Thursday, July 16, 2009

Domestic Dangers: Tips for Living Without Health Insurance.

I pulled the cat from the tree, and on my way back down the dirty, wobbly ladder my mother warned me, “Be careful, you don’t have health insurance.”

“So I’m the one who goes up?”

“Well your dad is too chicken.”

I have video evidence (Warning, there be profanity here):

If you watched the video you will have noticed that my speech was rich with profanity, a positive cornucopia of cursing. I’m afraid of heights.

But that’s not the point. My point is that if the ladder had fallen, maybe with the cat clawing to my head for dear, precious life, followed by a sudden, sickening thud of my body making contact with earth, I would have no response for the doctor or nurse when they asked, “So how will you be paying new sternum and cat claw removal today?” Alas, I am one of the 40 million uninsured in America.

I have a job at a small web design firm, and my boss can’t afford to pay for health insurance for her employees. On my current salary I cannot hope to pay college loans and support a $500 a month Health Care habit. I am eligible for no government program that yet exists.

But that’s not my point. My point is that there are tips out there for people like you and me; or if you have scored a sweet gig with health benefits, here’s a list to guffaw about over a good Chablis.

Lucy from Associated Content ( has a few hints to care free living (ha ha. Get it?) Lucy says:

1. Open a savings account devoted solely to health emergencies.

2. Purchase a health care discount card. There are companies that offer a card for a monthly fee that will give you access to discounted rates with participating physicians. “Medilinq, Alliance Health Card, and United Consumers Association are a few.

3. Some doctors or dentists will consider a payment plan if you afford pay the entire amount.

4. If you have a real emergency, GO TO THE ER. There is a Federal law that prohibits hospitals that participate in Medicare -- which is most of them -- from turning away patients who be broke. But you must be really, very broken for them to fix you.

Alternatively, you may better identify with the I don’t need no stinkin’ government crowd, Lila from the anti-state website offers this advice that will let you “stand up to the big lie of modern life – that people need the government to survive.”

1. Inform yourself.
Buy yourself a small textbook of anatomy and physiology and learn how your body works. Make sure you know where all of the organs are.
Learn the basic chemistry and physics behind vital processes like oxygenation, PH balance, and osmosis.
Buy a hand-book of first-aid and learn how to perform simple first-aid measures, like applying a tourniquet, or dislodging a bone from the throat.

2. Explore Alternative Health Sources

This includes ancient Indian medicine, Chinese medicine, and American Folk medicine (Moonshine, ya’ll)

3. Eat Nutritious food. (I once knew a man who could live on lentils alone, and he liked it.)

4. Exercise. (Go on a hike, take up jogging, join a fringe militia.)

5. Keep Positive. (Who needs all ten of those things anyway?)

As always, to your health Gentlemen.


Jstone said...

My advice:

Get married and split the cost of health care. The cost of two people on health care is way less than twice the cost of one person. Its just like renting an apartment, the more rooms the higher the rent yes but the more the rent gets split.
It is one of the many non-government sponsored benefits of getting married. Plus you pay less in taxes which is also nice.

Ozkirbas said...

Props for using the word "cornucopia"

Matt Lindeboom said...

I had to fit it in somewhere.

@JStone - Good point. The marriage market may be on much better footing than the job market. It could be like a new form of health care buddy system.

Dennis said...

"4. If you have a real emergency, GO TO THE ER. There is a Federal law that prohibits hospitals that participate in Medicare -- which is most of them -- from turning away patients who be broke. But you must be really, very broken for them to fix you."

You don't have to be that broken. I know people who take their kids to the ER every time they get a cold. A hospital that receives any federal funding (over 85% of hospitals) CANNOT turn anyone away from the emergency room who needs help.

That being said you're not going to get kept in the hospital for a week and looked over, you're going to get stabilized, given some drugs, and sent on your way. But hey, it's free.

Matt Lindeboom said...

Dennis, very true. But isn't this "free" care part of what is helping justify sky rocketing prices in health care? I'm sure it's not nearly as giant a piece of the problem as it's made out to be, but it certainly contributes.

Dennis said...

Yeah, it absolutely is a factor contributing to the problem of health care costs in the U.S. My point was that it's made to sound like these 40-50 million Americans who are uninsured are in some destitute position. They have health care. It's not as complete as someone who has insurance, but if they call an ambulance, they get picked up and taken care of, just like anyone else.

That being said, the system does need to change. It just can't keep going on how it is. Your tips are sound, and good advice for people with and without health insurance.

B.Graham said...

What about that other other group of us, the painfully underinsured? (Example: I pay about $150/month to get almost no benefits but can't afford to drop it altogether because of my bum knee.) I feel like the reform and change will/can affect us the most. But in the meantime?

Matt Lindeboom said...

Believe absolutely in your invincibility, I suppose. Maybe the Universe will agree with you until reform comes through.

But the next question. When Obama's reform does come through, will we be writing a check that we can't afford? Or is the federal deficit apocalypse talk scare tactics?

Another post for another day mayhaps.

Damo said...

Hold on to your seats: DAMO RANT!

Not sure if I'm the man for the "federal budge deficit apocalypse" post but I have my inclinations.

When (not if) the economy crashes (because money has lost its value/meaning) it's gonna be one scary ass time. But at that time (maybe sooner, maybe later) we'll have the unique opportunity, as a society, to revalue, to redefine, money. In that moment we decide how we move forward as a civilization.

The only thing I know for sure is that our debt-based economy is insane on its face. We(?) created a system wherein we'll always owe more than we can possibly make, and there is no incentive for conservation/efficiency because the game is all about maximizing profits, which are measured not in lives saved/improved or societal goals achieved, but in the amoral amassing of an artificially regulated proxy currency. Companies are digging up whatever they need and shitting on the rest in a mad dash to commoditize the planet and sell it to each other.

Then a portion of the profits is spent clogging our democratic channels to ensure status quo, or as close to it as possible in this spin-happy world. 2 Quick examples: Big Oil and Agro-business, they make BILLIONS UPON BILLIONS of dollars a year, fight tooth and nail against regulation while shitting on our natural resources (just look at the Chesapeake Bay, thanks Purdue!). This is one reason why I've come to realize I'm a social libertarian, but not a fiscal one. I could actually weave a narrative that fits my thoughts into libertarianism but that is DEFINITELY a post on its own.


Matt Lindeboom said...

Some of our finest posts have been comments. I find your revaluing idea interesting. And the fact that our system is set up so that we are in indefinitely in debt boggled my mind when I found out.

Those anti-state people I quoted aren't looking too bad now-a-days, at least in their advice about investing in survival manuals.

Damo said...

When I read your response I realized that most of MY best stuff is in the comments section, in response to ideas and discussions others have started. After I came to grips with that my brain went directly to this... seriously:

Mattneto: Quite a talent you have there, Damo.

Damo: I can only manipulate the fire [flame disappears into Damo's mind]

Damo: I can't create it.

Mattneto: You are a god among insects. Never let anyone tell you different.

Needless to say I have a vivid imagination.

Jason Heat said...

X2 was so good

David Pratt said...

Matt -

For a more detailed view on how our system came to be the way it is and why, check out this brilliant video entitled "Money as Debt."

Matt Lindeboom said...

Ah, thank you. Have you seen Zeitgeist? It's a conspiracy romp documentary about all sorts of things, but this debt situation is a whole section of it. Pretty interesting stuff. Linkage: