View Full Version : How does the State help you?

02-04-2009, 08:16 AM
CoraJo's posts regarding lack of treatment have highlighted the variations in State aid around the world. It made me realise that I don't know the situation in other countries and thought it might be interesting to compare.

In England, it is sometimes difficult to find out what your entitlement is because the system is so complex and split between departments. My own situation is -

GP care - 24 hour cover. Appointment with my own GP same day - Free

Hospital care - Regular checks and tests. Appointments with my own Consultant (or stand in) almost any time - Free

All medication - 100 / year.

Mobility allowance sufficient to lease a car with insurance. (due to my problems with walking)

I would also qualify for a disability allowance if my income was very low.

02-04-2009, 01:50 PM
I think I can safely speak for all Americans and say, "Wow." We have nothing whatsoever like that.

Even if one can afford private health insurance, there are copays and deductibles. My annual deductible (I must pay this before my insurance pays anything each year) is 3,000 USD. I have 100% coverage after that for most medical stuff, including drugs. But they didn't cover Mayo Clinic, so I had to pay approx $300 each time I saw my rheumy for a follow-up (nothing fancy like a hospital stay). And they won't cover any pre-existing conditions.

State aid is only for those with very low income. Every state runs their own program and it is awful. You have to go to their docs only, and there are precious few of them. People do die waiting to get care. I treated an infant once with an undiagnosed neurological disorder. It was terrifying to watch this baby decline while the state sent her parents through red tape. It took over 2 years to get her assessed by a pediatric neurologist.

If you can get a copy of Michael Moore's movie Sicko from 2 yrs ago, it'll tell you everything you need to know about the abysmal state of health care in the US.

02-04-2009, 08:06 PM
Hi Jack,

Like you I have some difficulty walking due to arthritis and I get Direct Payments (http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/SocialCare/Socialcarereform/Personalisation/Directpayments/index.htm)from social services which is aimed at keeping me in full time work. This allows me to buy my own nursing care when I need it and to make suitable purchases to help me overcome some of the ongoing issues that affect my abilities. Fatigue is the main thing, and I am able to spend some of this money getting help with housework (which simply doesn't get done alongside a job) and money to use on transport. I also use it to pay for therapy (highly recommended). This all allows me to respond quickly to my own changing needs rather than having to jump through hoops whenever I'm struggling.

ps. Sangye, your numbers are chilling. We do pay a lot of tax, though (currently about 12.5% of our incomes on National Insurance), and most of the population never has a need for these sorts of services. While I am probably actually better off financially as a result of my state benefits, I would argue that they enable me to work and therefore take an active role in society (and put some tax back in).

02-04-2009, 10:22 PM
I have to ration toilet paper. I'm not kidding.

02-05-2009, 01:23 AM
i said on another post that our health care system has it's critics but i would defend it to the death.it has saved my life at least once.as for michael moore, i keep a copy of "sicko" on my computer and i've given a few people copies of it to remind them how lucky we are in the UK.i'm not saying it's perfect but it's something we brits can be proud of.

02-05-2009, 07:31 AM
You should be proud of yourselves. You take care of each other in a way the US has not figured out. And you've been doing it for a long time. :)

I'm glad to hear you're circulating Moore's movie. I cried all the way through it.

I should amend my health insurance rates by adding that in addition to the annual deductible, I pay a monthly premium of $550. Brings the annual minimum to $9,600 before the policy pays out a dime. :eek:

02-09-2009, 05:25 PM
In Australia you can pay for private insurance which usually means that you have a private room in a hospital and doctor of your own choice in hospital. BUT lots of people make the decision not to pay for private cover. For the last 20 years we have not had cover. I'm 55. When you go to doctor here you pay the account then claim part of it back from the government. As I am retired and live off our superannuation we have qualified for a Health care card which means that my medication is only $5.30 per script. If you do not have a Health Care card then I think it's about $35 for a script. I have to pay the full price for Fosamax AA which is about $45 for 4 tablets. There is a saftey net which if you spend a certain amount on medication in one year then you get them cheaper. The times I have been hospitalised I have never seen any accounts except I pay the $5.50 for anti nausea tabs after chemo. I have been to the Eye and Ear hospital twice now for problems and never see any accounts from there either. We are so lucky here - I just can't believe how difficult it must be in America. The problem here is waiting lists for operations such as knee replacements. If you have private cover you get in much quicker. I asked other Weggies about their situation re private v's public and it seemed everyone seemed happy with their situation. They all felt very much looked after with this disease. If you are sick you will get looked after. We are also lucky in that if you live 100 kms from the specialist or hospital you need to go to then you can claim travel expenses - we get $108 per trip which is about 600 kms round trip. I'm not sure if it's just my impression but it seems that Aussies seems to get diagnosed fairly quickly compared to other countries. Andrew what is your impression?

02-10-2009, 02:24 AM
That's a good system. I have no doubt that Weggies outside the US get diagnosed quicker! Just on this forum lately, some have lost precious days making appointments while they see if their insurance will cover it. Others like CoraJo, there's no excuse for that happening to a human being anywhere.

As far as taking longer to get things like knee-replacements, etc.... Other countries still have it better. In the US it's faster only if you have excellent insurance and no waiver for that pre-existing condition and can afford the deductibles and co-pays and other costs. That takes out a good chunk of the insured. And there are more than 47 million Americans without any insurance at all.

02-11-2009, 07:45 AM
Australians do seem to have it a lot better than many others and yes, I do believe that Aussies get diagnosed much quicker. I have private health cover that paid pretty much all of my expenses when I was on Chemo. Overall I've paid out much more than I've received financially but I like being covered up to the hilt just in case. My hospital stay when diagnosed was a bit over two months. I think I remember correctly that my 5 week stay in ICU was approximately 30k, which was paid by the Government under medicare. My wife applied for disability assistance from the Government for herself (she has issues too) and me while I was in hospital. It got approved inside a week and when she explained to them that they couldn't interview me because I was on life support, and showed them the docs letter, they immediately approved mine as well without talking to me. I signed a form when I came out of it and could hold a pen. Not only that, but when I got a job again and called up to terminate my disability payments, I was allowed to keep the concession card for 12 months because I told them rather than them finding out.

I get the safety net after I have spent $1100 on prescriptions which brings them down to the $5.30 that Carol mentioned. Despite all the benefits of our health care system, there are those who think it's crap. Yes, there are some issues but I think they should live in another country and have a rare/severe affliction and then compare. I feel embarrassed writing about how good it is here and I gfeel like apologising for it when I read about the crap people in other countries have to go through. I wish you lot could move over here and you'd get looked after properly. You'd all be welcome and you can stay in my spare room.