So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
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Friday, October 28, 2016
Next Medical Sign-up
Pretty soon it'll be time to figure out what I'm going to do for medical coverage for the next year. That could be interesting.
First some background. I used to have medical insurance through my state retirement plan. It sucked. Even though the plan was subsidized by the state, my personal cost for individual insurance was $1000/month. That was a significant portion of my retirement income. There was no way to keep paying that and still eat.
Having become rather fond of eating over the years, I decided to let my insurance go. That's no small decision as once dropped, there is no way to get back on the state plan. For a couple years I went without insurance. During that time I had a few injuries. While gathering firewood I stuck a pickaroon in my leg. Later I broke a toe, and ripped the skin off my thumb in a fall. Also picked up my fair share of bumps and bruises.
The thumb was ugly, but I managed to keep it free from infection and it eventually healed perfectly. Doctors don't really do much for broken toes anyway so it was just something to live with. As for stabbing myself with a pickaroon; really should have gone to the hospital. If for nothing else than to get a tetanus shot. Eventually the leg healed, leaving an interesting scar.
When the Affordable Care Act was passed I almost did not get insurance. My income is just high enough to disqualify me for subsidies. At the last minute a new company came into the state, allowing me to purchase insurance for $350/month. With strong family encouragement I signed up. Last year my cost jumped to $400/month. During that time I used the insurance exactly once: for a checkup.
Early indications are that my insurance is going to jump up again -and maybe by a lot. Should that happen I'm very tempted to let it go. As it is, every month the money paid for insurance I don't use is bothering me. Last year was pretty expensive and I incurred more debt that I'm comfortable with. It's getting paid down, but ever so slowly.
It would be s a risk to get without insurance again. My life is active and accidents happen. I'm also 58 and fat. On the plus side, I did get a clean bill of health at the doctor's visit. While there they gave me a tetanus shot, so that's finally up to date.
Now some would think I could maybe hope to cruise along until I got old enough for Medicare. The problem is I'm not in the system. As a firefighter in a state retirement system we did not have pay into Social Security nor did we pay into Medicare. No hope for me there.
So what am I going to do? Accept my own mortality? Well, there's that. Emergency rooms will have to treat me if I show up at their door. That's fine in an emergency, but they won't give care for chronic conditions.
Medical expenses could bankrupt me, but I'm not all that afraid of that happening. My parents had good health insurance but medical expenses eventually caused them to file bankruptcy. Even good insurance won't save you from co-pays, travel costs, and other out of pocket expenses. They add up. The insurance I've been able to afford hasn't been nearly as good as the plan my parents' had. If I get really sick or injured, I'm financially ruined anyway.
Next month I'm going to figure out what to do. As for now I'm working on losing some weight and getting more exercise. That probably will do more for me in the long run than buying medical insurance.
Currently we have the worse of Capitalism and the worse of Socialism. If our medical system was truly open market there would be real competition to reduce costs. If it was fully socialized the government would pay for it.
Maybe I'll have to sneak across the border and pretend to be Canadian.
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.