Thread: How many people in this country buy health insurance?

SantaCruzBluz - 9/18/2009 at 05:54 PM

I have a problem with the number that is being bandied about by the right, that 30 million people don't have health insurance. The other number in play is 47 million, and supposedly the difference is illegal immigrants, and those who don't want insurance.

I don't believe for a minute these numbers are real. I've been working in construction my whole life, and basically associating with folks who are working-class, blue-collar people. Most of them don't have college educations. Many, many men in America don't have insurance provided by their employer. In the construction industry, it has always been known that a valuable asset to have is a wife with a steady job with good benefits. Even if it didn't pay much, the benefits were what you were after.

I'm guessing these numbers count as "insured" all the elderly who are on Medicare, veterans who get health care through the VA, the very poor, who are covered by Medicaid, and all the children included in the federal plan to provide them coverage.

Then there are all those who have insurance provided as part of their compensation package at work. That doesn't leave many people who pay their insurance premiums out of their pocket every month. Those premiums are just too high to pay for with the average working-class paycheck. That encourages people to stay on welfare, because at least their kids have insurance. If you get a job that pays well enough to buy insurance, you probably get some benefits with the job, too, including insurance. Maybe one of the reasons that premiums, and profits, are so high for the insurance industry. Very few individuals actually pay for their products.

I wonder how many people who post here have insurance provided by their employer, how many buy their own, how many are on a government-run program, and how many are like me, and don't give have health insurance. Anyone care to weigh in?


BIGV - 9/18/2009 at 05:56 PM

I pay for mine.

Every 2 months.

Blue Cross.


heineken515 - 9/18/2009 at 06:02 PM

SCB, through some of your other posts I know you are anti corporate...but your remarks :

"Then there are all those who have insurance provided as part of their compensation package at work. That doesn't leave many people who pay their insurance premiums out of their pocket every month."

Uh, the people at a corporation who get insurance through some sort of package that is part of their compensation is ONLY at the top, the CEO and a few under that position....the vast majority of others that work at a corporation PAY.

Granted a corporation can negotiate a good group rate, but trust me...the employees PAY.


SantaCruzBluz - 9/18/2009 at 06:03 PM

I don't really know much about Blue Cross. Aren't they non-profit?

Btw, do you think the average working class man, making less than $20 an hour in California, for example, could afford your policy and not find it burdensome?


SantaCruzBluz - 9/18/2009 at 06:06 PM

quote:
SCB, through some of your other posts I know you are anti corporate...but your remarks :

"Then there are all those who have insurance provided as part of their compensation package at work. That doesn't leave many people who pay their insurance premiums out of their pocket every month."

Uh, the people at a corporation who get insurance through some sort of package that is part of their compensation is ONLY at the top, the CEO and a few under that position....the vast majority of others that work at a corporation PAY.

Granted a corporation can negotiate a good group rate, but trust me...the employees PAY.


Enlighten me. How do they pay? I thought when you had insurance provided by your employer, they pay the premiums. Do you pay part of them? Do you write a check to an insurance company?


SantaCruzBluz - 9/18/2009 at 06:12 PM

Thanks, John. I thought that's the way it is for many people. Many of you might be surprised to know that almost no one in construction has insurance through their employer, unless they work for a big company. Most jobs are temporary, anyway, until the job is over. Let a couple of months with no work go by, and you are going to lose all the money you already paid into a plan when you can't afford to keep it up.


SantaCruzBluz - 9/18/2009 at 06:15 PM

quote:
quote:
quote:
SCB, through some of your other posts I know you are anti corporate...but your remarks :

"Then there are all those who have insurance provided as part of their compensation package at work. That doesn't leave many people who pay their insurance premiums out of their pocket every month."

Uh, the people at a corporation who get insurance through some sort of package that is part of their compensation is ONLY at the top, the CEO and a few under that position....the vast majority of others that work at a corporation PAY.

Granted a corporation can negotiate a good group rate, but trust me...the employees PAY.


Enlighten me. How do they pay? I thought when you had insurance provided by your employer, they pay the premiums. Do you pay part of them? Do you write a check to an insurance company?

