Back in January, we lost our health insurance. My spouse had outlived her temporary position at the University of X, and would have to continue as an adjunct (w/o insurance) while applying for a new tenure-track position, which she was almost certain to win (and which she did in fact win–and deservedly so).
We could have maintained insurance via COBRA, but adjunct pay would have been swallowed by COBRA, and we had a son-in-law losing unemployment benefits, so we chose to bite down hard and wait until her benefits restarted in August. Both my spouse and I have classical preexisting conditions (diabetes, antiphospholipid syndrome), so there were no other options.
Then, two weeks ago, the worst happened. I was on my way by bike to write this blog at a local coffee shop before starting work. At 6:50 am, a white pickup truck ran a stop sign and hit me, knocking over my bike and breaking my right foot and elbow and breaking the head off my right femur, requiring total hip replacement surgery (which I had the following Monday, after the most miserable weekend of human existence).
It was incredibly painful. It also has so far cost, by my reckon, around $100,000, and may cost way more.
My physical health has been compromised. My economic life now hangs in the balance, entirely dependent on how much insurance the guy who hit me chose to purchase.
Does this seem right?
I mean, we have underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage on our cars (everyone should) but none of that is really intended to deal with major bodily injury. It’ll help, but. Doesn’t it tell you something is wrong when you have to individually buy insurance not just against wrongs you might do but against wrongs others might do?
Doesn’t it make sense instead to pool our healthcare systems, so that if someone goes to a hospital in need of repair, they get it, no questions asked?
Con: There are two types of people who will exploit this system:
1. The slimeballs (“slimeball” is the vernacular for the legalese “tortfeasor”) who injure others, who would be freed from the consequence of paying higher insurance premiums.
2. People who knowingly partake in extremely risky behavior, knowing their injuries (if any) will be covered.
Thoughts? Comments? Large checks to help pay my hospital bills?
Two weeks ago this morning, almost to the minute. Think about how fast things can change.