I’m yet to see the movie Sicko, and although I’d like to I am somewhat fearful as to how depressingly relatable it’ll be..
I’ve been to the doctors twice since I’ve been here. Both all of ten minute consultations, if that. I figured that since I was already paying $1,400 a year for the privilege of medical insurance, I might as well get my money’s worth.
Then I got a bill. And another one. And another one.
So suddenly, I apparently owe a tad over $300 dollars (yes, I know, the cost here is criminal). When I rang the doctors and asked why they hadn’t billed my insurance, they responded “oh, we did, but they just put it towards your deductible”. Ohhhhhhh, okay… they put it towards my deductible. That must be like, saving up for special rewards and stuff.
Oh, wait, no… it’s that thing where they make me pay $750 of my medical expenses before they’ll cough up a single cent. Ah, “deductible” must mean “deducted right from your bank account, or, failing that, taken in blood”. So, given I’m already paying over $1,400 just to have my identify available for theft from them, in quite a shockingly depressing nutshell I have to pay roughly $2,200US every year before my insurance company pays one, single, cent...
So, of course, I might break 39 bones and require a transplant of all my internal organs within the next 10 months, sure… but, odds are, I won’t. In fact, I’d be surprised if my general medical expenses for my entire life thus far add up to $2,200US… (well, actually I remember a certain bastard specialist that charged something like $160 for a six minute consultation… but that’s the exception, not the rule, in Australia)
So, really, it would actually be cheaper – no joke – for me to up and fly to Australia, see a GP for all of $50, if that, and fly home.
I don’t need to see the movie, I’m living my own. When it’s cheaper to fly to literally the other side of the planet just for a GP visit, you know there is something seriously #%@! wrong.
[addendum: it’s true that I could have opted for a plan that has no deductible, yes. But that’s about $700 more. And while you don’t have a deductible, you then have to pay a percentage of your costs for each consultation – called a “copay”, which typically amounts to $15-$25 per GP visit…. so, if I’d chosen that plan I’d save $50 – ($20 x numberOfVisits)… = $10, thus far… yes, clearly a fantastic-value proposition]