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If insurance can't protect you from going broke, why buy it at all?

  • Published in Letters

To The Daily Sun,

I am so enjoying the health insurance debate going on now, because it has been so entertaining. It is amazing how our president can take something that has always been rather dull and boring, and turn it into a national crisis. I'm also paying close attention to the details of the Affordable Care Act and comparing what they are offering to the insurance plan that I have with my employer. I went to the government website and actually got a lot of information including descriptions of different plans and what benefits they provide.
I can tell you from my personal experience after going through some huge health problems myself recently, that the care that I received from the doctors and the staff at LRGH was first class and they literally saved my life when I had emergency surgery on my guts in January 2012. That included a total of three major surgeries, over four weeks of hospitalization including a week in intensive care, and several months home care provided by the Central NH VNA who were absolutely wonderful. Such professional services do not come cheap, however, and Anthem Blue Cross also came through for me. My plan has a three thousand dollar deductible per year, so even though I had run up a bill of over $350,000 over that time, my portion was only $6,000 plus some co-pays, which is normal. That is affordable. My plan costs about $400 a month but my boss pays 60 percent and I pay 40 percent. It's a lot of money but it sure paid off for me. You can see how a sudden illness could plunge you into impossible debt very quickly without good health insurance.
Now let's compare that to the plans that are being offered by the "Obamacare" insurance exchange. I found three basic tiers of coverage, Bronze, Silver and Gold although the Gold Plan was not available to me for some reason. There is an informational attachment that calculates your premiums and what benefits you receive. There is no deductible but instead they pay a percentage and you pay the rest. The Bronze plan pays 60 percent. The Silver plan pays 70 percent. Sure it costs less than the insurance I have now but if I had their best plan it when I got sick, I would have received a bill for 30 percent of my grand total, over $100,000! Hey, I don't know about you, but for me, at my age, there is nothing "affordable" about that! We would have been broke for the rest of our lives and instead of a comfortable retirement, I would probably have to work until I died, leaving my debt for my wife to pay.
I hope that I haven't bored you too much with my story, and fortunately most people won't get what I had. Still, when you buy insurance that will not protect you from going broke if you do get sick, why buy it at all? What's the difference if you owe $100,000,or $350,000, or even a million, If you don't have the money? The result is the same, you lose everything. And if I had been forced into such a plan by the government against my will, I would be very bitter about it as you would to. Check it out for yourself and if I have this thing all wrong, I would like to know how.

Alan Moon