The Real Cost Of Private Medicine

After my post about going to see the doctor yesterday, my dear blogging friend Kim sent me a link to a very interesting video. This may be of great interest to British readers.

Few of us here know much about private health care, although a percentage of people do pay into a scheme to get preferential, or faster treatment. Having a pet might make you realise just how expensive treatment and drugs can be these days, as I have found out with Ollie’s trips to the Vet.

In this short film, random people on a British street are asked to guess the cost of medical treatments and drugs in America, for example an asthma inhaler.

Their answers are very interesting.

Given the recent publicity about government ministers considering significant changes to the NHS and overall healthcare provision in this country, this is something we all need to be aware of.

In the UK, an ambulance callout costs you £0 in medical bills. The birth of your child costs you £0 in medical bills. In the USA, it’s a different story.

99 thoughts on “The Real Cost Of Private Medicine

  1. Here’s an article about mediacal costs in the US. It might interest you.
    https://is.gd/n84NdU
    I’ve posted about that subject myself [https://wp.me/p4uPk8-1Pv] , and intend to do so again soon, after my doctor-prescribed cough medivation [60 capsules] would have cost me $2400!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Liz. Of course, I agree. It is still very good here at the moment, and a great contrast to the USA, as can be seen from the video. But the new government has plans to try to erode the system, so we will all have to be alert.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think a lot of people in the UK are suffering from cognitive dissonance, Pete. They know the NHS is vitally important, but they were prepared to let the Tories back in with a thumping majority for their own personal reasons, whilst ignoring the proven fact of how mendacious Johnson is. When the penny drops, and the NHS is fully privatised along vulture-like US lines, they will wring their hands and moan: “Why didn’t anyone warn us this might happen?” D’oh!!! Cheers, Jon.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Not only are the expenses outrageous in America, but the insurance companies control everything. There’s always a bit of mystery. Will my insurance company cover this? It seems like it should be black and white, but there’s way too much gray in my opinion. The insurance people on the phone have different views also. I’ve learned that a lot is determined by how the doctors bill something.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your system gives me the shivers, Pete. They seem to make up the costs based on what they think you can pay. When one of my friends was taken ill on holiday in America years ago, his travel insurance covered the bill. But he got a copy of the full account, and was amazed to see three pairs of disposable gloves billed at $6 a pair.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

      1. My first two children were born in a private clinic in Johannesburg. We had medical aid so only paid a portion of the bill (which had to be paid before I and the baby were allowed to leave the clinic!) Every item such as a cotton wool pad, a tablet, a suture, was itemised and charged. We certainly take this for granted in our hospitals.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sometimes things aren’t approved, and they resubmit the claim, and then suddenly they are. It doesn’t make much sense, but without insurance, we’re screwed.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. The one big failing of the NHS though is dentistry. We have struggled to find an NHS dentist for years wherever we have lived. And with no private health insurance simply having a check-up is over £50. No wonder the teeth of the nation are in such bad shape.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When we moved here, we couldn’t get on the list of any local dentist. So we reluctantly went to a local private practice, only to be surprised to discover that it cost little more than NHS treatment these days. I agree that the NHS has failed dentistry, also chiropody and some other non life-threatening areas. It is probably too late to get that back now.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  5. I’ve seen this before. The so called American Healthcare system is disgusting, Pete. I am daily thankful for our NHS. I shudder to think that we may lose it, although I do think people would kick off big style if someone tries to make it all private and bring in bills for treatment.

    Human life should NEVER be about money. It’s shocking and baffling to me that so many ordinary Americans get scared or really hostile when some in their own country mention wanting to make their healthcare like ours. How the hell can someone object to that? You get FREE at point of delivery/service healthcare! Operations, seeing a doctor/nurse, mental health services, treatment, childbirth etc are all FREE here. We also don’t charge for ambulance, paramedic, or GP call outs. I can’t believe some people think that it is fine for a health system to be provided to them like that.