I think what he means is, if it costs your employer $200/mo to pay your insurance premium, that's $2400 a year that might have otherwise ended up in your paycheck.


Would it? Every job that I've had that included insurance still paid about what the prevailing wage in the area did. If they had not offered insurance, i don't think they would have offered more money on the check. They offered the insurance to try to keep loyal employees who would otherwise leave for a few dollars an hour more. And because they already had good employees they wanted to keep, and help them and their families.


heineken515 - 9/18/2009 at 06:15 PM

quote:
Enlighten me. How do they pay? I thought when you had insurance provided by your employer, they pay the premiums. Do you pay part of them? Do you write a check to an insurance company?


My company, negotiates a group rate and then pays a portion of my premium, not exactly sure how much they pay....but I have my part of the premium taken out of my check, which is not cheap, coverage for me and my two boys with a Blue Cross HMO.


Bhawk - 9/18/2009 at 06:16 PM

My wife and I both work in a hospital. A portion does come out in payroll deductions but the hospital has a supplemental plan where if you get treatment/have your doc here there are no copays.


Bhawk - 9/18/2009 at 06:16 PM

Oh, and SCB, check yer PMs.


SantaCruzBluz - 9/18/2009 at 06:19 PM

Thanks, Bhawk. I checked it yesterday and for got to go back and reply.


jehmutt - 9/18/2009 at 06:21 PM

I have Blue Cross Personal Choice through my employer, my cost is $40/wk pre-tax. Also, deductibles for office visits/prescriptions have gone up, holding steady the last couple of years.


Sang - 9/18/2009 at 06:21 PM

My place has a smorgasboard - you can opt out, take a couple different PPO options, or use an HMO. I pay a good chunk of change to have the best PPO plan with family coverage. Since my wife works at a company that offers insurance, I have to pay $1000 for her to be covered by mine. Mine is Blue Cross/Blue Shield. There are different plans for dental and eyecare. There is also a plan for people with ongoing problems - asthma, etc - I think it is called Managed Care. There is also a different card for prescriptions.

The costs keep going up, but you have options and they do provide good coverage.

[Edited on 9/18/2009 by Sang]


heineken515 - 9/18/2009 at 06:23 PM

BTW SCB, I thought at first you were going to dissect the number of uninsured being thrown around, which I attempted to do in this thread, didn't really get anywhere:

http://www.allmanbrothersband.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=XForum&am p;file=viewthread&tid=97177#pid2261407


lolasdeb - 9/18/2009 at 06:26 PM

Insured through employer program. The corporation I work for offers a variety of different choices (believe there are 4-5 possibilities) at different price points for health insurance. They pay a portion of the premium, I pay a portion and everytime I feel like complaining about the costs I try to remember what it can cost somebody to purchase health insurance on an individual basis in this country - I've heard figures like $300+ per month - and I feel pretty lucky for what I have because it only costs me a fraction of that. Just picked up 4 perscriptions - my cost at the pharmacy $0.00. I have heard from some folks recently who are insured through programs in their work places that their health insurance took a dive this past year in terms of quality and scope of coverage. I think this is one area in which employers try to recoup costs when times are tough. Which sucks since it is also one thing that is included when presenting an employee with their total compensation package figures so cutting their insurance basically amounts to cutting their pay but not calling it that.


SantaCruzBluz - 9/18/2009 at 06:28 PM

If someone wants to do the research to dissect the numbers, that's fine with me.

I was hoping someone would have some info, not just conduct a poll.



[Edited on 9/18/2009 by SantaCruzBluz]


SantaCruzBluz - 9/18/2009 at 06:47 PM

quote:
87% of Employers to Reduce Benefits if Health Care Reform Increases Costs

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/terry-trippany/2009/09/17/87-employers-reduce- benefits-if-health-care-reform-increases-costs


I don't blame them. They know most of the money they pay out isn't going to health care. It's going to fund all kinds of things insurance companies spend money on. Why is your health care something your employer should be involved in , anyway?

