Monday, February 7, 2011


You will notice a new "Poll" box to the right. I am having a discussion on another venue on health insurance costs in the USA. If you live in the USA, please take a second and let me know. I understand my question leaves a lot out of the equation (like age, prior conditions, etc). As always, comments are welcome and appreciated. Thanks.

This subject is generating a lot of interest very quickly! Click on the comments to see what people have to say. To see the results of the poll you have to click on the "Show Results" button.

From the comments coming in, it seems I should have put in higher numbers!


  1. Croft, Health insurance is the reason my wife Donna is still working a fulltime job,she has to have health care for the two of us and with her job paying hers, mine is about $600us a month. I am 62 and on social security, and she is 61 and will turn 62 in August when she can start social security, Medicare doesn't kick in until age 65 Donna has had a heart infraction wherein she needed 5 stents and is on medication,I have a mild form of type 2 diabetes which requires medication. With this current medical history we are virtually uninsurable unless we cobra the policy that Donna has, that would be close to $2000US a month. Ridiculous who can afford that, even with my pension, her pension and both of us recieving social security that would take up a huge portion of our retirement income. The working poor will always be that. We know the only way we will be able to fulltime is to sell the house and put that in savings for when we stop being on the road, and then work camp our way around the country. Although that is what both of us would prefer, we both need something to stay a little busy, Hope this answers your questions, Don't get me wrong I love being an American. But we are envious of your health care provisions.If we could get rid of some defense spending maybe the USA could afford a workable plan like you guys have. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna..

  2. Croft
    For me, this is a timely topic. Without getting into too many details I can give you an overview of how health care costs and insurance impacts the "middle-class", much less the impact of those who cannot afford health insurance. I am 60 and my wife is 58. I am self employed (sales) and my wife is a public school teacher. Without my wife's employer supplied health insurance on a cost share basis, we would be extremely hard pressed to afford the nearly $1400/mo. health insurance cost. It is the singular reason why we have not retired yet. I had grand hopes when Congress was considering an early "buy in" program for medicare at age 55. We surely would have retired this year, were it not for the fact that this provision did not pass. It seems like reverse thinking to me when this was excluded from the health insurance law. It seems to me that if people like me were able to buy into medicare at an earlier age with reasonable rates, these same people would retire early and make room for younger folks to merge into our jobs. We would even consider sharing the costs until we reached the full medicare age of 65 and this would create a larger pool of insured contributing to the system. This is a continuing frustration of mine and we wouldn't be asking for something for nothing. We have contributed for years to the "system" and are still in a strangle hold by the insurance companies. I can't imagine the torment endured by those who have no health insurance coverage. It is all a matter of priorities and this country has opted to spend billions overseas, rather than care for our own. I know I'l be accused of being an ideologue, but it seems to me that if Canada (and most of the free world) can make it work, certainly this country should be able to.
    Bill in Nebraska

  3. Croft, my wife and I pay about $1200 per month for coverage and that is with a $2500 deductible.

    Since we are in good health we never reach the deductible so we pay all our heath cost anyway and do not receive any help from the insurance.

  4. This will be interesting and worthwhile.

    Before leaving the U.S. in the late 80s, I paid 110 dollars per month for health insurance. Today, at age 54, here in Mexico, for full coverage, private hospital room, etc. I have just received an increase because of my age to 90 dollars per month. I can't imagine what I would be paying in the U.S. if I lived there now.

    I lost a good friend to breast cancer because she couldn't receive proper care for lack of health insurance. Criminal!

  5. Croft, We are paying $387 a month (+$2500 year deductible) for my husband's(age 57) COBRA which runs out the end of April. Because of his pre-existing conditions it's doubtful we can obtain another policy that is halfway affordable. I have no insurance because of the $500 a month cost. Never thought I would say that I can't wait to turn 65 to at least have Medicare. Our game plan is stay out of the U.S. as much as possible and use travel medical insurance or pay out of pocket. Should my husband need heart surgery (not if, but when) we will pay for it ourselves. We have already researched costs in Asia and they are not much more than a year's premiums + deductible anyway.
    What ticks me off to no end is that people whose paychecks derive from taxes (i.e. government city, county, state, federal workers + politicans, and teachers) have wonderful health insurance. And if you are dirt poor you have Medicaid. I am absolutely not begruding this group their access to inexpenive or free insurance but many of us got the short end of the stick even though we worked for many years.
    My Dad retired from the military so my mother is covered for life there. Later he was in a government job so she's also covered for life with very affordable health insurance continuation. And she has Medicare on top of it all. Her cup runneth over and I'm glad because she has no worries.

  6. Mexi-Croft ... LOVE the poll idea. The only problem is that I was talking about couples 33 to 40 years old, and the age of your respondents appears to be 55+. Major health problems increase exponentially with age, as do health care premiums and medical costs.
    And more importantly, this poll doesn't factor in preventative lifelong measures like healthy diet, regular exercise, non-smoker, etc. which all contribute to our health as we age.

  7. I agree Kelsi but these are the people we associate with and talk to (I actually know a couple of them). I understand a young person in good health practicing healthy lifestyles would be able to obtain more affordable. However, those people will eventually find that as they age their rates will soon creep up to an unmanageable amount.

    Your pie chart of expenses does not specify age or lifestyle either. It does appear that adequate health insurance in the $100 per month range is not available to the average American. The figures given in this poll and in the comments reflect what I believe to be the true costs at least for the people in my peer group.

  8. Sorry Kelsi, it does specify age at 48.8 - I went to the full chart.

  9. well i worked over 30 years for the government and in exchange for lower than normal wages I get a wonderful lifetime of affordable health insurance... I retire in three weeks when my premium will be 401 per month...

  10. Croft, What an eye opener. While I get angry at our system at times (it has failed me) I still prefer our system. Having said that, I'm also glad and realize how lucky I am, that I have a good friend in Kansas City who likes to operate on my knee for free (twice) we stay at his house....and drives me home from surgery!

  11. There is no box for: My former employer pays all the costs. It is part of my retirement package that Obama is about to screw up! Judy

  12. "There is no box for: My former employer pays all the costs. It is part of my retirement package that Obama is about to screw up! Judy"

    First of all, you are the exception to the rule today with a pension plan that pays your health insurance as part of a retirement plan, much less getting any kind of a pension. In recent history for example, in 1979 62% of public companies had pension/retirement plans. In 2005 that number fell to less than 10%. And, today less than 3% have such plans. One only needs to look at what happened to the pension and retirement plans of employees of United Airlines as an example when United filed Chapter 11 and reorganized primarily on the backs of employee cuts. Adding insult to injury is the fact that senior officers of these companies retained their plans, while all other employees lost theirs.
    Second, you have fallen for the misinformation surrounding the national health care plan and the outright animosity towards Obama. Unless you can provide factual specifics on how national health care threatens your "retirement package" it is doubtful your retirement plan is threatened. More than likely your former employer is following in the footsteps of all the other companies who have either raided the assets of funded pension plans, simply abandoned them or filed Chapter 11 to avoid paying them.
    Bill in NE

  13. I agree with Bill. It is also interesting to see that as Union representation of workers fell, so did the number of workers covered by pension plans.