    People have lost homes and money paying for operations or trying to pay medical bills in America. That is so wrong. Others have/are putting off treatment because they can’t afford it. I’ve also read some insane and awful stories about the problems with the insurance companies and what people have to go through with them too.

    You’ve got to laugh how that country is still referred to by many as the “greatest” in the world. Yeah, right!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Possibly the worst part? Us American taxpayers actually fund the drug studies and trials that create all the new drugs that the pharmaceutical industries then slap a patent on and turn around and sell back to us at such markups that we all start going into bankruptcy to afford them. It is truly sick.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I’ve had experience of both NHS treatment and private treatment, which is basically the same except that you can jump up the waiting list if you go private. My husband’s employers pay monthly for us to have private medical insurance, but we do have to pay a third of the charges. I only use it if it’s an emergency, but fortunately I haven’t needed urgent treatment for a long time. It’s the difference between having to wait 18 weeks for a GP referral to a specialist on the NHS, or seeing the same specialist the next day or the day after in a private hospital.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sadly, that queue jumping you mention reflects on the NHS. In many cases of Private Treatment, (and I speak from my EMT experience) a consultant will cancel an NHS operation to earn £1500 plus for a similar easy private procedure the same day. Something I have personally never been happy about.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. The thing about costs for anything connected to medical issues in America is the costs are not real, neither are they fixed. A prescription for drug might be $87 for a pharmacy issue for 30 days, and $18 for an insurance covered Rx (plus whatever the insurance company pays an that is negotiated with pharmacies) for a 90 day supply. I understand we pay the highest prices for prescription drugs in comparison to what drug companies charge in the rest fo the world. Doctor fees are the same–nonfixed and very high. the major thing to understand about private medicine is it is very expensive since it is supposedly a free market but the only thing free in the market is the pirates who overcharge. Warmest regards, Theo

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Our public healthcare no longer provides a decent service, Pete. There are cockroaches in the hospitals, patients have to take their own bed linen and the care provided by the nursing staff is often very poor. Everyone who can afford it [and some that really can’t] have had to resort to private healthcare. We pay just under GBP 600 a month for our private medical aid and when Michael is sick, which is often, I can spend an additional GBP 300 per month [this is our winter average].

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Hi Pete, the wheels for a move to the UK are in motion. My oldest son has two years of high school left so we hope to get him through high school here so he can go straight into University in England. We are coming over in 2020 to look at Universities for him. My younger son can go into A levels at that point so it works well.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Reblogged this on From Cave Walls and commented:
    In the U.S. it is a different story indeed. My daughter’s stay in the hospital for her recent hysterectomy was in excess of $100,000. Luckily she has good insurance. That is not always the case for everyone. Medical expense is the number one reason for personal bankruptcy in the U.S.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I would have no problem with that Pete. But as you said the amount here is obscene. I was a town/state employee in Massachusetts for twenty-six years before having to take early retirement/disability. The town pays 70% of the insurance they offer, yet Tom and I would still have to come up with over $900 for our portion of the monthly premium. And even with that exorbitant sum, I have to pay extra for things like mammograms which under Tufts is a $100 co-pay. And then there’s the doctor’s visits, prescriptions, etc. Oh, and dental is separate and over $40 a month which will get you two annual exams and half off your fillings, nothing else. So in total we’d have to come up with over $1,000 a month. That’s more than our monthly rent, including utilities! Please forgive my rant. I’m really upset and quite bitter.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I can totally forgive any rant, Kim, because it is just unacceptable when you have worked hard all your life, then become ill. We can only hope that this new government here doesn’t covet the same kind of profits that Big Pharma enjoys in your country.
          Best wishes, Pete. x

