment is six grand a year, or $60,000 spent over ten years. Ten years brings me to age 58. Factor my charmed family genetics in with a non-risky lifestyle, and I'm willing to bet by age 58 if I pay cash for all my health care needs, I'll spend many, many, tens of thousands less then $60,000. That's why I don't have health insurance.
Stupid? Maybe, but I'll take the gamble, partly because it's a challenge, and mostly because I'm SWNK, single with no kids.
Had a small Chicklet-size cist removed from the upper part of my right trapezious muscle. I'd noticed it a small bit less than a year ago and bet it was a harmless mass that could stay put through the end of my days. The surgeon at Fletcher Allen backed up my diagnosis, but did also agree that having the cist removed was the best case.
The surgeon's opinion (Consult) cost $90. The surgery cost $1,260, But, I'm uninsured, if you'll remember, so I was charged only $620 for the surgery. Stunned to hear I'd be getting half-off my all-off cist removal, I asked the billing gal if I had a $200,000 open heart surgery, would I be charged only $100,000? She said she didn't have that information, but she said, "You certainly could make payments on the cist removal." Oh boy, more payments. Just what our hopeful economy needs, someone making payments on removal of small spongy masses that don't really need removal.
I was going to sprinkle cat-nip on my stitches, call to my cat, and let her go to town, but I decided to stop in at the local clinic and have them remove the four short runs of thread, for which I was charged, $65.
The cist removal, start to finish, cost me $775, or about a month and a half's health care payment total for a single dude like myself. Since I have started going without health care insurance, I'm about $29,250 to the good.
Back to my half-off deal. What's up with that? Going in I expected to pay between a grand and a grand and a half, so I'm thrilled with the total tag of $775. Thrilled with the care too. The surgeon and her two person staff were fantastic. All three were chicks! I received a survey from the hospital in the mail today and they can expect a glowing report from me. Course, I loved being worked on by doctors and dentists and nurses. I look at it like it's the closest I'll come to being fed grapes, even if it hurts a little to chew em. But still I wonder if I had insurance, where the other half of the removal cost would have gone, the $640 I didn't have to pay? You wonder?
Must be the answer to our wonderment is something Obama is trying to get to the bottom of with his new plan. I wish him and his the best. But really, does anyone know anything about anything of anything to do with the new health care package Barry is promoting with all his heart? I don't think so. I certainly haven't read it.
I did read in a respected daily paper that if the new health care plan goes through, someone like me who wishes to stay uninsured will be fined between $750 and $950 a year. Don't know if that's true, but if it is, I'll happily pay it and still be way ahead regarding dollars and cents. I stay healthy, I can't lose.
How will you and yours and others be affected if the new plan goes through? I can't tell you. I can barely keep up with how it'll all affect me, which is my primary concern, and for which, I apologize.
Bottom line on health care in general; Keep yourself as healthy as you're able, and hope if anything unexpected comes along that cost money to fix, you'll get half-off.
Rusty DeWees tours Vermont and Northern New York with his act "The Logger." His column appears weekly. He can be reached at email@example.com. Listen for The Logger, Rusty DeWees, Thursdays at 7:40 on the Big Station, 98.9 WOKO or visit his website at www.thelogger.com