"For middle-class Americans, health insurance offers little protection," Quote from just released, 1 hour old Reuter's article (the source of blue note's thread here)
Blue Note, hats off to you, you're sure on top of the news!!
Read the article, y'all - all above posters' questions are answered therein......
I attended the required class for those who are about to file bankruptcy, yesterday. It was sobering, even interesting, and allowed me to make the informed choice not to declare bankruptcy, as I have no huge outstanding credit card debts, as I stopped using those when I cut them all up 2 decades ago.
Luckily I had some "slush fund" money from the sale of a property I had (I sold it at the beginning of this year), because it was about to be foreclosed upon for the same reason the condo I'm in now is about to be foreclosed upon - I can't pay the constantly rising Homeowner Association dues in addition to my mortgages. However that's not the real reason this situation is upon me.....
My medications were no longer available in sample form, after 20 years of taking them and always fearing the day they'd become generic, and then no samples would be there. Well, that time came about 6 months ago, and I've had to suck over $500./month from the bank account I had at that time (it's depleted).
Other factors, were involved, too. I lost jobs after becoming 55 years of age, due I believe to "health" insurance companies charging employers over $1,000/month for employees who achieved that age. I usually get jobs for which I am chosen to be interviewed, due to having my degree, varied experience, and ability to interview well. See "about me".
When I got Medicare (thank God), I still wasn't a bargain for employers, as Blue Cross (and all their subsidiaries) won't allow Medicare to be the primary insurer, in contracts with large employers, so they charge over $3,000/month for those over 65. Those of you still working over those ages, who have been with your place of employment many years, may have been "grandfathered in", disallowing that overcharge.
So that's a cause of medical care causing people to become so financially encumbered that they end up declaring bankruptcy. Then, when/if they have to be hospitalized, with the cost of supplemental policies quite high for Medicare recipients, without that, the money pit deepens. (You have to pay 20% of the amount Medicare will cover.)
Then, since Medicare D coverage isn't cheap, and most patients have medications made by different manufacturers, each charging monthly premiums, (which in my case made the cost of that coverage higher than the cost of my prescriptions). Joining an HMO usually means that they won't allow the use of very expensive prescriptions........ "It isn't in our formulary"
When my financial resources hit bottom (recently)I was given medicaid for my prescriptions, given a list of HMOs and told to canvass each to see IF my meds were in their formulary. Well, Health Net jumped "the gun", sending me their card to present at pharmacies and when I called that company's pharmaceutical information number, I was told that all my meds except for one very inexpensive one (???) were covered - NOT! They lie, folks - no surprise.
The first prescription I tried to get, for Prevacid (no other proton pump inhibitor works for me, but every time my insurance coverage has changed in the past 20 years, I was told to try the other ones again, before they'd pay for Prevacid). I'd cry in frustration, "Why do you want me to be in pain?" During one of the past occasions, while on a different product, I had a drop in my H&H, and the MD appealed to Kaiser, for them to provide the one that works.
So I found out that decisions such as that can be appealed. However, many of the physicians' offices won't do the appeal without charging a fairly large fee - for me, unemployed - to do that. They preferred to give me samples, which was often the only reason I stayed with a doctor who was less than astute.
I've had 3 more gastric hemorrhages resulting in high medical bills, which I was unable to pay, and long periods of inability to work while recovering from them.
Then the "coup de gras" occurred. My ex-husband refused to abide with our divorce "agreement", at his very wealthy wife's urging, and his tendency to play it "close to his chest", financially. I could say more...... So that income dried up, which had previously covered my mortgages (they're sub prime, but no cooperation yet, with the Obama relief program holds me to the high payments). Another very severe hemorrhage ensued, requiring hospitalization.
So now I'm on (gulp) "food stamps" and Medicare B is covered by Medicaid, along with my prescription coverage (still have copays, but they're minimal - just $50/month. Yesterday I was at Costco and asked the guy checking membership cards at the entrance, if "EBT" cards are accepted for food there.
He said, "No! We don't want those kind of people here". I told him that it was mine, and made him listen to my story, crying. Guess he won't say that to anyone, again. The new upscale market that just opened next door to Costco won't take it, either.
So weighing just how much health costs weigh in the cause of bankruptcy, please keep in mind that it's like dominoes, one unaffordable piece knocks others down, until a person gets the sense of being ground by the heel of society, and not able to get up.
Yah, I never dreamed that I'd ever be 70, single, and poor, either.