[Edited on 9/18/2009 by SantaCruzBluz]


bigann - 9/18/2009 at 07:22 PM

Up until 2002 Johnny nor I had insurance and neither did our children. Fortunately since then Johnny has had insurance and I got coverage in 2005 however it's only been recently that one of our daughters got coverage and our granddaughter, grandson-in-law and their baby remain uninsured. It's been a heck of a rough ride for a long time which gives me empathy for those who don't have coverage. I don't know the exact number for those in this country who are uninsured, but even one million is too many.


RBK - 9/18/2009 at 07:44 PM

I've done it both ways. I've paid nearly a grand a month for a healthy family of four and had it cover virtually nothing short of catastrophic situations. Don't tell me Republicans don't want health-care reform, they absolutely do. They just don't want BarryO's socialist powergrab and BarryO doesn't want Republican input, his lip service notwithstanding.

Consequently, I've also had employer provided insurance and, unlike many who believe it to be an entitlement, a perk or extra, I've always been cognizant of the fact that health insurance is a portion of one's compensation.


jamminpappy - 9/18/2009 at 07:51 PM

quote:
quote:
SCB, through some of your other posts I know you are anti corporate...but your remarks :

"Then there are all those who have insurance provided as part of their compensation package at work. That doesn't leave many people who pay their insurance premiums out of their pocket every month."

Uh, the people at a corporation who get insurance through some sort of package that is part of their compensation is ONLY at the top, the CEO and a few under that position....the vast majority of others that work at a corporation PAY.

Granted a corporation can negotiate a good group rate, but trust me...the employees PAY.


I worked for a large corporation and was only a foot soldier and I have had health insurance from my employer since day 1 and into my retirement. I have never paid a dime.

This does bring up and interesting point about profits and waste. My wife is covered on my heath insurance. She also gets free health insurance from her employer, a hospital. I am covered on her insurance. Now we both have full coverage plans and we only need one plan. One insuance company is collecting from her employer and will probably never pay a dime for anything.


Before I retired my wife and I were both covered for dental by Delta DEnta provided as part of our compensation package through work. My company paid premiums for me and my dependants as did hers. My coverage porvided for two cleanings a year as did hers . Essentially paying for 4 cleanings but we were only allowed to use two. The insurance company recieved payments for 4 only allowing two making a profit off of one of our employers.


gina - 9/18/2009 at 10:16 PM

quote:
I don't really know much about Blue Cross. Aren't they non-profit?

Btw, do you think the average working class man, making less than $20 an hour in California, for example, could afford your policy and not find it burdensome?


When you cannot afford insurance, save what money you can and just go to the Dr. (like a Doc in the box type Dr.) when you have at least 3 things wrong. Most doc in the boxes will give you fee samples since they know you can't afford the prescriptions. I've done that in between insurances.


bigann - 9/18/2009 at 10:27 PM

Little known information. If you don't have money to go to a hospital, ask for patient services and request the form for financial assistance. You can do that once a year and they'll pick up your cost of treatment at the hospital. At least they used to.

Also, as Gina said, your doctor will either give you samples or you can contact the drug companies direct for free medications. I haven't found anything for dental care, but there are some avenues to explore for health care when you can't afford private insurance and make too much money to qualify for medicaid.


Capn - 9/18/2009 at 10:37 PM

quote:
My wife and I both work in a hospital. A portion does come out in payroll deductions but the hospital has a supplemental plan where if you get treatment/have your doc here there are no copays.


I am willing to wager, that the same hospital also employs "per Diem" and pays a higher hourly wage, without providing "benefits"

hence those of you who get benefits actually "pay" with a lower wage


Gregallmanfan - 9/18/2009 at 11:25 PM

We have the smorgasbord at work, choices with various employee contribution and copay options, as well as HMO's etc. It costs me a decent amount of each check to cover me and the kids, plus $20 copays and any brand name prescription is $45/30 day supply copay. Generics are less.


dutchoneill - 9/19/2009 at 12:13 AM

I'm a retiree of a major Telecommunications company and I "buy" my family insurance...at a retirre rate mind you. Don't know how long it will last.

My wife works for one of the Big 4 Full Service Firms and she has the option to buy.. higher rate than I pay, but it is an option of us.

Maybe the other side of the coin is, how many people don't buy because they are willing to roll the dice, being young and not feeling they want insurance.

Maybe its a right(to some) and maybe some folks decide they don't want it.


