Travel Insurance Protects You From Costly Health-Care
While an asthma puffer is merely five cents in Cuba, in the U.S it would cost you $110 to buy one! Michael Moore's Sicko couldn't have been more accurate. There's something sick and costly about the U.S. health-care system.
Don't we snowbirds look forward to discussions about U.S.-Canada dollar exchange rates? The Canadian dollar has performed exceedingly well since 2000, rising to the value of more than 45 percent. Even the prices of food, transportation, taxes, rent and many other commodities have significantly dropped. No one believes the old “Canadian dollars at par” trick anymore. So much has changed since then.
Surely not travel insurance? What, you think they're swindling us too? Instinct tells me something is wrong with the industry simply because insurance premium rates have barely move over the last few years. Lest I sound too redundant, let me share to you Medipac's response to Jim Wylie, who asked a very simple yet forthright question. I responded by enumerating the initiatives recently undertaken that benefited from the strong Canadian dollar. Here we consider real day-to-day facts concerning U.S. health-care providers.
Let's get to know some facts (a blast from the past, what have you):
15 years ago, in the second quarter of the year 2000, Medipac's average daily cost of a hospital stay was at $8,077. Eight years from that time, one day of stay at the same hospital was priced at $12,997. The care and procedures in 2000 and in 2008 were relatively the same but with a 60.91 percent price increase.
Still in the second quarter of 2000, Medipac's average out-patient visit (with tests) was an affordable $933. 7 years later, the price went up to $1,829. There were little changes in the facilities, services and medical staff but the price increase was a whopping 96.03 percent.
The dollar increase was just a mere 45.08 percent. Apparently, medical inflation in the U.S. rose twice as much as the dollar. Now that's saying something.
So what did Medipac do?
Towards the end of the second quarter, Medipac hired and trained nurses to answer our 24/7 medical hotlines. There have always been highly trained medical professionals in Medipac but this time, we realized how important it is to equip them with knowledge about the ins and outs of foreign health-care systems. Many hospitals and doctors manufacture their bills by adding unnecessary tests (if not adding tests that would not actually be administered to patients). A doctor may also perform an operation, inviting other doctors to assist him, and before we know it, a bill would already be there on our doorstep. Hospitals started coursing their bills through “international billing companies,” giving them a portion of the bills. And the bills we received got higher than usual. Bills come from Sweden, Switzerland and elsewhere around the globe for services in an American hospital. Adding insult to injury are their lawyers, who'd call Medipac and threaten us with a law suit if we don't pay the bills NOW! I don't even want to get started on these middlemen who, more often than not, get six times as much as the hospital received.
Is this a real health-care system or is this a money-run health-care system? Is it about the care or about the money? Hence, we trained our nurses and staff to be careful and cautious of this tricky health-care culture as though preparing for a real battle.