Do the math

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

Let’s talk about health care. Why? Because as is often the case, I write about what’s on my mind, using myself and my family and friends to illustrate things that I think the larger community is talking about.

I pay about $115 a paycheck for my health insurance. Let’s call it $3,000 a year. I have a $500 deductible. I pay a $35 co-pay. Does all that seem like very personal information? I think it’s pretty standard, and I think what it’s done to my life is pretty standard, too.

Last November, I developed pneumonia or bronchitis. I never got the final diagnosis because I wasn’t in the mood for an x-ray, and the treatment was the same. I didn’t know it was pneumonia, it just seemed like the flu to me. Anyway, I’d be sick for a week, get mostly better, get sick for another week or 10 days, until November faded into February, and I was still sick.

Finally, I went to urgent care and got some antibiotics.

OK, so here’s the upshot: I didn’t go to the doctor because I have health insurance. It seems every time I go to the doctor, I end up getting bills a month or two down the road that I haven’t budgeted for and can’t predict the amounts of. But I haven’t spent $500 in a year on medical care since I was fat, when I suffered from all those fat-people’s diseases: gall bladder issues, high blood pressure, high chloresterol/triglicerides, chronic heartburn, back problems, etc.

The bottom line is I went to urgent care, paid $135 cash and another $10 for my prescription. The odds are pretty good that I won’t see a doctor again this year until I go in for my annual bloodwork to make sure everything’s still cool. That’ll probably cost me another $150.

Here’s what I’m thinking: I’m basically paying $3,300 for $300 worth of medical care. I know I’m one of the lucky ones because I have insurance (and a job that helps pay for it) in case something catastrophic happens. But something sure doesn’t add up.