Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I see from the date of my last blog post that I have not been actively updating.  But that was not entirely unexpected.  To bring you up to speed: I slept eight hours last night; I entered my first foot race of the year, a very short 5k that only lasted two miles; I went to Phoenix; and I ate some cake.  Now we’re all on the same page.

C and I also sat down and paged through the file of medical bills and insurance benefit statements from the last year.  Anyone wondering how much cancer costs?  My treatment through the end of last year was about $130,000.  That is probably cheap on some yard sticks.  More intense treatments?  More frequent and more complex surgical procedures?  Longer treatment regimes?  All will sky rocket the costs. 

Of course, to be clear, we did not pay the $130,000 out of pocket.  That is what insurance is for.  Which brings me to today’s topic for conversation.  Awhile back, I ran across the following NYTimes editorial: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/20/opinion/20Dubinsky.html.  It struck a chord.  The piece summarizes one families attempt to secure health insurance on the private market, concluding that the system is broken when a family of means is unable to do so as a result of pre-existing conditions.  I suspect I may be uninsurable on the private market as well.  After all, the editorialist was plagued with conditions like a corn on her toe and a husband with a slow growing cataract.  Wonder what insurers think about uncurable (but treatable at substantial cost) cancers?  I’m going to guess they are not so keen to accept those risks.

It is a little depressing to think about.  I haven’t had to purchase health insurance on the private market for many years now, being safely insured on employer plans.  But I have toyed with day dreams that include radical concepts like self-employment, or substantial breaks between jobs to travel widely and by many and disparate modes of transportation.  Neither comes packaged with an employer health plan, and either would require acquisition of private coverage that may no longer exist.  Suddenly I have a vested interest in so called Obama-care, or any other plan offering more and greater health care reform.  I’m able to accept that financial decisions moving forward will need to accommodate the costs of health insurance, but hate to think that my options have been limited from hence forth to toeing the line with employers of size sufficient to absorb the increasing costs of employee health plans.


  1. big w has also thought about this... can you afford to quit an job in hopes to keep your insurance. Wonders wonders...