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Our 27th year of publishing

Published February 23, 2021

Stay healthy, America, because getting sick costs a lot

By John Toth / The Bulletin

A friend of mine who is retired and living in Mexico recently posted that he had to undergo a medical procedure, basically day surgery, and he went to a private clinic rather than the free public ones.

He commented that he received top-notch care.

“That set you back a small fortune, I’d bet,” I messaged him.

His total cost: the equivalent of $33.

He has posted before about the healthcare system there - never anything negative. He has used the public and private system, which coexist in the country.

I wrote recently that I had to go to urgent care on a Sunday because I had some symptoms that resembled those of COVID-19. I tested negative for COVID, but the nurse practitioner gave me a thorough exam.

A couple of weeks later the clinic sent me an invoice because they charged me the wrong co-pay amount. The pending total was $22. But in the notice, they also itemized the charges incurred by my short visit - more than $600.

A family member a year or so ago had to have surgery that kept him in the hospital overnight. He didn’t choose to get sick, obviously. Luckily, he had insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

The hospital bill was more than $70,000.

I recently became a proud grandfather again when our daughter gave birth to our grandson. She and her husband had to pay thousands of dollars in addition to what company insurance covered.

A nurse who recovered from COVID after an extensive hospital stay received a bill for her treatment that exceeded $100,000. She got COVID by caring for those who already had it.

When I bought a pretty lousy individual health insurance plan many years ago, the representative who sold it to me reminisced about all the nice places he had been on his company’s dime. I felt like I had just been hoodwinked.

A friend a while back mentioned that her healthcare insurance has a $10,000 deductible. That means that each year she pays $10,000 out of pocket before the insurance policy pays a dime. That’s like not having insurance.

I talked to a friend in the publishing business and mentioned that he is very talented and should strike out on his own. I would definitely sign on with him, and others would also.

But that paycheck every two weeks and health insurance through his employer was too much to walk away from. How many potential entrepreneurs have made the same decision?

There is something wrong with all this. There has to be another way.

I qualified for Medicare in December.

(John looks forward to hearing from you on this subject. Send me a note at john.bulletin@gmail.com. You can even send an old-fashioned letter to: The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516.)