Previous   Next

Do you have health coverage?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on April 9, 2007

Browse the archives

Photo of Shawna Trarbach

“Yes. I’m still covered by my parents’ policy for the rest of the year. I’m not sure what I’ll do after that, but I’m sure I’ll work something out. I might end up getting it through school.”

Photo of Eric Jackson

“No. I can’t afford it. I’m spending most of my money on trying to go back to school and working on various musical projects.”

Photo of Meaghan Malherbe

“Yes, I sure do. I get it through my job. It’s not bad.”

Photo of Warren Gerstner

“Yeah. My work pays for half of my dental coverage and all of my medical.”


KS 11 years ago

Why can't your company or the taxpayer pay for all of this? Isn't this stuff supposed to be free?

Flap Doodle 11 years ago

Not only do I have health coverage, we also have Free-Monkey Friday at work once a month.

jonas 11 years ago

Yeah, after a kidney stone and a ER bill (curse Europe where wine is cheaper than water!) I decided to get insurance through the school.

Richard Heckler 11 years ago

Considering premiums,co-pays and deductibles what is the going rate in the real world?

I have read that family coverage is going for about $10,500 - $12,000 per year.

Richard Heckler 11 years ago

Are the insured paying tax on their medical coverage as part of the pay package? Some are so I read.

The high cost of med care has the likes of the AFL-CIO and millions of their members calling for National Health Insurance not to mention GM,Ford and Chrysler/Daimler.

It is very likely National Health Insurance would be the order of the day if it were not for special interest financing of elected officials. According to what I have read special interests have been in the way for at least 60 years.

Staci Dark Simpson 11 years ago

Nope can't afford the 12K a year thru my husbands work. My job doesn't provide it either. We just pay the dr as we go. I will be paying the hospital $50 a month for the rest of my life.

Richard Heckler 11 years ago

Actually paying as you go may cost less. If you rarely do office visits which for the most part are not necessary.

Also initiating as national sales tax to cover healthcare would likely cost far less because most everyone on the USA planet would be contributing to a cause that is necessary.

National Health Insurance theoretically frees up more for actual salaries.

Crossfire 11 years ago

Yes. i have this little plastic card that identifies me and allows me to get in to see a doctor. Later, any time from 30 days to 3 years, i get a letter telling me the claim for payment has been denied and that i now owe the doctor for the entire cost of the treatment. ...weird huh...

KSChick1 11 years ago

yes thank you

costs me about $2000 for a year, employer pays the rest

it has saved me thousands of dollars in medical bills for surgery and er visits between myself and child

Linda Endicott 11 years ago

I have health insurance, but since the deductible is about $1500 and the co-pay keeps going up, not to mention my cost to the company for it, I'm not sure how good it is.

I have the kind of health insurance that pays 100% for the first visit, but pays a certain percentage less for every subsequent visit...sounds like they don't want you to get well, doesn't it? Or that they only want you to have something that can be taken care of in one doctor visit.

This is why you should always call the insurance company first, Crossfire, to see if the procedure you're having done is covered. Of course, most people who have any kind of insurance at all assume that doctor visits are covered, which isn't always the case.

Not to mention that the company I work for pays for part of my health insurance...and the amount that they pay for each year they add to my W-2s as income, so I have to pay tax on it.

Isn't life grand?

Richard Heckler 11 years ago

HealthCare For All meets April 24th 7:30PM Library

A forum is being planned very soon to hear from all insured as to costs and the uinsured. "Important" lisiteners are being asked as panel members.

Richard Heckler 11 years ago

Whatever the employer is paying out is coming from your paycheck. It is considered part of your salary so is about $10,000-$12000 for coverage.

It is time for change.

beatrice 11 years ago

Gee, I wonder how Ms-C is going to answer this one?

Yes, I am fortunate to have a good insurance program provided through work. I don't kid myself, however, that I am not paying for it.

Not carrying insurance means people skip seeing a doctor regularly, when prevention is possible. It saves money in the short term, but I doubt that it does overall. They end up only going when they need a cure, and that is when things get really expensive. As a nation, it is time to look again at the possibilities of socialized medicine, beyond what we already have for the elderly with Medicare.

