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Old 12-19-2012, 07:27 AM
 
92 posts, read 187,252 times
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I'm curious about the health care system in your country. Are you required by law to have health insurance? Do you pay an exaggerated amount just for a routine checkup? Do you have choices with doctors and hospitals? Tell me more.
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Old 12-19-2012, 07:32 AM
 
Location: Leeds, UK
22,256 posts, read 27,585,120 times
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No, no, and yes.
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Old 12-19-2012, 08:23 AM
 
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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I live in Canada, and we have a national, universal health care system, that is paid for by ALL OF US, through our income and sales taxes. IT IS NOT FREE.

It covers all Canadian citizens and legal Immigrants to Canada.

Doctors do not bill patients in Canada. They submit their monthly invoices to the Provincial Ministry of Health, by electronic means, based on the agreement that the Medical Association and the Province have signed. Two months later, they get paid, by electronic means. No chasing bad debts, no private insurance forms to fill in, and no fear of not being paid.

As a result, our costs are lower than in the USA, and we get better service, as all our hospitals are owned by the public, not private, for profit corporations.

Taking the profit motive out of health care is the best thing we ever did, back in 1960.

By the way, our prescription drug costs are also considerably lower than in the USA, as our Government sets the prices that can be charged for any medication, that is sold in Canada. On average, the price paid by a Canadian for any prescribed drug, compared to the price for the same drug in the USA is one half to two thirds lower. Americans pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs.

Jim B

Toronto.
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Old 12-19-2012, 12:49 PM
 
Location: The Netherlands
2,942 posts, read 4,948,803 times
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Are you required by law to have health insurance? - Yes, everyone is required to have a basic health insurance that covers the standard (most commonly used) health care and medications. The only exceptions are people who do not want a health insurance due to their religious beliefs or convictions and people in active military service. The government decides which services are covered in the basic health insurance. Health insurance providers are part of the private sector and everyone is free to choose their own provider. Although providers are free to set their own premiums, they must accept all people and cannot charge higher premiums for people based on their age or health condition for the basic insurance. Since the basic health insurance doesn't cover everything, people are free to choose an additional insurance (not obligatory) if they think it's necessary. There are many different kinds of additional health insurances depending on the provider. The providers are again free to set their own premiums for the additional insurances but are not obliged to accept everyone. People under 18 don't have to pay any premiums, they're automatically insured via their parents or caregivers without extra costs.

Do you pay an exaggerated amount just for a routine checkup? - Routine check-ups at the general practitioner or obstetrician are covered under the basic health insurance so they do not cost anything extra. However, for other check-ups there is an "own risk" of €220,- a year that the patient is required to pay himself (any costs above that are paid by the insurance provider). People are free to choose a higher "own risk" in exchange for a lower monthly premium. People who are chronically ill are partially compensated for their "own risk" costs. People with lower incomes (up to €35,059) receive a health care benefit of around €70,- per month from the government. The total cost of the health insurance depends on the kind of insurance and provider you choose. For me it's €24,50 a month for basic + additional insurance, I get discount as a student and I get a health care benefit.

Do you have choices with doctors and hospitals? - I believe people are required to have a general practitioner within their own vicinity but people are free to choose the hospital they want to be treated.
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Old 12-19-2012, 01:00 PM
 
Location: Canada
4,855 posts, read 9,752,455 times
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@Jim B: I'd add that no, we aren't required to have health insurance, and that Canadians do buy health insurance for all non-essential healthcare needs (ie. things that aren't doctors or hospitals). We buy insurance for dental care, eye care, and prescription drugs. Prescription drug schemes vary province to province as to how much the government will pay for, but generally all will start paying for your medications if you have to pay a whole lot of your income towards drugs due to some sort of catastrophic illness. Most will pay some percentage of the costs to make it less of a burden after you pass a certain deductible. In the province I live in, that deductible is calculated based on your income level.

I'll also add that yes, you can use any hospital or doctor that you choose to. If you go out of province, you have to pay up front and remit the bill to your province in order to get reimbursed.
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Old 12-19-2012, 02:34 PM
 
Location: Europe
1,668 posts, read 3,254,781 times
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Health system is for free, also to routine visits. We can't choose hospital in our town but we can choose the doctor, if you are far from home you can go to doctor also for free anyway.
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Old 12-19-2012, 03:20 PM
 
Location: San Francisco
9,031 posts, read 9,876,706 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LindavG View Post
Are you required by law to have health insurance? - Yes, everyone is required to have a basic health insurance that covers the standard (most commonly used) health care and medications. The only exceptions are people who do not want a health insurance due to their religious beliefs or convictions and people in active military service. The government decides which services are covered in the basic health insurance. Health insurance providers are part of the private sector and everyone is free to choose their own provider. Although providers are free to set their own premiums, they must accept all people and cannot charge higher premiums for people based on their age or health condition for the basic insurance. Since the basic health insurance doesn't cover everything, people are free to choose an additional insurance (not obligatory) if they think it's necessary. There are many different kinds of additional health insurances depending on the provider. The providers are again free to set their own premiums for the additional insurances but are not obliged to accept everyone. People under 18 don't have to pay any premiums, they're automatically insured via their parents or caregivers without extra costs.

