Wednesday, August 5, 2009

And why's our healthcare substandard again?

This week I found myself dealing with one of life's unexpected expenses. Unexpected, because being used to the Army covering all of /my/ healthcare, I never expected to have to pay out the nose for dependent healthcare for something non-cosmetic.

What is it, you ask? Something really simple. Something covered in most company insurances under medical care. Something that seems to be covered by really..everything except Tricare.

Vision.

See, while other healthcare providers recognize that being able to have accurate vision is kind of important, Tricare figures that eyesight is just a luxury. Have a spouse who can't see well enough to drive? Well, clearly they should have gotten a job with their own health insurance, don't you know? What about a kid that keeps bumping into things? Hazard of the profession. You shouldn't have married someone nearsighted.

I'm putting it wide open here. Can anyone figure out exactly why soldiers need to be the only people out there with ridiculously crappy health insurance for dependents? You can't even /buy/ vision insurance as an add-on. Or, anyone have a tricare horror story they'd care to share? Go for it.

4 comments:

Debbie Clark said...

My daughter Michelle is a military dependent on Tricare and she can't get chiropractic care covered. The Navy apparently does have some chiropractors in the Navy, but only the servicemembers have access to them, and not their dependents. The chiropractic care of dependents isn't covered at all.

Myself, I am a Department of the Navy civilian and I do have a purchased vision plan offered to federal employees which I think I pay about $12 a month for and it provides a vision exam every year and a new pair of glasses every other year. But I still had to pay $245 out of pocket for my new pair of glasses a few weeks ago (on top of paying over a hundred dollars a year just for the plan). Vision care is NOT cheap. However, at my previous job at a university, there was only one vision plan offered and it was so bad, I figured it cost me more for the plan than getting it on my own. My office mate at that job did have the vision plan and did get a pair of glasses and she said she wound up paying more than she would have with no plan at all.

As for chiropractic care, unlike military dependents on Tricare, I do have chiropractic care somewhat covered under my health insurance as a Navy civilian, though I still pay about $100 dollars a month out of pocket for what I need to keep my spine well-adjusted (which for me is either getting a chiropractic adjustment every week, or getting a chiropractic adjustment once a month combined with massage therapy, which keeps me balanced longer; either way it winds up about $100 a month out of pocket).

Since I choose alternative health care providers and make other alternative choices in health care, I feel that I have no need for medical care unless an emergency were to arise as the result of an accident or unforeseen event, but I still pay a lot of money every month for my health care plan, which is one of the cheapest that is offered to federal workers.

So, with very little experience with the medical world, my only real complaint is that I pay all this money for my health insurance plan, but other than minimal coverage for some of my chiropractic care, it doesn't really cover my real choices in health care, which are non-traditional and alternative. So I pay for health insurance that I don't use due to treating my health problems in natural, alternative ways. There is no health care plan available that meets my real needs. All in all, I probably spend $200 a month on altnernative health care services and products, on top of paying for a health insurance plan that I don't use but am afraid to reject in case I were in an accident since I don't qualify for Medicare or free medical care as the unemployed or very poor people do.

Personally, I am against socialized medicine on principle, though I'm not passionately against it. Besides disagreeing with the concept of it, I just think it's a bad idea and that it is not economically feasible as things currently stand, unless Americans start taking more personal responsibility for their health, including moving from an obstetrical model of care for pregnancy and childbirth to a midwifery model of care (see http://community.midwiferytoday.com/blogs/jan/archive/2009/08/11/health-care-needs-midwives.aspx ).

I have more or less resigned myself to socialized medicine coming either way (sooner or later), but even if I was for it philosophically, I don't see it as being of any personal benefit to me whatsover and will probably just make my taxes go up even higher. It is still not going to cover my real choices in healthcare, which I am still going to have to pay for out of pocket.

Ironically, it is because of my self-responsiblity and personal choices that I pay for myself that, at age 51, I have never had any need for medical care, and don't anticipate that I will, barring an accident requiring emergency services.

Well, that's my rant for the day, though I'm sure that nobody cares...

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Anonymous said...

Vision coverage tends to be "iffy" whether it is Tricare, federal govt or civilian sector. My gut feeling is the reason for this is that most vision care is considered "preventive" and most preventive care is barely covered by any insurance program. Not right, but it is the way of it for now.

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