Godot 11 years ago

Yes. My employer pays $320 per month and I pay $360; that is for a $7000 out of pocket exposure. Plus $100 for life insurance, and $100 for supplemental insurance (for those things health insurance does not cover). There there is the retirement component of a few hundred per month. And United Way. And, of course, taxes: lots and lots of taxes.

When I look at my take-home pay, I feel like I may as well be retired. In fact, I think I will have more money to live on if I ever get to retire.

Adrienne Sanders 11 years ago

Yes, I'm lucky to have decent insurance through my employer that I don't have to pay an arm and leg for.

Even if your insurance is not great, it'll save you a huge bundle in an emergency or severe illness.

sunflower_sue 11 years ago

Yes. The "employer" pays 100% of premiums and 100% of deductibles and co-pays. On top of that, "they" pay 100% of all prescriptions, dental, orthodontics, etc... The "employer" covers it all! I can honestly say that the insurance co. has paid out WAY more than "we" have paid in. You never know when you're going to need it...even if you think you are as healthy as they come. If you win the lottery of crappy luck, you can't afford to NOT have it!

Grundoon Luna 11 years ago

Yes, and I pay dearly for that coverage even with my employer's generous contribution, and I participate in a flex med program with that assist with OV and RX co-pays as well as OTC meds.

The insurance companies will use their lobbying efforts to fight tooth and nail to pervent a national health plan. I am happy that states, some that is, are being proactive and implementing their own plans and I hope that Kansas is successful in being one of them. I take delight in that it's pulling the rug right out from under the insurance companies, or shall I say the legal extorionists!

Oh, and I believe the term is Talibaptists.

trinity 11 years ago

yep have health insurance...employer pays lots but i still pay thru the nose, too. and just don't use it very often, except for routine checkups&stuff. and yeah sometimes the out of pocket co-pay is a real beeyotch to scrape together! but ultimately, it's good to be covered.

not to step on any toes, here-but does lmh billing routinely turn accounts over to viperous collection agencies in a matter of months instead of accepting a fairly generous pay plan from an idividual-when the bulk of the huge bill has already been taken care of by insurance?? just curious.

ms_canada 11 years ago

Bea - here is my answer. As seniors my hubby and I pay just under $800/year. In the last three months I have taken full advantage of that coverage.
Three visits to emergency with 3 overnight stays there. Three Ultra sounds 1 CTscan Seversl Xrays Numerous ECGs IVs with Morphine Endoscopy to remove obstruction in bile duct Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy to remove gallbladder. One ambulance ride but NO FOOD in all of that. Or water by mouth Medicine costs are all covered. Ever only pay $25 per prescription no matter how much it is. All this is covered by the $800/yr. I guess you could say that we are well pleased with this plan and coverage. I can visit my physician any time I like also the surgeon. Mind you, I would think that this system could lead to abuse by unthinking patients who would run to the dr. for every little sniffle. There you have it, Beatrice.

perkins 11 years ago

Insurance is as soulless an industry as the credit card industry. I have worked many years in each field. But to me the traditional system in the U.S. still beats the Canadian system that a few bloggers have yearned for. My cousin in Calgary Canada nearly died b/c the government didn't think her gall bladder problems were severe enough to warrant jumping her ahead of the normal 3 month wait for gall bladder removal. However..

When I worked in claims in Johnson County at the biggest insurance company in the world, the supervisor said, "Now doctors' offices will call, wondering where payment is, and they will accuse us of withholding payment so we can accrue interest. Of course they are right, but we should never admit it." Then she laughed heartily while we six employees in the room looked at one another with wide eyes. I quit shortly after that even though the pay was good and benefits great.

Godot 11 years ago

Windlass, it is already happening. Not too long ago I did not have to share in the cost of my health insurance, unlike I do now, and my out of pocket was only $2000 vs $7000 now.

