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If this is Obamacare...

...I'm all for it!

Well, I'm all for it and more anyway, but my last two experiences with health insurance and medical care are both unique in my experience.

First, it's Open Enrollment time for my health insurance. I opened the envelope containing insurance rates for the next 12 months with my usual trepidation. Crogglement followed. My rate for the same plan as last year dropped 10%, from $562 to $506/month. The annual savings will pay for the new tires going on my car on Wednesday, and the tires will most likely last far longer than the year.

Digression: it's way too warm out to put a couple thousand more miles on the snow tires I bought after the October storm wreaked havoc out here. I'm gladly taking the credit for the lack of winter since. It's the first time I've bought snow tires in my life so of course we had an all-season winter. Win. End digression.

Second, I had my annual mammogram this afternoon. Or, as my sister put it, "Happy Boob Squish Monday." When the digital images were all recorded and stored, and I was back in my bra and top once more, the tech invited me to take a rose from the container of individually wrapped roses (with baby's breath and greenery) on the counter in the exam room.

It's the first time I've ever been given a flower at a medical appointment. First time for the nipple stickers, too.

Lower costs, roses, and nipple stickers! Who knew this was the future of health care in America? It was certainly news to me. Welcome news at that. Except for the nipple stickers. They were just plain entertaining. Smallest pasties I ever did see.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 20th, 2012 09:09 pm (UTC)
I am in shock over the cost of your medical insurance.
Mar. 21st, 2012 09:00 am (UTC)
You will be perhaps even more shocked to hear that this is the price for a *cheap* policy, one with a $2,000 deductible before it starts paying for anything other than routine, preventive care. If I'd stayed with the health plan provider I chose the first year I moved here, I'd be paying at least another $200/month for one of their $2,000 deductible plans.

The prices for a family policy would take your breath away. All that news you hear about a health care/health insurance crisis in America? Yep, this is what they're talking about.

My total annual out-of-pocket expenses for a year (for covered services and including the deductible and copays) is $4,000. In addition to the $6,000+ in premiums.

Presuming, of course, that your shock is over how high the price is rather than how low. Seriously, this is a low price. If I were still in Minnesota on the plan I had there, I'd be paying $691/month for coverage -- $2,300/year more for a plan with fewer fully-covered benefits and $1,000 less total exposure than my current $6,000-$10,000 annual expense. Hey, last year that minimum was $6,700.

On the Minnesota plan I had, if I'm remembering your ages correctly, the monthly insurance cost for you, your best beloved, and your two sons would be about $1,850.

There's so much about US health insurance that's totally insane. If you want to drive yourself there, take a look at the current MCHA rate chart. Both the $1,000 deductible and $2,000 deductible plans have the same $3,000 annual out-of-pocket maximum. Yet the premiums for the $1,000 deductible plan cost $1,620/year more than the $2,000 deductible plan. If you're never going to need any medical care, sure, you can go for the very lowest premiums available. Under MCHA, that takes a $10,000 deductible plan. But if you need health care, and everyone does, you're going to pay for it in premiums, in deductibles, or, most often, both.

It's not that I mind paying for health care. It's that I mind paying so much for insurance companies to profit off my need for health care, and paying so much for the administrative support it takes to process everything. As the news is so good at reporting, US costs are higher and our health outcomes are lower than oh, so many countries that run under sane, single-payer systems.

Okay, rant off. :-)
Mar. 21st, 2012 04:40 am (UTC)
Are the stickers for during the procedure? Are they supposed to help with modesty? What's the deal there? I am uninformed on the process.
Mar. 21st, 2012 09:07 am (UTC)
The deal is that they show the radiologist where the nipple is, leaving them less likely to misidentify it as a lump or suspicious spot when the nipple ends up squished or otherwise positioned under other breast tissue on the film. (Well, digital file, but I still call it film.

There's no modesty value. Indeed, i've never before had a mammography tech do anything that led to their fingers apply direct pressure to my nipples and it's hard to say the actually cover anything. The ones they put on me were mostly transparent, with some little black lines making a target.

There appear to be a number of different styles of nipple stickers on the market. The mind croggles.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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