Swifty - 9/19/2009 at 03:45 PM

I'm covered by BCBS and it's part of my wife's plan as I'm self-employed. It's a good plan.


OriginalGoober - 9/20/2009 at 01:23 AM

quote:
quote:
SCB, through some of your other posts I know you are anti corporate...but your remarks :

"Then there are all those who have insurance provided as part of their compensation package at work. That doesn't leave many people who pay their insurance premiums out of their pocket every month."

Uh, the people at a corporation who get insurance through some sort of package that is part of their compensation is ONLY at the top, the CEO and a few under that position....the vast majority of others that work at a corporation PAY.

Granted a corporation can negotiate a good group rate, but trust me...the employees PAY.


I worked for a large corporation and was only a foot soldier and I have had health insurance from my employer since day 1 and into my retirement. I have never paid a dime.

This does bring up and interesting point about profits and waste. My wife is covered on my heath insurance. She also gets free health insurance from her employer, a hospital. I am covered on her insurance. Now we both have full coverage plans and we only need one plan. One insuance company is collecting from her employer and will probably never pay a dime for anything.


you probably get a pension too? as I get older, I can't help but think people your age really enjoyed the best of what America had to offer.


mbtogo4 - 9/20/2009 at 01:42 AM

quote:
I have a problem with the number that is being bandied about by the right, that 30 million people don't have health insurance. The other number in play is 47 million, and supposedly the difference is illegal immigrants, and those who don't want insurance.

I don't believe for a minute these numbers are real. I've been working in construction my whole life, and basically associating with folks who are working-class, blue-collar people. Most of them don't have college educations. Many, many men in America don't have insurance provided by their employer. In the construction industry, it has always been known that a valuable asset to have is a wife with a steady job with good benefits. Even if it didn't pay much, the benefits were what you were after.

I'm guessing these numbers count as "insured" all the elderly who are on Medicare, veterans who get health care through the VA, the very poor, who are covered by Medicaid, and all the children included in the federal plan to provide them coverage.

Then there are all those who have insurance provided as part of their compensation package at work. That doesn't leave many people who pay their insurance premiums out of their pocket every month. Those premiums are just too high to pay for with the average working-class paycheck. That encourages people to stay on welfare, because at least their kids have insurance. If you get a job that pays well enough to buy insurance, you probably get some benefits with the job, too, including insurance. Maybe one of the reasons that premiums, and profits, are so high for the insurance industry. Very few individuals actually pay for their products.

I wonder how many people who post here have insurance provided by their employer, how many buy their own, how many are on a government-run program, and how many are like me, and don't give have health insurance. Anyone care to weigh in?




I think prison and welfare cover the rest.


musichick3 - 9/20/2009 at 02:35 AM

We have several choices where I work, but all of them cost the employee. On my paycheck, it shows what my contribution to the premium and what my employer's share is. For a family HMO plan (which is the least expensive and covers more out of pocket costs than the PPOs do) I pay $300 a month. My employer's share is about $700 a month for the plan I have. That's $1000 paid each month for my insurance plan!
My HMO plan is through Blue Cross/Blue Shield. I have $20 copay for office visits, and pay up to $25 for 30 day supply prescriptions, w/generics costing less.
I have friends who have the PPO plan, which they pay about $100/month more than I do, yet they are required to pay a deductible before anything is covered and then pay 80% after that, but can't go over the yearly maximum. Strange thing is that we all use the same doctors and hospitals...I can't figure out why anyone would choose that plan, but most people do because they think they have "better" care and more choice.
It's insane! lol
Also, BC/BS isn't non-profit, as far as I know. And they require pre-certification and approval (By a board of people who decide whether or not to cover your procedure/medication/test) for any tests or surgeries your doctor (you know, the one who has a degree in MEDICINE) says you need to have. I've been turned down before for a doctor prescribed medication and had to wait about 3 years to have a surgery my doctor said I would eventually need.
I think I'd rather take my chances with Socialized Health Care

