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We paid $37B above market?
(06-25-2016, 02:49 PM)tomh009 Wrote:
(06-22-2016, 03:36 PM)plam Wrote: I never had to pay anything with my school-issued student health plan in the US either. I think many plans are like that. As a random example, IBM is known for being thrifty. In-network routine and preventative care there is deductible-free (source: http://www-01.ibm.com/employment/us/benefits/s07a.shtml). Now, you can often choose a cheaper plan that has higher deductibles, but the choice is up to you.

School health insurance isn't really comparable to the company plans.  With IBM's PPO you can end up paying up to US$13K/year (or US$27K/year should you go to the wrong hospital).  The deductibles are significant if you need actual care, and that care can be very expensive when you do need it (US$30K for a colleague's broken wrist).  These are somewhat higher than my company's US maximums (US$10K/US$20K), but then there is a monthly cost at my company, too.

In the US, even with medical insurance, you have to expect to be spending a bunch of money on health care each year, especially if you have a family.

Well, it is much more than the Ontario health contribution which tops out at $900/person. But, here are some stats.


In 2011, average (mean) out-of-pocket outlay among Americans who paid some expenses was $700. Median was $237. Does not include insurance costs. I think that is a much more reasonable number to think about.
The linked numbers don't include the monthly fees for medical insurance (which vary widely based on the plan).  But in any case, while the median or average is low, the fact is that you can quickly get hit with a US$5K or US$10K bill for a seemingly minor illness or injury, so either you need to save up for that, or go into debt to pay for the medical expenses.

The reality is that the US per-capita healthcare costs are approaching US$10K (US$8700 in 2013 -- nearly double that of Canada, although I don't know what exchange rate is assumed here):

And since a substantial amount of the population is uninsured (and far less likely to use the medical system), you can safely assume that the annual cost per insured person is well in excess of US$10K.  Since the health insurance companies are not charities, this needs to be paid by the employer and/or the employee, whether in the form of premium co-pay, deductibles or other fees.

There is no free lunch.  We pay more taxes to fund our health care; Americans need to pay for their (more advanced but more expensive) health care privately.
(06-25-2016, 04:42 PM)tomh009 Wrote: There is no free lunch.  We pay more taxes to fund our health care; Americans need to pay for their (more advanced but more expensive) health care privately.

There does appear to be a sea change occurring in opinion among Americans as to the health care issue.

My wife and I find it more interesting to stay at bed and breakfasts than at hotels. Conversation with strangers over breakfast is one of the stimulating advantages. Until quite recently, in American locations, when it became known across the table that we were Canadians, we would often be treated to condescending observations on the sad state of our socialized health care system. Before I got too far into a rebuttal, I would feel the kick under the table from my wife to preserve civility.

Lately, the self-assessment from Americans over breakfast is one of significant alarm, accompanied by genuine interest in our system. I am now free to elaborate without injury to my shins. Recently, a soon-to-be-retired and obviously well-to-do professor at an American university was conveying his absolute dread of health care costs when he was outside his employer's coverages. He was desperately eager to hear from us and from the British couple beside us how "the other half lived".

This particular consequence of living and working in America is not to be underestimated. There may be other downsides as well, of course.
(06-22-2016, 05:37 PM)IEFBR14 Wrote: One experiment we did was rig a slot machine to control the outcome and understand the brain and what represents the formation of addiction in the brain.  So in the end a very complex model that we are still trying to understand.

I think I took part in that one. How tired were you of listening to that machine at the end of the day?
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