Do you pay an exaggerated amount just for a routine checkup? - Routine check-ups at the general practitioner or obstetrician are covered under the basic health insurance so they do not cost anything extra. However, for other check-ups there is an "own risk" of €220,- a year that the patient is required to pay himself (any costs above that are paid by the insurance provider). People are free to choose a higher "own risk" in exchange for a lower monthly premium. People who are chronically ill are partially compensated for their "own risk" costs. People with lower incomes (up to €35,059) receive a health care benefit of around €70,- per month from the government. The total cost of the health insurance depends on the kind of insurance and provider you choose. For me it's €24,50 a month for basic + additional insurance, I get discount as a student and I get a health care benefit.

Do you have choices with doctors and hospitals? - I believe people are required to have a general practitioner within their own vicinity but people are free to choose the hospital they want to be treated.
In other words, NL has Obamacare.

I used to live there and was amazed at (a) the low premiums (mine were about €100 per month, paid by my employer), (b) the low prescription costs, and (c) the fact that there are no exclusions for basic coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

BTW and FYI, "eigen risico" is known as a "deductible" in the U.S. A typical private health plan deductible is $2000 per year; some are higher, some lower.
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Old 12-19-2012, 03:51 PM
 
Location: The Netherlands
2,942 posts, read 4,948,803 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pch1013 View Post
In other words, NL has Obamacare.

I used to live there and was amazed at (a) the low premiums (mine were about €100 per month, paid by my employer), (b) the low prescription costs, and (c) the fact that there are no exclusions for basic coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

BTW and FYI, "eigen risico" is known as a "deductible" in the U.S. A typical private health plan deductible is $2000 per year; some are higher, some lower.
Really, is this how Obamacare works as well? I don't understand the objections then, it's a good system, certainly better than the one you had before.

My premium would be around €100 as well without the health care benefit ("zorgtoeslag"). Now I pay only a quarter of that and I'm covered for pretty much anything.

Are you saying that even if someone is insured, he'll have to pay the first $2000,- himself if he needs health care? That's absurd.
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Old 12-19-2012, 04:34 PM
 
Location: San Francisco
9,031 posts, read 9,876,706 times
Reputation: 5744
Quote:
Originally Posted by LindavG View Post
Are you saying that even if someone is insured, he'll have to pay the first $2000,- himself if he needs health care? That's absurd.
Yep, that's in addition to monthly premiums of $200-1000 (if the person qualifies for individual insurance and isn't covered by their employer, as most people are), payments of $20-30 per office visit, co-payments of $20-40 for each prescription, etc.

Of course, many Americans who aren't covered by their employers just decide it isn't worth it to buy insurance -- or are disqualified because of pre-existing conditions -- and do without. When they get sick, they go to a clinic and pay for their care out of their own pocket. A typical office visit costs $100; a month's course of Advair -- a popular asthma inhaler -- is $250. If they're really sick or injured, they go to the hospital and run up huge bills -- $5,000 for a childbirth, $15,000 for an emergency appendectomy, and so on.

Those who are truly destitute can qualify for state-paid health care, but it's difficult to get. Those who are over 65 are covered by the government-run Medicare system.
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Old 12-19-2012, 04:53 PM
 
Location: The Netherlands
2,942 posts, read 4,948,803 times
Reputation: 3424
Quote:
Originally Posted by pch1013 View Post
Yep, that's in addition to monthly premiums of $200-1000 (if the person qualifies for individual insurance and isn't covered by their employer, as most people are), payments of $20-30 per office visit, co-payments of $20-40 for each prescription, etc.

Of course, many Americans who aren't covered by their employers just decide it isn't worth it to buy insurance -- or are disqualified because of pre-existing conditions -- and do without. When they get sick, they go to a clinic and pay for their care out of their own pocket. A typical office visit costs $100; a month's course of Advair -- a popular asthma inhaler -- is $250. If they're really sick or injured, they go to the hospital and run up huge bills -- $5,000 for a childbirth, $15,000 for an emergency appendectomy, and so on.

Those who are truly destitute can qualify for state-paid health care, but it's difficult to get. Those who are over 65 are covered by the government-run Medicare system.
What happens to people who are disqualified because of pre-existing conditions? I mean, presumably they're the ones who need health care the most so there must be some way for them to get coverage?
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