Monthly Archives: December 2013

The US Health Insurance Arrangements Suck

Those of you who read my previous blog will know that by now I should have had my chemotherapy port removed. Those of you who are astute readers may now be inferring that I still have it firmly in place and that this is so because of health insurance. My astute readers, you are correct.

From coming to the US the entire health insurance set up has been as clear to me as London smog. Co-pays, deductibles and so on were notions which were so alien to me coming from England with the NHS to which we all contribute and which is free at point of service. I always thought that to be a great scheme and think it an even better one now that I have experienced the US system. Since arriving in the US I have been on my wife’s health insurance, for which she pays a small fortune because, obviously, if I claim under it she is still working so the health policy won’t lapse, whereas if she claims under it for anything serious there is every chance that she might not be able to continue working and the policy would lapse thereby meaning that the insurance company’s responsibilities would be terminated and liability limited. In September I completed application forms for insurance through my employer and subsequently discovered that my insurance had been backdated which meant that we were not able to cancel the insurance I had under my wife’s policy as they require 3 months notice to cancel or some such. This has meant that I have had double insurance.

When I went to the outpatient center for my port removing this became a problem as the Center told us that they couldn’t accept the insurance under my wife because that wasn’t my primary insurance and we couldn’t use my own insurance because the doctor wasn’t on my insurance. The consequence is that the surgery was cancelled, I still have my port and now we are concerned in case this revelation means that the insurance we had used will now be cancelled retrospectively and we will be billed for the cost of things such as my CT scan.

American health care is good, the NHS is good, the difference is that people in the UK don’t have to sorry about how they will pay for health care when they are ill, neither do they have to spend hours worrying about which policy to select by trying to predict a year in advance just what health care they might need in order to find a policy which will cover them if that happens without having to pay out a large proportion of their income to cover events which they consider to be unlikely.

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Almost two years ago…

I have a strange feeling tonight as it is almost exactly two years ago since I was waiting to go for a biopsy to confirm that I had cancer, and tonight I’m waiting to go for surgery tomorrow to have my port taken out. It’s a strange feeling because in those two years so much of my life has changed. Two years ago I was newly arrived in the U.S. and awaiting confirmation that I could become a resident – there’s a certain synchronicity here as I’m now awaiting confirmation that I may become a permanent resident, without a job whereas now I have been working since August, and a U.S. medical system virgin whereas now I have had a lot of experience of said medical system, in so many ways I am now a very different person to the one I was two years ago. It’s also strange because I have been waiting to update this blog for quite a few weeks, since I got the all clear on my last CT scan and knew the port would be coming out, the delay was caused because at the time I got the all clear I discovered that one of my blogging friends¬†http://keepthecalm.wordpress.com/¬†had died and, although I’d never met Jen in real life, I had derived a huge amount of support from her intelligent and insightful blogs: I found it difficult handling my own and my family’s feelings of joy at my news with my own sadness and the heartbreak which Jen’s family must have been feeling. That’s a conflict I haven’t yet truly come to terms with in my own mind, other than to accept that life goes on, but tomorrow, as I make my way into surgery, I will be thinking not only of Jen but of all the others, who unlike me, didn’t successfully make it to the far side of this disease. I’ll also be thinking of all those who supported me, not only my wife and family, but also the blogging community, friends, and, now, colleagues as well.

My wish for the New Year is that 2014 is the year in which those dedicated to destroying cancers will be successful on an unprecedented scale.

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