It is all well and good to blame the health insurance companies for charging too much, and the employers for not providing enough benefits, meanwhile the real culprits - the health care providers - the ones that charge so much for this great health care - get a pass.

trinity 11 years ago

lol, R_I; my youngest spawn may have to have her gall bladder re-implanted; kid is a full time student, works part time, and did try to make a payment arrangement with lmh. and kept her end of the bargain; but somebody felt it was inadequate, and mannnn the collection agency that has been calling her? seems to delight in making the kid cry. momma's too strapped to pay the bill or i would. sigh ah well, life's lil' lessons eh?

Adrienne Sanders 11 years ago

Interesting comments about LMH. After an emergency room trip in my pre-insurance days, they did let me make arrangements to pay over time... but that was 7+ years ago so maybe things are different now.

ms_canada 11 years ago

CRICKY - after reading some of the comments today and other days when this subject was broached, I just don't understand why you yanks are not screaming to your Gov. for universal coverage. Or is it that you know that screaming would do not a bit of good? Here is a website that you might want to peruse about Canada's health care system. Especially not the health care act which sets out what each province is required to provide.

sunflower_sue 11 years ago

RI, did I mention that we are indentured servants?

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 11 years ago

Universal coverage is a bad idea. If you want to see what US government-run health care looks like, visit any veteran's hospital.

Then there's the tax costs...ouch. If you think health care is expensive now, just wait until it's "free."

sunflower_sue 11 years ago

Ms_C, I am against the US govt having a say in my health care, BUT...there does need to be some legislation for the people who are born with an illness and defined as "uninsurable." Medicare covers so little and these people are forced to pay out of pocket for things that are necessities. I would be in favor of some legislation to help people who fall into that category. In this country, you can fry your brains on drugs and get coverage, but if you are unfortunate enough to be born with something, though luck, kiddo!

ksmom 11 years ago

So, if someone decides not to enroll in the company insurance plan, I would think the employer would pay that particular employee better wages. That isn't the case, though. Either way, the employee gets screwed over. No health insurance, and no difference in pay. Life in the good 'ol US just keeps getting better and better!......NOT

Godot 11 years ago

What works in Sweden or Great Britain won't transfer to the US. That's like saying what works in Massachussetts will work for the entire US. The complexity required to implement a single payer system for the entire US is mind boggling.

As long as medicine is considered to be a profit generating business, as long as non-profit, or even government funded medical facilities refer to life-saving procedures as "profit centers," medical care will continue to be further and further out of reach for the average joe.

ms_canada 11 years ago

Sunflower sue - you say you don't want the US gov. having a say in your health care. Can I ask a question, does your insurance company have a say in your health care? I don't know too much about health care insurance coverage but here is an incident and I know, it is only one incident. My sis was scheduled for surgery and on the eve of that surgery she was informed by her insurance co. that they would not pay for it unless she had a second opinion. I think I would have to say to that, that I would not want my ins. co. second guessing my doctor and his opinion. I am going to find out more about our system and just how much the gov. has to say about my health care. One more question, are you saying that you don't want the gov. saying just what kind of treatment your doctor can provide for you? Or what are you saying? I am unclear on that. I most certainly would not want the gov. to dictate the kind of care and treatment that my doctor or surgeon can provide me. If you have time, take a quick look at the website I mentioned and especially the health act of Canada for universal coverage to ALL citizens regardless of finances.

big_major_pain 11 years ago

Yes i have health insurance for about 34 dollars every two weeks. Full coverage.

KS 11 years ago

One reason for the high cost of healthcare is the cost of liability insurance for all the walking ambulance chasers. Can't wait until universal care comes in and those same chasers will be suing the very deep pockets of the US Govt. All in all, I believe we have a very good program in the US. Drugs are high because of the R&D, advertising (which I think should be prohibited) and liablity protection. It's amazing that everyone thinks this stuff should be free or cheap. It'a amazing how everyone is willing to pay for so much else in their lives, but when it comes to their own heatlhcare, that is someone else's program to pay for. If the taxpayer starts to pay for your healthcare, then the taxpayer ought to have a right to say what you lifestyle should be. Not my idea of living. You think there is Governement intrusion now, just wait. Can't wait to hear the complaints about waiting 18 - 24 months for a knee replacement, etc. That's my story.

ms_canada 11 years ago

Oh,Oh - I was mistaken, the hubby just told me that we don't pay any premiums any more. So I looked this up on the website and as of Sept. 1, 2004 seniors, no matter of income do not pay the health care insurance premiums any more. Singles pay $44 per month and Families of 2 or more pay $88 per month.

