Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Health Care 201........blog 424

Health Care 201

With all the talk about healthcare recently, for and against Obamacare, I'd like to add our story to the mix. 
During our 34 years in the casino business our healthcare was behind the curtain. I say this because we never really had to think about it...it was always there, just waiting for us. 
Costs were minimal, co-pays small and it was capped at a $1,000,000 lifetime limit...yea, like who'd ever come close to that. In the 34 years I had my insurance, I'd had multiple broken bones, approximately 12 or 13, two severe foot operations and I had a nasty bout with cancer, but last I remember before retiring, I'd had only used $185,000 of my $1,000,000 limit. 
The insurance companies pooled all the monthly insurance payments together and provided excellent coverage, this kind of reminds me of the "single-payer" system. 

Unfortunately in our occupation, when you retire, all benefits cease immediately...zero, zilch, nada! I was fortunate, or unfortunate...it depends on ones perspective, because of a service connected injury, as the VA was responible for all my medical and prescriptions, 100%. Donna on the other hand had no medical insurance and when her cobra ran out we got one of those $1,000,000 "catastrophic" policies where she pays quite a bit monthly but if something bad happened, they would pickup the costs after a $10,000 deductible. 
We felt safe with this because really "who in the hell will run up ONE MILLION DALLORS in medical costs? Did I mention we were slightly naïve?

Fast forward three years later and we find the house of our dreams in the state of Washington. Four months after becoming Washingtonians, OBAMACARE or what should be called ACA, became available in our welcoming state. 
Donna's premium went from $477 a month for catastrophic only to $145 for complete coverage, wow...we couldn't believe how lucky we were to be in such a beautiful and progressive state. 

Now the bad news. 

Two months after Donna was accepted into the ACA program she was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. 
During the next 13 months, with 8 of them being in a hospital, Donna and her doctors fought to win over this frightening blood disease. Chemo for 2 months in the hospital (which failed) followed by another chemo trip for another months stay before the only option was to get a bone marrow transplant at the University of Washington near Seattle. 
The only hitch was that SCCA wanted $100,000 up front for acquiring the bone marrow from the hosts. It costs about $125,000 and the insurance would only allocate $25,000 towards this, so against Donna's wishes, I proceeded to take a first out on our house. Luckily, the doctors fought and made the insurance company pay the total cost for harvesting the marrow. 
The transplant would require Donna to stay up to 21 days max for the transplant and after more chemo and radiation...it ended up being 5 months!
Donna beat the leukemia, so they say, and was sent home in a very weakened condition and only lasted 5 days, before she was flown on a medevac jet back to Seattle, only to be told there was nothing they could do. 

Why am I reliving this horror?
So you aren't fooled by any phony "HEALTH CARE PLAN" that won't protect you, your family...or your life's savings. 
Donna's total bill for the 13 months was $2,300,000...TWO MILLION THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS!
Who paid this? The pool in Washington did, our share of the cost was a little less than 10%, but remember when I thought ONE MILLION was a ridiculous amount of money? Think again.

Do I want to say thank you to Mr. Obama...damn right I do, "thank you Mr Obama".

Do I want to say thank you to the thousands, if not millions who pooled there money into an insurance fund to help Donna, yes I do, "thank you". 

Donna didn't survive, even with the worlds best doctors and equipment, but thanks some thoughtful and intelligent folks in D.C., she had a chance, isn't that all we can ask for?

We are the richest country in the world, yet we are ranked 37th in the world for health care. 

The 1% hold half of the wealth in this country and because of our tax codes I can end up paying more, percentage wise, than most of the richest people do. How is this fair? A flat tax, no deductions or exemptions would solve a lot of budget problems. 

Be humble and kind

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