Right now, my son isn't covered (he aged out) and called me to see if he should go to a doctor or not. He hurt is arm, but he really can't afford to go to the doctor. I told him to take Ibuprofen and see if it improved first so he doesn't waste his money by going to a doctor, pay around $75 for the visit, only to have the doctor to write him a prescription for Ibuprofen and will tell him to come back if it doesn't improve. If he went the hospital emergency room route, which many people do, that same scenario would cost around $250-300. It's such a scam! (And I can say that because I was employed in the medical field and have witnessed this over and over) ER doctors have to cover their arses by doing all sorts of tests/x-rays/CT scans/MRI's in case they miss something and someone ends up trying to sue them for misdiagnosing them) IT's a sad state of affairs, our healthcare is in this country.


alloak41 - 9/20/2009 at 03:03 AM

Don't have it. The policy offered by my employer covers only basic services, which I can afford to pay for. What I need is a more catastrophic-type policy, which they don't offer.


Slimzimm - 9/20/2009 at 05:22 AM

Healthcare Insurance is a cluster ***k if you really try to wrap your mind around it IMHO. I assume the majority of folks don't dig too deep into it. I don't, except for educating myself recently due to the proposed healthcare reform. I've been covered my entire life. My family has always had coverage. I've been raised with the mindset that it's a big taboo to be without health coverage. It's insurance, without it your gambling something catastrophic won't happen to you. I pay for something that gives me some peace of mind that I won't lose my house or go bankrupt if something terrible happens. That sucks. I know a few people that would like to retire before age 60, the only thing holding them back is the cost of health insurance if they quit working and retired.

Getting back to the subject, when my son turned 21, I took out a BC/BS health and dental Ins. for him at $125 a month. Not bad. I had done the same for my oldest son until he graduated from school and got on with a decent sized employer (900 employees) that offered health Ins. I cancelled his health Ins. also thru BC/BS thinking that he could get a better deal thru his employer that would have leverage to negotiate for group Ins.
Wrong, his premium from his prior private plan was just about the same as his employer, but the 2-meds he had been taking for $60/month jumped to $400/month under his employer's group high deductible HSA plan. Plus a doctor visit on the prior private plan would cost about $20 versus whatever $80-$120 under the employer's plan. I'm also simplifying a few things here but that's basically what it amounted to. So SHOP around and try to figure out the differences on the PPO - HSA- HMO and private, whatever is being offered.


SantaCruzBluz - 9/20/2009 at 03:33 PM

The insurance companies have us all by the balls.

Sue, that $1000 a month you and your employer are paying wouldn't be so bad if it was going into some kind of a fund to help finance YOUR medical needs. But it isn't. You could pay that $1000 a month for 40 years, and never go to the doctor a single time, and that money is pure profit for the insurance company. Then you could lose your job, and your coverage, and get sick a month later, and all that money you already spent won't get you an aspirin.

If this whole debate doesn't do anything else, at least the people in this country are starting to examine what a rip-off insurance companies are, and how they control health care in this country. And it exposes all those people too ignorant to find out what is really going on, and just do what glen Beck tells them to do.

Working in construction, I haven't had insurance through my employer but a few times, for short periods. I carried a policy on my son when he was living with me after his mother and I divorced. But it is way too damn expensive for a working class person to afford. 25 years ago it cost nearly $400 to cover my family.

But I learned something a long time ago. When an insurance company sells you any kind of policy, the odds are they aren't going to have to pay out as much as you pay in. They are willing to gamble that you will stay well, or not have a wreck, or drop the life insurance before you die, because statistics say they aren't. I decided to take the gamble, and not spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars every month because I was afraid something might happen. As it is, I've done pretty well. I very seldom get sick, and then it is just a cold or the flu.

But I'm 54 now, and I haven't had a check up of any kind in forever. I could have cancer right now and not know it. If I went to work for a company that offered me insurance, I'd probably take it. But I'd much rather see a system like Obama is trying to set up. I'd be more than happy to see some of the tax dollars I've paid in over the years go towards treating any illnesses I might have, and future tax dollars, too.


goldtop - 9/20/2009 at 04:20 PM

quote:
The insurance companies have us all by the balls.

Sue, that $1000 a month you and your employer are paying wouldn't be so bad if it was going into some kind of a fund to help finance YOUR medical needs. But it isn't. You could pay that $1000 a month for 40 years, and never go to the doctor a single time, and that money is pure profit for the insurance company. Then you could lose your job, and your coverage, and get sick a month later, and all that money you already spent won't get you an aspirin.