          Liked by 1 person

  11. American private health costs are outrageous and only the very wealthy can be assured of any reasonable care. The less wealthy; the working class and the poor have to rely on insurances that take great delight in refusing to pay for things …pre-existing conditions are ordinarily rejected for coverage — If some medical service exceeds what some controlling people regard as “Exceeding customary and normal charges, you are shit out of luck ….a single aspiring can cost as much as $5 usd for the pill and $25 for some medical assistant or nurse to administer it to the patient — drug costs are out of sight …. some patients are paying more than half their income just to get their medicines … and some of those medicines are often critical to life and health or death — cancer drugs are one example — But if you are an illegal immigrant the story is entirely different. Not only do the illegals get stipends, they also receive free medical care for themselves and for their dependents, they receive rental subsidies for living quarters, free groceries and essentials ….I sometimes think it might be better to give up citizenship and declare myself as an immigrant in order to live more or less free on the give away programs paid for by the working class Americans. It is definitely a mess!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Perhaps you should fly over here and stay on in the country illegally, John? You would be well looked after medically in Beetley, I assure you. 🙂
      Many thanks for your on-the-spot comments about the costs in America.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. You are talking about a country that glorifies predatory capitalism. Thus health care is seen as a commodity and not as a human right. Republican philosophy is basically well if you can’t afford it you don’t deserve it. Thousands have lost their homes and lives because of high medical bills – probably millions over the years. Let’s hope your new British Etonian fop doesn’t cave to the clamor by American companies for access to your health markets. Unfortunately now Britain, with little bargaining power particularly when it looses Scotland and Ireland to the EU, will be at the mercy of the bigger markets – China and US. I think in this complicated world of free trade agreements and quid pro quo’s smaller markets loose and so do the people in them. Whether we like it or not we’re in a global capitalist world whether we like it or not. Add climate change to the mix and don’t worry about health care – in fifty years they’ll be much bigger issues.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. We have a friend who just paid £400 for private treatment on his foot. (Arthritis) It didn’t work, and they told him ‘nothing was guaranteed’. He is now trying to get referred to the NHS hospital.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I didn’t understand why so many people have turned against him. I think he has been the best Labour leader for donkey’s years!
      (Except for giving in to the demand for that second referendum of course)
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  13. And coming here soon! As for the pharmaceutical companies – they seem to have no moral compass whatsoever. The cost of manufacturing many drugs is miniscule compared to what the drug companies charge the NHS. The same drugs can be bought in the market in some countries – no need for a prescription – for pennies.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Mary. This is an issue we all need to be aware of.
      When I was on Statins, (I no longer take them) the doctor told me they cost the NHS 20 pence a week. In America, they cost a great deal more of course, and then the patient pays a surcharge on top of that. I think it is high time that GPs stopped prescribing drugs like paracetamol and aspirin though, as they are incredibly cheap to buy in supermarkets now.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree about not prescribing paracetamol and aspirin. Of course, it’s going to be a hard slog to persuade people they should buy them over the counter – especially here where prescriptions are free, so the sense of entitlement rises. Much education needed.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. The price of pharmaceuticals is outrageous, but the drug companies will counter that it’s not the manufacture that incurs the cost but rather the research and development that years later finally put those pharmaceuticals in the marketplace.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Quite easy to counter their argument with the length of time since basic drugs like aspirin, paracetamol, and penicillin have been on the market. Their development costs have been recouped a million times over.
        Best wishes, Pete.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Here in our country Pete, medical bills are so costly unless you have an insurance but medicines are not free. They are even more expensive. If you are in dire need of treatment and you have no money, good luck. You can’t rely on govt. hospitals to have those complete facilities for your treatment.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Amazing! It goes to show. Although, to be honest, it’s not that surprising. I was in the US in 1998, as a student, and had to take a health insurance, of course. Even then, I was assaulted while I was there (nothing major, but still), and the police took me to a hospital. They literally gave me an ice-pack and did an X-ray (I knew there wasn’t a fracture but…) and even with the insurance, I had to pay $500. And one of the girls who was studying with me, separated from her husband, was left with a $15000 bill for the treatment of a kidney stone, and that was a long time ago so…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. From what I read on the blogs of my American friends, the cost of healthcare there is spiralling. There have been huge increases (unjustified) in the cost of things like Diabetic drugs, and they have put measures into place to stop people buying them more cheaply from other countries.
      No wonder they call it ‘Big Pharma’!
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

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