Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Love Letter to Government Health Insurance

I don't plan to get too much into political issues very often on here, but since it's sort of the end of an era, I thought I'd share a little story about why profit-based health insurance just plain sucks.

My fiance recently added me to his company's insurance, which (I hope, at least) will be better than the coverage I've had since coming out to Boston.

Back in the Spring of 2009, I went to the doctor with a sore throat.  Turned out to be strep throat, and not a big deal at all.  But that wasn't all that the doctor found.

He also found a lump on the front of my neck that I never would have noticed.  Who knows how long it had been there.  After determining that it was definitely abnormal, he sent me to get a needle biopsy (and as someone who has a really serious phobia of needles... Ick..).

The biopsy determined that it was, in fact, a tumor on the right lobe of my thyroid.  Luckily, it seemed to be benign, but they wouldn't know for sure until they took it out.  And since they couldn't determine how long it had been there, they didn't know if it would continue to grow if we left it there, eventually restricting my breathing.

So, into surgery I went.

The surgery went well.  My surgeon, and all of the doctors and nurses involved were brilliant and everything was fine.

Until a month or two later, when I got a letter from my insurance company saying they would not be covering the surgery.

Because it wasn't "medically necessary."

Now, I'm sure there are some spin-doctors who could argue that breathing isn't "medically necessary."  No more medically necessary than being alive, I suppose.

Luckily, my surgeon wanted to get paid.  After I called him and explained the letter I'd gotten, he had me fax the info over to him, and I never heard another word about it from the insurance company.

I'm glad to be moving up to a slightly higher tier of health insurance for a little while...

But you know what I'm really looking forward to?  Government healthcare in Denmark.


  1. I don't want to burst your bubble but medical service here sucks too

    Just because it's free, doesn't mean it's good. They'll leave you in the hall, give you aspirin for any complaints you got. Of course it differs from doctors and doctors and I have so far been lucky (have a good doctor who cares and never been seriously sick) but I know a lot of my friends who are frustrated when they need serious medical treatment in here.

    the survival cancer rate here is very low too. There's a long list on cancer treatment and so on and so on. If you could read enough Danish to read local newspaper, you'd be shuddered. Better just stick those fingers in your ears and say la la la. At least for now

  2. and here's another about cancer

  3. I'm not about to claim that socialized medicine doesn't have its issues. But at least I know they can't pull what they pulled on me.

    And while it may be true that the Danish system has issues when dealing with specific illnesses, the American system has far worse statistics when it comes to things like child mortality than first world countries with socialized medicine.

    And some good news from that very first article that you posted. It says that the gap has narrowed significantly, and as both article are from nearly a year ago, I imagine it has only gotten better (especially after bringing press attention to the issue)

  4. the private insurance I signed up for was the best investment I've made since coming to denmark since the public healthcare here is a joke.. any sort of preventative medicine is unheard of and god help you if they diagnose you with any sort of life threatening condition.. it made me really wish I was back in the states.