Losing health insurance sucks.

Christina here…


Back in April, my husband’s boss stopped payinf for our health insurance.

This is partially our fault: for some reason when he set up our health insurance, he gave the insurance company our home address for billing. So whenever the monthly payment was due, the bills got sent to us, and Chris had to take them into the office, where The Boss oss would pay them.

I thought we got a copy of the bill and the boss got a copy of the bill, so stopped giving them to Chris to give to The Boss. Without the bills to remind him to pay, he didn’t.

Did you know that generic Lexapro is $120 a month if you don’t have any kind of health insurance? Adderall (generic) is $60 a month. Advair (for Christopher) is $150 a month. His other inhaler is $100 a month.

Thankfully a physician friend of ours tossed Chris some samples of Advair so he wouldn’t literally wheeze to death. I weaned myself off of my meds. Meanwhile The Boss tried to get us new health insurance by claiming I worked for him, which the insurance company did not like. The Boss, not having to pay for our health insurance, saved money while we got all wheezy and depersonalized. He took his sweet time finding us new insurance.

Thankfully we have some new insurance that will kick in August 1st.

Yet, who the fuck am I to complain? There are people out there who can’t get health insurance at all. People out there whose medical bills have bankrupted them. People out there who have died because they couldn’t get health insurance. People living in places where there is no healthcare to speak of at all.

Learn more about Christina and follow her @ziztur.

About christinastephens
  • F

    Yep. You know it.

  • shouldbeworking

    From a Canadian point of view, that is horrible. Is there anyway you can get it back?

    • shouldbeworking

      Oops, posted comment before scrolling/reading all the way to the bottom.

  • http://peopleofpublictransport.wordpress.com Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    That one of the two parties of US government can make ensuring this situation does not get fixed a key part of their campaign is something I will never understand or accept. I regularly cross verbal swords with my mother-in-law over this, and so far she hasn’t admitted defeat, but neither does she come out with the bombast quite so quickly these days.

    • Rory

      And the beauty of it is they don’t even have to admit they’re being obstructionist about it. They can claim that they’d really LIKE to help, but they just can’t allow this sweeping expansion of government powers. Or they’d really LIKE to help, but this bill won’t fix the basic problems leading to high costs and so isn’t worth supporting.

      It’s not that they don’t care, you see. It’s that they care too much.

      Yeah, right.

  • phil

    that is one thing i will never understand about the US system. why doesn’t the boss just pay you the money and you find your own insurance?

    • http://www.atheist-faq.com Jasper of Maine (I feel safe and welcome at FTB)

      If the company can get a company plan, they can often get a lower rate in bulk – that’d be one thing.

      • NanceConfer

        And then The Boss has that much more control over your life.

      • http://www.ziztur.com Flimsyman

        Nope, no company plan. We’re a small business with literally three employees including the boss/owner. The other employee besides me and the boss is semi-retired, and covered by medicare. So the boss tries to pull all kinds of bullshit, like telling the insurance company that Christina works for him, to get coverage as cheap as he can.

    • Steve

      I also don’t understand why bills need to be paid manually. Why not set it up so the money is automatically deducted from the bank account?

    • plutosdad

      Individuals are not allowed to write off their insurance expenses like companies can. So that would mean you’d pay tax on that extra money the company pays you. (Currently you pay tax on extra insurance for domestic partners if your company/insurance even allows it).

      Also, until the new law, most group insurance couldn’t restrict pre-existing conditions but individual insurance could. So again, no point to buying your own if you could avoid it.

      I think one thing the Republicans have right is that the system was set up to penalize people buying their own insurance (relative to companies buying it).

      • phil

        I don’t get to write off my health insurance. I pay a 1.5% levy out of after-tax income, plus my private health insurance premium (although there is a means-tested rebate). Yet somehow our system in australia seems infinitely better than the ‘system’ in the US. OTOH we have that dreaded ‘socialised medicine’ where at a minimum everyone is ‘forced’ to be treated based on how sick they are, and essential medicines are government subsidised, and I can get treatment anywhere I want (not who my health insurance company tells me) at a reasonable cost (if I can afford it) or no cost at all (if I can’t). Private health insurance is pretty much only for ‘extras’, or coverage for being treated in private hospital. And if I have had continuous coverage, no health insurance company can deny me coverage. And the concept of ‘medical bankruptcy’ is a nonsense.

        The US system is screwed because health insurance has always been tied to ‘employer provided’ schemes. And because the US has historically paid workers poorly with no adequate government provided health service or safety net.

        Of course, the real problem with the US seems to be regarding health insurance, and treating illness and injury, as a profit centre.

        • Steve

          The stupid employer provided health insurance scheme is really a fluke of history. During WWII, wages were limited by the government. Extra compensation wasn’t. Companies competed for workers and couldn’t do it directly with money, so they used extras like health insurance to attract people. After the war that proved to be popular so it stayed. It should have been changed long, long ago.

  • http://becomingjulie.blogspot.co.uk/ BecomingJulie

    As a Briton, born and raised under the National Health Service, I find it incredible that the supposedly-civilised USA, in the 21st century, does not have a system of taxpayer-funded, free-at-the-point-of-use healthcare for everyone.

    Surely the welfare of citizens should be the number one priority of any government? Because with nobody to look after, what is the point of a government anyway?

