Health Care and Why I May Stay In Europe

Not all my blogs posts will be about sex or kink or traveling.  Today is one of those days.

 

Living in Cyprus and traveling around Europe has made me more aware than ever about what we are lacking in the United States (this has nothing to do with Trump, btw, this predates him).  One of the things that I’ve noticed is the access to health care and the costs.

 

This blog post was prompted by a conversation I had with a friend about maternity leave here in Cyprus and also a post by another friend (currently living in Europe and back visiting the states) about the cost of health care.

 

Maternity Leave
Government Subsidize Maternity Leave  is universal with the exception of just a few countries.  Guess what the only “first world” country to not have maternity leave is?  Yup, the good old USA.

 

My friend was actually stunned when I told her that we didn’t have maternity leave in the US and that most employers didn’t offer much, if anything.  She had been complaining about how little the maternity leave in Cyprus was (four months) and that where she was from in Slovakia it was more like 6 months.  After doing some research it varies a lot from country to country AND it’s way more than we get in the US.

 

 

General Health Care:  States VS Europe
Before I retired, I had really good insurance (paid for by the Center) even before the “Affordable” Care Act.  Sadly, because of the pushback by the Republicans, Obama had to compromise on his health plan and the result was, that for many of us,  the cost of insurance increased.  It isn’t really that affordable, even with the tax credit (that the IRS could require you to reimburse partly when you file taxes).
Before the ACA my very comprehensive insurance was a little over $300 a month.  After the ACA it slowly rose to almost $800 a month (all be it a bit better insurance) and even with my tax credit it was over $400 a month.  My co-pays were low and it covered most everything (except dental…my pre ACA insurance covered dental).  Although, going through cancer I did have a few large expenses, such  is extra costs for my MRI for the most part I didn’t have to pay out too much over my insurance.  If my work had paid for my insurance I probably would have had to get the cheapest available which would have meant lousy coverage.

 

My insurance in Cyprus is 180 Euros ($210 US) A YEAR and covers up to 4000 Euros a year(it’s a very cheap and low coverage plan and it’s way better than anything I’ve had in the states)
Without insurance the average cost of a doctor visit in the US is $120; in Cyprus I paid 50 Euros ($58 US).   The average cost of a D&C with biopsy is around $4000 and that probably doesn’t cover all the hospital costs. My total cost was 850 Euros ($995 US)  and I’ve been told that is expensive because I went to a private hospital.  The average US cost of PAP and ultrasound $700, I paid 120 Euros ($140US)

 

Other things to note.  When I go to the doctor I usually get there early and I usually see the doctor early.  If I go see the doctor to find out results of tests, there is no charge.  When I asked my regular doctor for a referral to a gynecologist, he got on the phone, chatted a few minutes and personally escorted me to the gynecologist, who immediately gave me a PAP and did an ultrasound and my regular doctor didn’t charge me for my consult.  In the states they would not be done in the same office or by the doctor and probably not on the same day.  Way more civilized.

 

I’m currently on Social Security and currently make a little over $1000 a month.  I went on Social Security a year early when I retired, so I took small dip in how much I get a month.  When I turned 65 Social Security signed me up without asking for Medicare Part B and immediately started deducting more than $130 a month. WITHOUT MY PERMISSION.  I don’t need the plan and yet, in order to remove it I have to have a in person interview and it will cost me a surcharge to reenroll at a later date.  Our messed up plan has made it even harder for me to afford to live in the US.

 

This is just some of many reasons I’m hesitant to move back to the states.

 

My next post will be more fun, I promise.  In the meantime, do what you can to change the health laws.  Big Pharma and the insurance companies do not have to control our health.

7 comments

  1. Rick B. says:

    Allena—

    I’ll be watching your discussions here closely. Right now, I’m in a good place. Good primary insurance as a federal spouse plus Social Security picks up the remainders in most cases. When I refill my medications I get generics if available and pay an embarrassing low amount. At my current age of “pushing 70” there are all too many of those medications.
    I consider myself a true patriot. I enlisted during a war that I hated. I love my country. I hate much of what my country has done over the years, and I hate my current government. I live in a beautiful place and never plan to leave. We are planting fruit trees I’d like my great-grandchildren to play under.
    That said, if the current fascist take-over continues and makes it untenable for my honey to continue her federal employment, we’ll have to keep our options open.

      1. Rick B. says:

        Understood. Mine isn’t all that much for all those years of labor, but even so we would not be in good shape without it.

  2. Ms. D says:

    I pay NOTHING in Canada.

    Yes there are wait lists for surgery.

    SOME pharmacist not covered.

    On social security I pay for glasses, dental and some prescribed.

    No charge for any tests. Breast cancer scare a few months back all tests done within a week.

    Rinky-dink town send an email to specialist and get personal response OR call her cell number. NO referral after first one required.

    Post menopausal (had elective hysterectomy (partial) in 40s.

    Any citizen… Or visitor in an accident or medical issue that requires life sustaining care…WHEN semi-alert.. Just sign = automatic coverage.

    Big time business anchor babies that many here are anti. Personally rather than anti-immigrant…bring on another wave of tax payers. The biggest % of inhabitants are baby boomers that lived to party and bodies are will need assistance.

    We own several properties.. Rather my plaything does…we do not travel to the USA without 100% medical including flight back to Canada ASAP as too many others we personally know have horror stories of what a heart attack or broken leg cost them south of 49th. Plaything is 12 years newer version than I now travel medical is getting pricey and the orange plague 1950s earlier makes it really difficult for me to ponder going there.

    It was bad enough to have, always, at the back of my mind.., be super nice ha never know who has a gun now as you are in NRA land NOW all the mass shootings = fuck no. Family can visit me here

    I am real glad I have a variety of levels of email addresses as I read reports that orange thing will be a tiny prick about expressing opinions FFS

  3. internetking ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    so i am understanding Rick and Allena, when you retire, the social security amount depends on how much work you do and how long, etc?

    Rick – haha I agree that Trump is a fascist. 🙂

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