Michael Moore, director of "Fahrenheit 9/11," the highest grossing documentary of all time, sets his sights on the American healthcare system and the corruption within. His film “Sicko”, is awaiting a UK cinema release date. In the US it has caused lots of controversy and made people think.
Latest figures show over 40 million Americans have no health insurance. Unlike the UK, there is no state care to fall back on so if you get sick you have to pay substantial medical bills.
People travelling to the US or working there, often get shocked by the cost of travel and health insurance. It is worth remembering that now many working and middle income families are unable to afford health insurance.
While many people consider health insurance a needed commodity, many others are so far removed from the health insurance industry that a typical individual or family health insurance policy is well beyond their reach. Consider the policies offered by major insurance carriers such as Cigna, EHealthInsurance.com, Kaiser, Blue Cross or Aetna. These plans sound great to most people, but the time involved in shopping around for a descent fit for health insurance can be so daunting, that many people take the first thing that comes along, stop worrying about it and, when the time comes, they cross their fingers in hopes that their insurance will pay their claim. For many people, the hard answer comes too late, when they are already in need of major care. When insurance companies turn down claims, people go bankrupt.
The fact is health insurance is not a viable answer to many peoples’ hopes and prayers. With premiums in the range of $200-$1000 a month, Americans earning less than say $25,000 annually are going to have an extremely difficult time paying and so many of them will simply choose to pay for their own medical or dental care. This is a money saving health care option for many folks when it comes to regular check ups and routine physician or dentist visits. On the other hand, when these same people have car accidents and on the job injuries, without insurance, times can be desperate,
A health insurance policy from a company such as Cigna will typically cost about $200-500 a month. The deductible could range from $50-$3000 or more, depending on the plan type and other factors. If we look at one medical procedure, such as a vision correction procedure, a patient may be looking at a retail medical bill of $500-$5000 depending on the circumstances. Where it still is questionable is if the insurance company will even pay the claim
According to the Washington Post and USA Today research available by searching Google.com for “average health insurance cost”, the average cost of a health insurance policy for a family is actually in the range of $11,000 annually. (USAToday.com). That’s about $1000 a month. This is a devastating figure to millions of Americans who are working long hours just to make incomes of less than $2000 a month. How can they be expected to take care of any other family expenses? This may be a question for the insurance companies themselves, but the fact is, there still is very little transparency on this issue. What further blots the reputation of insurance are the high deductibles that come with it. Not only that, but there are long waiting periods, many exclusions and restrictions. A health insurance company may even drop a claim based on a pre-existing condition unknown to the patient. This is devastating news since, by the time they are discovered, these rejected claims can put the average American into a state of unforeseen jeopardy, perhaps even bankruptcy.
So, if you are travelling to or working in the US, and thinking that the price quoted to you for an international health or travel policy is too high- just compare it against the cost of buying cover in the US. Don’t even think of going without insurance, US hospitals pursue non-payers in court.