Godot 11 years ago

Windlass, capitalists are the economic engine of the US. And when you choose to shop around and travel to other countries for cheaper healthcare, you are being a capitalist, too.

Godot 11 years ago

ms_canada, what is your effective tax rate up there?

ms_canada 11 years ago

Godot - I will try to find that out. I do know that the percentage rate is different according to income.

sue - The Canada Health Act states that ALL residents of a province or territory are eligible for health care coverage. No one is to be excluded regardless of their condition, that is from birth or other. Do you know does the US have a Health Act? Our health act states specifically what each province or territory must provide for it's residents.

JayCat_67 11 years ago

Well, considering that getting my family on my plan at work would cost about $800 a month, that would be a big no. Coverage for myself isn't bad, but the employer covers nothing for the rest. My wife has her own daycare and tried to get on with BCBS (Big Crock o' Bull S), but she has arthritis in her ankle and was actually honest about it, so the bastards won't even touch her. Guess she's pretty much FED.
I'm all for capitalism, but not when it comes to health care.

sunflower_sue 11 years ago

Ms_C, I think like most things here, you get what you pay for. Without "looking it up and trying to keep this short:" my insurance does not dictate who I go to. I do not need a referal from another Dr to see a specialist. As of yet, I haven't found a procedure they would not pay for (although I'm sure they probably have a long list). Some insurance co's (especially one's offered by corp's) have a list of Dr's that they prefer you to see if you want to pay less. (Like my sis who can go to any Dr, but the ones on the list are less expensive.) And yes, I am saying that I do not want the gov. telling me or my Dr what kind of treatment they can provide for me. This gov operates on the all-mighty dollar. If they provided health coverage, I fear we would get whatever treatment option was least expensive...not necessarily the best.

Linda Endicott 11 years ago

After my sister lost one job (laid off, Sprint, you know), she had the option to continue her health coverage for awhile. She did so for a couple of months, but Cobra is expensive as hell, and she couldn't afford it. She was paying more for Cobra every month than she had been for her insurance through Sprint.

And it wasn't very good coverage, either.

How do you expect people who suddenly find themselves unemployed to be able to afford Cobra, Godot?

And who the hell are YOU to claim fraud about anyone? Are you the insurance commissioner or something?

Or just the usual self-imposed know-it-all about everything?

rocketmom67 11 years ago

I have insurance through work--premium paid so I cannot complain about that but they are the most difficult company to work with! The worst part is my 13 year old was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes last year and has no insurance. I am a single parent, the premium is over $400 per month to add him to my work policy--then with co-pays on top of it for both of us it ends up being $800/mo without any doctors visits! We are just over income for every income based medical assistance program available. I have been so frustrated and desperate trying to figure out how to provide my son with adequate diabetes care. His prescriptions and supplies are $600 per month! There have been some amazing people who have donated an insulin pump and supplies and we are so fortunate to have assistance from Children's Mercy until August--not sure what happens after that. If it were not for this he would have nothing. There is no health care safety net for chronically ill kids, or for families just above the Health Wave guildelines. There is nothing worse then feeling like you cannot provide your child with the basic things he needs to be healthy. There is no chance of private insurance with diabetes. We have to depend on this underground "black market" of sorts where folks pass along supplies that are no longer needed. Honestly, in a world according to me, at the LEAST kids would be covered until 18 and 25 with a chronic illness.

bevy 11 years ago

I am afraid to begin to comment on this, I've had too many horrible experiences. But here goes...

LMH lied to us about my fiance's bills. Though they gave him a huge writeoff, for which we are very grateful, they told us that as long as we kept in contact with them while he was unable to work, they would not turn him over for collections. They did, and he was getting 3-4 calls a day until he filed for bankruptcy recently.

