I know you’re all sick of the preachy tone. Heck, I’m sick of it myself! But I was just looking through ‘Go Fund Me’, where I will occasionally make a small, anonymous donation to local causes. So many tragic situations that happen to people, often out of the blue.

I also feel for the pets. You know I’m a dog-lover, and some of you know that my daughter is in her last year of vet school. Four years of doing well in HS, then four years of doing well in college taking science and math courses. Then four years of veterinary school, which is at least as hard as medical school. They work so hard… she is finishing pathology, where she may do 13 ‘necropsies’ (animal autopsies) per day, followed by writing up the reports at night, after she gets home. Next is the ER, where the ‘schedule’ calls for working 7 AM to 7 PM, not counting being on call overnight for some of those shifts. Vet school doesn’t have the options for grants that med schools often provide. If she went in-state she would be spending about $50-$60K per year. Her school costs over $60K per year for tuition alone, so books, living expenses, etc. will easily put her back over $300 K after four years. typical veterinarians earn about a third as much as physicians.

She is getting loans, and nowadays they have income-based repayment schedules. The rest of the loan is forgiven after 20 years. She will figure it out, as everyone must do. I’m not complaining because she loves what she is doing.

My complaint, though, is when an animal is sick or injured, and their owners don’t believe that vet care is worth the cost. I have heard stories about animals that could be saved but the owner won’t, or can’t, pay $100 for a lab test. My heart goes out to the animal, the owner (if a person truly cannot pay), and to the veterinarian. “Can’t they just do it for free?” I hope people realize that doesn’t work. All tests cost the vet money, including film for xrays or fees for lab tests, and ‘pay per use’ charges for equipment. And if word spreads that this vet won’t charge you if you say you can’t pay, you may as well close the practice.

There is now health insurance for pets. It isn’t super-expensive, but it isn’t super-cheap either. There are also things that happen that insurance will not cover. Nothing is perfect. But consider it if you own a pet that you love.

I started this post, though, intending to write about health insurance for humans. With the ‘marketplace’ (something I was not initially a fan of), many people can get a significant subsidy that makes coverage affordable. Better yet, most employers still provide health insurance.

My coverage for the past few months had some bumps that I wrote about weeks ago. But my out of pocket max should keep my total cost, this year, to less that $10,000. That is a big hunk of change, but it pales in comparison to the $200K I would have needed had I not bought health insurance. And fair or not, I would have needed to come up with that money in order to LIVE. Not to get those pec implants I’ve always wanted, but just to survive. For awhile, Nancy and I were trying to figure out what to do. Personally I wondered, “how much is my life worth?” we considered moving to California, or at least finding a new job with different health insurance. Nancy thought she would get a job at Starbucks for their insurance coverage. My mother lives in assisted living on Social Security and she offered to pay for it – she said she could come up with $5000 from her savings. I didn’t have the heart to tell her — that wouldn’t get me past the initial cardiology visit and echocardiogram!

Go Fund Me has so many tragic stories, many about people who were hit with illness or accidents when they didn’t have health insurance. PLEASE — consider getting it through an employer or the marketplace. Once something happens it is too late. If the cost is too high, consider a high-deductible plan so that you will at least be covered for the big, potentially-bankrupcy-inducing health problems.

BTW I do not get paid to put links in my posts. I used to 10 yrs ago when I was more popular… it was always hard to find a way to put something like ‘magic door frame‘ in a Suboxone post! This post is all me and my opinions – no capitalism or commercialism involved. Honest – insurance may save your life.

Categories: Science


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