Sunday, March 30, 2008

Tonight's Jackpot: Health Insurance

Oregon's Healthcare Lottery

Oregon has come up with a new way to handle the health care problem in their state. They're giving away 10,000 spaces in the state's health care plan. The catch? You only have a 1 in 9 chance of being chosen in the lottery - only 10,000 of the 90,000 who applied are going to be randomly chosen.

I must say I really feel for those without health insurance - mainly because only a month ago I was one of them. In Thailand I didn't need health insurance because they had such a great health care system. They had state of the art facilities and Western-educated doctors, all at an affordable price. Medicine was cheap too. When I needed antibiotics, they were less than $1 without health insurance. I must admit that part of me was scared to come back to the States because I knew I didn't have health care.

I went for months without health care because I was only working part-time. I always felt like I was gambling by not having health insurance because if anything happened to me, I could end up in just as much debt as I started with, if not more.

I shopped around for health insurance but man, was it expensive! The best I could find was something like $70 a month, but that only bought me a $5,000 deductible with 60-70% coverage after the deductible was met. And that didn't even include prescription drugs!

Luckily, I was able to be added on to my boyfriend's plan as a domestic partner. I finally got around to going to the dentist and found out that I had to have a root canal done. If they had been able to catch it a few months earlier, it would've only been a cavity, but a few months earlier I didn't have health insurance. A lesson to myself that maybe it doesn't always pay to try to save a few bucks.

I'm curious to see how the recent unemployment rates are going to affect people's health coverage. The way that health insurance is linked to employment seems to put those people who are unemployed, self-employed, or only working part-time at a much higher risk.

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