My ex-hubby and I had to file 10 years ago for medical bills from our daughter's seizure disorder. We were both working, but neither of us had coverage and we made too much to get ANY help from the gov't. I think we made about 22,000 that year for a family of 4. Rich! Hah.

The medical propaganda machine will keep spreading the idea that if we go with socialized medicine, standards of care will decline. Well, take a good freakin' look around. We are the only so-called "industrialized" nation that doesn't have it. Costs are up because when someone can't pay, the providers lose money and pass the difference on in higher costs. Our sue-happy victim society has driven doctor's malpractice insurance premiums through the roof. Don't even get me started on the cost of medications.

This is a money machine, folks, pure and simple. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is full of it. We need a national health insurance program, at the very least. Something to provide an affordable safety net for the "working poor".

I'm done. For now.

Jersey_Girl 11 years ago

I work in a doctor's office and do the billing (along with a lot of other crap). The only insurance company my office is in-network with is BCBS, who are completely wack (not a phrase I use loosely). As usual, I feel the need to compare Kansas to New Jersey and the differences in BCBS's policies is ridiculous. Jersey policies are simple and easy to understand; either you have a co-pay (a flat fee) that you pay each office visit or you have a deductible and then pay co-insurance (a percentage of the office fee). BCBS of Kansas does both; you pay a co-pay and then a co-insurance on whatever is left after the co-pay. I think it's designed to confuse everyone so they just give up and not bother figuring out what's right.

Confrontation 11 years ago

We might as well have universal coverage, considering that we're already paying for the uninsured who can't cover their bills (plus the illegals). I know two women who purposely got pregnant before they were married. If they had been married, then their baby's daddy's incomes would have eliminated their ability to get on Healthwave and the dads might have received a bill. They are both married and unemployed now, and proudly accepting WIC vouchers and anything else they can get for "free." Your tax money at work. It might as well go to benefit all of us.

ms_canada 11 years ago

sue - I believe I understand where you are coming from on this and I agree completely. No one wants the gov. or insur. telling their doctor what treatment to prescribe. I know that our system is not perfect and there are people who complain about it. I guess the one big thing that I like about it is the universality of it. No one, no one at all is left out or has huge cripling expenses or worries such as rocket mom above. Another thing I like is that our system is mandated by Federal Law. We MUST be provided with a certain standard of care. And with your government Iwould think that some laws ought to be in place before any system of universal coverage could be implemented. Definitely laws!!!!

christie 11 years ago

I only want what our government leaders have. If it's good enough for them it's good enough for me.

Godot 11 years ago

Wow, rocketmom67, first you have to pay an extra $400 per month for a child on your employer health plan, and then, even if you don't use it, it costs you $800 in co-pays

Nice try, pulling the heart strings on the child with diabetes. Too bad you cannot even lie well enough to pass basic insurance school.

Not even a good try. You fail.

FRAUD ALERT on rocketmom67!

denak 11 years ago

I don't have insurance. For awhile, that was ok until I was diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea which is a potentially fatal sleep disorder where you stop breathing while you are asleep. I was diagnosed while I had insurance from my job. After the job ended(I was a paraeducator and they hired a teacher to take mine and two others jobs), I had no way to purschase or get a CPAP. For four months, I knew that I had a disorder where I was essentially a walking time bomb. I would either stop breathing permanantly or I would eventually have a heart attack. I went to Health Care Access for a different problem and mentioned the sleep apnea off hand. I didn't expect anything to come of it. Less than two weeks later, I got a call from Health Care Access and Somnatech telling me that Somnatech was donating a CPAP to me. I got my CPAP on October 5 and literally it has been a lifesaver.

Health Care Access and Somnatech did this because they still believe a person's life is worth something. This is what socialized medicine does. If you don't have insurance, it doesn't matter that you have a potentially fatal disease, your screwed. Health Care Access and Somnatech didn't care about "insurance" they cared only that I lived.

At my new job, I have the opportunity to purchase health insurance with a 2,000 dollar cap. That isn't much.