If this whole debate doesn't do anything else, at least the people in this country are starting to examine what a rip-off insurance companies are, and how they control health care in this country. And it exposes all those people too ignorant to find out what is really going on, and just do what glen Beck tells them to do.

Working in construction, I haven't had insurance through my employer but a few times, for short periods. I carried a policy on my son when he was living with me after his mother and I divorced. But it is way too damn expensive for a working class person to afford. 25 years ago it cost nearly $400 to cover my family.

But I learned something a long time ago. When an insurance company sells you any kind of policy, the odds are they aren't going to have to pay out as much as you pay in. They are willing to gamble that you will stay well, or not have a wreck, or drop the life insurance before you die, because statistics say they aren't. I decided to take the gamble, and not spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars every month because I was afraid something might happen. As it is, I've done pretty well. I very seldom get sick, and then it is just a cold or the flu.

But I'm 54 now, and I haven't had a check up of any kind in forever. I could have cancer right now and not know it. If I went to work for a company that offered me insurance, I'd probably take it. But I'd much rather see a system like Obama is trying to set up. I'd be more than happy to see some of the tax dollars I've paid in over the years go towards treating any illnesses I might have, and future tax dollars, too.


Medical Insurance Companies are equivalent to "NO Show Jobs" in the mob...we pay them to do nothing and then we have a bunch of right wingers defending getting screwed...It's amazing how people don't truly understand how the system works and how there is a middle doing nothing and taking your money...Why would anyone defend that system other than the one who making the buck for doing nothing


SantaCruzBluz - 9/20/2009 at 04:23 PM

I think people are generally afraid of change of any kind.


Gregallmanfan - 9/20/2009 at 06:22 PM

Allen I'm glad that you're 54 and never had a serious medical problem, but that's what health insurance is for. Like auto, many of us go our whole lives without a wreck (I've never had one that cost more than $1,500 to fix the car), but it's there in case you're unlucky enough to be the one with a disaster.

Insurance spreads the risk. The insurance COMPANY spreads the risk. So out of 100 of us, maybe 80 are perfectly healthy, 10 have moderate health issues and 10 of us get really ill. But who knows which group they're in. You're in the 80, my son with his allergies is in the 10 with moderate issues. Frequent doctor visits, lots of scrip and 2-5 hospital visits a year for one thing or another. His best friend's father has kidney disease - dialysis, transplant, treatment etc...BIG BILLS.

But it's a crapshoot what you get and the insurance companies cover that. It's not fair to say they add no value at all.


goldtop - 9/20/2009 at 07:26 PM

quote:
Allen I'm glad that you're 54 and never had a serious medical problem, but that's what health insurance is for. Like auto, many of us go our whole lives without a wreck (I've never had one that cost more than $1,500 to fix the car), but it's there in case you're unlucky enough to be the one with a disaster.

Insurance spreads the risk. The insurance COMPANY spreads the risk. So out of 100 of us, maybe 80 are perfectly healthy, 10 have moderate health issues and 10 of us get really ill. But who knows which group they're in. You're in the 80, my son with his allergies is in the 10 with moderate issues. Frequent doctor visits, lots of scrip and 2-5 hospital visits a year for one thing or another. His best friend's father has kidney disease - dialysis, transplant, treatment etc...BIG BILLS.

But it's a crapshoot what you get and the insurance companies cover that. It's not fair to say they add no value at all.


All of this could be covered under a public funded system where profit is not the goal. I really find it ethically and morally bankrupt to make a profit off of other illnesses. Doctors and their support people don't make a profit they get paid for a service they provide. If we want a for profit system why can't we make the investment, pay for our coverage and we make the dividend if there are profits at the end of a quarter. Why does there need to be the middle man...It's very broken system and I don't see how anyone can defend it


Rydethwind - 9/21/2009 at 02:06 PM

Wife and I get full coverage through her employer (a hospital) it is not cheap but it is good our part is around 400.00 per month and her employers pays about the same, but it is full coverage , eye glasses ,dental etc etc ..


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