    • http://www.atheist-faq.com Jasper of Maine (I feel safe and welcome at FTB)

      We’re the #1 3rd world country!!

      • Icaarus

        Can I use that as the Quote of the Day???

    • http://www.atheist-faq.com Jasper of Maine (I feel safe and welcome at FTB)

      For a less snarky answer, I’d say that half of America agrees. The other half, the half with most of those who have most of the money, disagree.

      They barely want a government at all (except for social issues). It’s moral and just and correct for everyone to be fending for themselves and if you aren’t doing well, then you somehow deserve that.

      It’s the American attitude of independence and self-sufficiency, except, apparently, for things like having a nationalized armed forces – then all of a sudden, they’re all enthusiastic about socialism. Well, they aren’t, since they’re trying to turn the US armed forces into a private business too.

      I don’t get it either.

      • Steve

        Ironically, the military is probably the most “socialistic” institution in the US. It’s a meritocracy at least on paper (in practice not necessarily) and most importantly it has extensive government funded healthcare and pensions.

  • b00ger

    My wife’s migraine medicine (don’t remember what it is called) is over $400 for 20 pills without insurance.

  • AylaSophia

    Here’s some perspective on the health care situation!

    I’m an American currently living in Ireland. Ireland has socialized health care, but since I’m not an Irish citizen (and, more importantly, don’t pay Irish taxes) I’m legally required to have my own private health insurance. I bought the cheapest insurance I could find, which covers hospitalizations but nothing day-to-day. (I’ve never even had to use it in the five years I’ve lived here.) It definitely doesn’t cover my Lexapro.

    But I still get some of the benefits of socialized health care, just by living here. For example, as I said, my health insurance doesn’t cover my Lexapro, so I have to pay for that out of pocket. Which comes to about €60 a month. It’s not cheap, but this is far, far less than name-brand Lexapro in the U.S. (there isn’t a generic here yet), and it’s even about half the price of the generic version. I also can go to free women’s clinic at the local hospital for pap smears and I was able to get a colposcopy for free when I needed one. Oh, and even when I do have to see a private G.P., a visit costs about €50.

    Of course, my Irish citizen boyfriend, who is on the same dose of Lexapro as I am, pays €0.50 when he picks up a prescription. That’s fifty cents. For a prescription, which might be three months’ worth. And he gets free G.P. visits and free psychiatric counseling for his asperger’s. Seeing stuff like that makes me so angry at the U.S. system for not taking basic care of its citizens.

  • bullet

    FWIW, the pharmacist at CVS gave me a discount card that knocks my generic Lexapro down to $70. That’s 10mg, so YMMV. It’s some program called USA Drug Plan and I have no idea how it works (I know, bad skeptic) except that it doesn’t cost me anything and it saves me $100 – $200 a month on my prescriptions. It also depends on where the pharmacy is getting the generics, so it can pay to shop around. That being said, all generic pharmacological drugs don’t always work the same way so, you know, WTF? Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about this for very long, but you never know when it may happen again.

    As far as the whole health insurance debate goes, I love pointing out to people that I make more money than my Dad did at my age, but because of the drugs I have to take in order to stay sane enough to remain employed, no one will give me affordable health insurance. If I stopped taking the drugs, I would be occasionally mentally unstable, more than likely unable to hold a job and unable to take care of my family, so the government would then be wholly funding our entire lives instead of just subsidizing our insurance. And there are a bunch of people out there like me. Not necessarily mental, but who need decent medical care in order to remain productive and without which will become the very “leeches” that these high and mighty types fear so much. I mean, just forget about the whole “Having a decent quality of life” entirely. Which would they prefer?

    The whole thing gives me a headache.

  • teh_faust

    Who are you to complain? Someone in a situation that sucks. I’d say it is as easy as that.
    The fact that it could be worse hardly makes it better, does it?

  • RuQu

    My parents were in the military. I’m in the military. My sister and brother-in-law are military.

    When I’m sick, or my wife is sick, we go and get treated. If we get our prescriptions on base, they are free. Completely. If we fill them in town, they are trivially cheap, about $9 I think per script.

    I’ve seen a lot of the world. I go to places like Europe with nationilzed health care, and even the homeless people seem fairly healthy. You see the homeless in the US and they definitely are not. I remember one homeless guy in Seattle who was literally covered in large oozing sores. We have a well-known problem with the mentally ill going untreated and ending up homeless.

    How is this good for the country? The sick and insane on the streets is a public health travesty.

    Most people who go bankrupt do so because of medical expenses. How is that good for the economy?

    There is only one real reason to argue against nationalized single-payer healthcare like Europe and the US Military use, and that reason is profit. Everything else is just spin and rhetoric to rile up the right-wing base. We have a system in place that treats human health as a commodity, and there is substantial money to be made there. The people and companies that profit from this system can then use their money to influence the politics, and they do.

    Reasons For Public Health Care:
    Better for economy
    Better for individuals
    Better for public health
    Lower prices overall
    Proper “Christian” values (caring for the sick and poor)
    Basic human decency

    Reasons Against Public Health Care:

    Guess which wins?

  • DysgraphicProgrammer

    I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.

    But then I cried again, because his lack of feet did not actually solve my lack of shoes.