This is why we should have comprehensive health care. Try to put yourself in my shoes walking around wondering if you are going to see your child grow up or are you going to have a heart attack first. (Not to mention all the other problems that come with sleep apnea)

If we aren't going to do it for adults, fine but at least cover ALL children. I have a friend who has a son with Type 1 diabetes. Even with a waiver from Children's Mercy she still spends huge amounts of money on his insulin and all the needles and things. With all the money she puts out for his things, you would think she could afford insurance but nope, can't. And she has a Master's degree and works in a school.

Personally, I'm tired of all this b. s. "liberal this" or "conservative" that or "communist" name calling. Lack of insurance is a real issue that literally means life or death for some people.


Godot 11 years ago

sorry, denak, you also qualify for the fraud, or ignorance, alert, as the case may be.

You had the federally mandated right to continue your health insurance for at least 18 to 24 months after your para-educator job ended, as long as you were willing to pay for it.

And as for your new employer-provided plan, there is absolutely no way there is a $2,000 cap. There might be a $2,000 deductible, and if you consider that to be the max that you are willing to pay for your own health care, then, yes, it is a cap you impose upon yourself.

This subject is complicated enough without deliberate attempts at misinformation to cloud the issues.

denak 11 years ago

There is no deliberate attempt at misinformation. I could not afford Cobra. I was only working 4 hours a day(if I was lucky) due to the effects of the sleep apnea.

As for the 2,000 cap, that is true.

I don't care if you don't believe it or not.

As you stated, the subject is complicated. However, I think my situation as well as my friend's situation, is indicative of the seriousness of the problem.


mom_of_three 11 years ago

We have coverage through my husband's work, which is cheaper than my employer. Was pretty unhappy a few years back when they made you take the crappy prescription coverage, which didn't pay for itself. Cost me more for the plan than it did in the prescriptions.
Now, a few years later, it is starting to right itself. The kids have more prescriptions for allergies and asthma, and as I am getting older, I need something for my cholesterol. So it may pay for itself this year. Of course, my allergy medication isn't covered, but am too chicken for shots.

mom_of_three 11 years ago

But I am glad for our health insurance. All of it (healthy, dental, eye, prescription)costs about 12,000 a year, of which we pay about $1400.
But two years ago, our eldest had her appendix removed. She was in the hospital for a week due to complications. The bill was over $22,000 (yes, inflated no doubt due to insurance), but we only owed about $250. So matter what, it was sure helpful. Can't imagine what it would have been without it. We also hope to won't need to use it again for a long, long time.

Linda Endicott 11 years ago

My sister works in customer service (won't say where; you know those lawyers!), and she says the same thing about them...and she's worked for more than one company in customer service.

They can never admit to the customers that there's a problem, even when there is one and management knows it.

Management says it gives a bad impression to the customers.

Know what I think? It really gives a bad impression to the customers when you LIE to them...especially when they find out you did...

rocketmom67 11 years ago

Godot, it is $800 per month TOTAL (premium+copays) to add diabetic son to insurance and purchase the medication we both need and the supplies he needs. Not FRAUD--I did the math...

Godot 11 years ago

rocketmom67, if you do not go to the doctor, how can you have co-pays? Something is wrong with this picture.

Godot 11 years ago

crazyks wrote: "After my sister lost one job (laid off, Sprint, you know), she had the option to continue her health coverage for awhile. She did so for a couple of months, but Cobra is expensive as hell, and she couldn't afford it. She was paying more for Cobra every month than she had been for her insurance through Sprint.

And it wasn't very good coverage, either."

COBRA means having the exact same health benefits that you were provided when you were an employee, not for "awhile" but for at least 18 months, only now you have to pay the entire cost yourself, plus 2% surcharge for administration. It is law.

So, if your sister's coverage was not very good under COBRA, it must not have been very good when she was an employee of Sprint, either.

I have a son who works for Sprint, and I know that his health coverage is excellent.

So much for more disinformation being spread about a very complicated topic that is highly charged, politically speaking.

Godot 11 years ago

dnak wrote: "As for the 2,000 cap, that is true."

It cannot be. The Insurance Commissioner would not approve a health insurance plan with a $2,000 cap on benefits.

If you had a $2,000 cap, you did not have health insurance.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.