Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Addicted to Health Insurance

Your lights are on, but you're not home
Your mind is not your own
Your heart sweats, your body shakes
Another hit is what it takes
You can't sleep, you can't eat
There's no doubt, you're in deep
Your throat is tight, you can't breathe
Another hit is all you need

You might as well face it you’re addicted to health insurance
You might as well face it you’re addicted to health insurance

With apologies to the late Robert Palmer, that is not the way the song is supposed to be but it seemed to be a nice fit none the less.

We, as a nation, seem to be addicted to health insurance. If our employer doesn’t provide it, we go without. Even if our employer pays for it, if they don’t pay substantially all of the premium we opt out.

Employers have created an environment where, if it is not covered by insurance, the individual feels no obligation to pay for the medical service. I was reminded of this while reading an article in Parade magazine this last weekend.

The article begins . . .

Vaccination over the years has reduced the incidence of and deaths from measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, polio, smallpox, hepatitis B and many other diseases by more than 95%.

As one who is old enough to remember polio shots and the “new” oral vaccine it seems we have become a nation of people who have forgotten our past. Children in the last 20 years or so have been through a series of immunizations not only for polio, but DPT and MMR.

There were no vaccines for measles, mumps & rubella when I was small. I remember having all three (not at the same time) and it was no fun.

Now we have new illnesses to consider. Something called rotavirus is lurking and waiting to strike.

Worldwide, rotavirus is responsible for 500,000 deaths annually. In the U.S., 55,000 children are hospitalized with this infection every year, and 60 die from it.

Those are scary numbers, but fortunately there is hope.

There is a new oral vaccine (live but weakened) that appears to be safe, although some doctors remain wary of it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that all children receive three doses of this vaccine—the first at 2 months of age, the second at 4 months and the last at 6 months.

So what is the downside?

Unfortunately, it’s expected to cost nearly $200 and may not be covered by all insurance plans.

Let me see if I have this straight.

Some 500,000 people die each year from rotavirus. In the U.S. alone there are 55,000 children hospitalized and 60 will die from the disease.

But the good news is a $200 vaccine can potentially prevent your child from getting the disease.

The bad news is, health insurance may not pay for it.

Health insurance may not pay for a $200 vaccine that can keep my child healthy and maybe even save their life.

The article seems to imply this. If your health insurance doesn’t cover the vaccination some people may decide to skip it. That is lunacy.

You might as well face it, we’re addicted to health insurance.
blog comments powered by Disqus