Health care can be one the most crippling costs for American families. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average premium has risen by 19% the last five years–that equals about $7,000 per person and almost $19,000 for a family in 2017. And according to CNN Money “average out-of-pocket costs grew 66%, or more than twice the growth rate in wages during that period.” YIKES.
The Trump administration has been pushing short-term health care, arguing that it “will provide more affordable consumer choices for health coverage.” But if you’re searching for a health care plan and considering a limited-duration plan, there are several things you should know.
Most importantly, these plans fail to cover things like “crucial services such as prescription drugs, maternity care, or major emergencies like cancer,” as explained in The Conversation. Not to mention the benefits that are covered by short-term health plans have “high deductible, strict limitations, and annual and lifetime coverage limits.”
If you are a woman, you’re charged a high premium just for having a vagina and are “more likely to be disproportionately affected by medical underwriting for pre-existing conditions like domestic abuse and postnatal treatment.”
Just so we’re clear here, that means if you are a person with a vagina, have had a pre-existing condition, have been abused by your partner, or needed any kind of care after you’ve given birth, it’s going to cost you more for health coverage. Because that’s the dumpster fire world we are living in.
From one person with a vagina to another, I want to inform you–these short-terms plans may look good at first glance and appear cheaper, but in the end, you’ll be paying big time.
Simon F. Header studies health policy for a living and wrote an article for the The Conversation about how confusing–and expensive–it was for his wife to give birth to a health baby boy. He’s an expert on health care and still finds it confusing.
Look, folks, health care shouldn’t be confusing. It should be straight forward and not written in some secret code.
Header writes, “Yet for all the reading and writing, experiencing health care in America personally is a rather shocking experience,” he says. “I can’t imagine how overwhelming the experience must be for someone with fewer resources and less of an understanding about health care in America.”
Header goes on to say every time he asked for a itemized bill for his wife’s delivery, “new items would appear while other miraculously disappeared.” The doctor who was not present for the birth charged $4,200.00 for the birth, and pediatricians made a few stops to check on their new son at $150 “per look.”
While his wife was home on unpaid leave, Header says they received a new medical bill every single day that was crawling with mistakes. This led to a lot of time and frustration on the phone to their insurer.
I don’t know about you, but as soon as I look at my medical bills, my eyes cross and I give up. Not the right thing to do in this situation, but somehow I doubt I’m alone in this.
The Affordable Care Act (AKA, Obamacare) covers things like preventative care, well-child visits and vaccinations, but if it’s overturned (something the Trump administration seems hell bent on doing) all that will disappear. Not to mention the fact that women will be negatively impacted the most since ACA protects them from being charged extra for pre-existing conditions and having a vagina.
“People from abroad were shocked and couldn’t believe Americans were tolerating this,” Header tells Scary Mommy.
Header and his wife’s story isn’t the worst of it either. After Header shared his story, several others came forward to share their own health care insurance horror stories.
“This was disheartening,” says Header. “It makes you understand how many people suffer as a result of these bills, but also encouraging because it seems like people are fed up.”
As far as that bill from the hospital that Header asked for repeatedly, it never “matched up with the explanation of benefits letters you get from the insurer,” he tells us. The bills were also vague and he never got a “good bill” for his wife’s cost, only for the baby.
Being a woman and dealing with health problems is hard enough without being charged more for certain conditions, giving birth, or being abused by a partner.
Do your research, ask questions about deductibles, pre-existing conditions, and medical history. Make sure your preferred doctor is in your plan, along with any prescriptions you use. The extra time it takes to find a health care plan that you are comfortable with will be worth it.
As it stands now, all your preventative care such a mammograms, maternity benefits, and wellness visits are covered by ACA–take advantage of it and do your research if you are thinking of choosing a short-term health care plan.