Navigating Healthcare – Patient Safety and Personal Healthcare Management

Healthcare US vs UK Comparison

Posted in Healthcare Information, NHS by drnic on December 28, 2008

There are many comparisons of the US and UK health care system but there is hardly a UK citizen living in the US that does not worry that the nightmare described in this essay “Fragile American Dream – Part 1 and Part 2….

It boils down to the catastrophic coverage and end of life issues that have yet to be addressed or resolved. For those who grew up in the system there is probably some degree of concern but a vague acceptance that this the way it is. Rising costs as featured in the rising costs here manifest in escalating drug costs, covered to some extent by the insurance while you have it but at some point when it is either no longer possible to be employed (age or health reasons) you enter the nightmare scenario

Then came the day that I had to give up work, I worked for a Company who treated me very well when I retired. However this is when the American Dream started to turn into a nightmare. I was eligible for 6 months free medical coverage then a further 6 months at a cost to me of what the Company paid; a substantial hike, especially on an income reduced by 40%. After this period something calls COBRA kicks in for one more year and this is when it gets really expensive, approximately 3 times more than the cost the Company was paying but I would still have coverage. When COBRA runs out, effectively I am uninsured, yes there is Medicaid, but from what I have found out it is not easy to get coverage even with a terminal disease. I have overhead enough hardship discussions for people being treated at my Oncologists surgery to understand that everything has to be “battled for”. With a pre-existing condition it becomes almost impossible to get Insurance, some Insures say they will do it, but the cost for good coverage becomes prohibitive.

As the author states luckily he has a choice albeit less than ideal – leaving the country and returning back to the UK for treatment that will not bankrupt him and his family. He finishes with this statement

the UK has many faults but at least the NHS is a safety net for when
things go seriously wrong, unlike out here when effectively you are on
your own.

And that pretty much sums it up…….. there is no effective safety net in the US.

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