Health Insurance Is Not Enough If You Are “Really Sick”

Check this out. What you will see is a NYT story reporting the findings of a survey that investigated the experiences of almost 1,500 people in the U.S. who were “really sick.” In a nutshell, what you will see is that our concerns about finances under such circumstances are far too circumscribed. We usually worry about deductibles, copays, etc., and those can indeed add up quickly for the seriously ill. Add up to the point at which the patient is left to decide whether she should pay the electric bill or buy the pills. BUT. Other financial challenges also bedevil the seriously ill. Like a 20% reduction in pay for up to 6 months, or even the loss of a job. 53% of people in the study found that their work had been interrupted as a result of their illnesses, and “health insurance” doesn’t cover that. Bottom Line. The spookiest part about all of this is that patients have no idea what to expect in terms of uncovered medical costs, lost income, etc. With such expenses often coming later in life, financial recovery is often impossible.  I have no profound thoughts about how to fix all of this. But I will ask you to think about the impact that all of this has on our customers, physicians and patients alike. If we are going to lay claim to being “customer centric,” we need to understand such things. “Back stories” are often very important. 

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