Tuesday, August 28, 2007


I can think of few things less beneficial to my health than a Tuesday afternoon Benefits Meeting. At this point, I've read enough about the U.S. healthcare system to know that I'm getting screwed—regardless of whether it's the Premier or the Value Plan. Ooh, or the HSA. (That stands for Health Savings Account, which helps me understand better the cost of my doctor visits by, uh, making me pay for them outright. Sweet. Thanks. Helpful.)

I know we're getting aced, that I'm paying into an entirely inefficient system that's demonstrated its failure to do what it purports to do (to wit, provide for the health of the participants), and instead, in some sense, I'm paying for you, Mr. Benefits Explainer Man to be here, thanks for the free pen. Wait. Scratch that. I paid for the pen, too.

So it's not healthy for me to sit there in that meeting. I just stew in bitterness that bubbles towards contempt.

"Allowable Charge."

"Biologically-Based Mental Illness."

"Infusion Therapy."

"And what I like to call the worst-case scenario: 'the train-wreck year.'"


I don't know how to make health-care better, but I know that ours is fucked and all I can do is look away, lest I give myself a fucking hernia by stewing over it (hernia: covered in-network at a 20% allowable charge, out-of-network at 40%).

"Are there any questions?"

Yes, there are. I ask if those of us who work with our Canadian branch can just go ahead and enroll in that country's universal health-care system. And we all laugh, because, ha!, that's ridiculous.

Benefits Man assures me: "Just remember you'd be waiting in line!"


Blogger t(h)om said...

I hear Canadians are so polite, that if you came to get medical treatment and you were like, holding your own head in your left hand and your liver was hanging out your belly button, they'd probably go ahead and let you go to the front of the line. Just 'cause they're so nice.

28/8/07 4:30 PM  
Blogger eekbeat said...

You tell that Benefits Man that I waited 75 minutes this morning--in his beloved US of A. And paid a $30 co-pay on top of that. And I'm one of the lucky ones. Bastard.

28/8/07 7:37 PM  
Blogger bitchphd said...


I do remember getting really frustrated over the six month wait for mental health treatment, but I have to admit that if it's a choice between that and some kid not getting to see the dentist when he has an abscessed tooth, I'll deal.

28/8/07 11:41 PM  
Blogger The Modesto Kid said...

Cool, your plan covers train wrecks?

29/8/07 9:42 AM  
Blogger Stanley said...

Well, it's pretty specific language, pertaining to trolleys, specifically, and overweight men.

29/8/07 9:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we're talking more like weeks/months waiting times, not 75 minutes/in-office waiting time.

29/8/07 5:25 PM  
Blogger Stanley said...

Was that you, andrea?

29/8/07 5:30 PM  
Blogger eekbeat said...

I know we're talking weeks/months waiting times. I suppose my remark was more to emphasize that there will always be some sort of waiting time: good care involves taking time to talk to patients and scheduling appointments so that the doctors are not stretched thin. There's a reason that in Canada to get minor surgery you sometimes wait months or a year: to allow for those surgeries that must occur, that are life-threatening or major in other ways. My cousin waited two years to have her umbilical cord remains removed. Inconvenience? Yes. But, really, why should she get her umbilical cord remains removed in the next month when it is not a surgery that necessitates immediacy? The US system is not perfect--we wait too, whether it's in-office or not getting an appointment for a minor surgical procedure for weeks or months. The US argument that Canadian health care is slow and inefficient is a load of crap. These are the things that come with bureaucracy. I would chose Canada over the US any day, despite the complaints of my Canadian relatives over waiting time and other annoyances: at least they get to complain.

30/8/07 1:49 PM  

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