published: Friday, September 07, 2012
Forget estimates, get real about health care costs
Fidelity Investments has estimated the lifetime health care costs for a 65-year-old couple who retire in 2012 and live the normal life until death (men 82 and women 85). The study assumes that neither the man or the woman have company-paid health benefits. The current estimated out-of-pocket health care cost for a couple would be $240,000 not including costs for their dentist.
An Employees Benefit Research Institute study in 2011 found similar results. A 65-year-old couple with normal prescription drug costs would need $287,000 to have a 9 percent chance to cover all of their medical expenses.
O.K, so much for estimates. "Let's get real."
My wife and I are senior citizens on a fixed income. I keep close track of our health care costs. We have Medi-care A and B and D (for my wife). As a veteran, I get my expensive drugs and hearing aids from the Veterans Admin-istration. We have Medigap supplement insurance from Blue Cross. Our out-of-pocket medical costs for 2010 including eyeglasses were $14,400, and for 2011 were $11,250.
We get a few medications from Canada in an attempt to stay out of the donut hole.
I don't wish to contradict Fidelity but my guess is that a 65-year-old couple will need a lot more than $240,000 to stay off Medicaid, a program for the poor.
We live in the richest country in the world. Why don't we have health care for everyone like the world's other 23 civilized countries? The Germans have had health care for everyone since 1883.
It's for certain, our health care problem will never get fixed unless you and your congressman fix it. Does Congress have the guts to take on powerful lobbyists from the pharmaceutical companies and the AMA? Are political contributions more important than your health? Apparently they are.
Dick Sether | Leesburg
Affordable Care Act has built-in payment options
Many argue that the cost of the Affordable Care Act will outrun the benefits of the law. It's very unfortunate that the part of the law that explains the issue of paying for it is so little discussed or explained. All we've heard about in the news is how kids under 26 will still be insured and that kids with asthma will still be covered and that people with cancer can't be canceled.
But who is going to pay for all this?
Built right into the law, beside the individual mandate, are provisions that require payments from drug manufacturers, insurance companies and other medical service providers, as well as the recovery of fraudulently claimed payments, and a tax on only the upper portion of profits made on house sales only by wealthy people.
In addition to these funds, making more people healthier will reduce costs by eliminating the need for so much medical care.
This plan has been scored successful by the independent, nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
And what about your freedom, and being forced to buy insurance?
If you already have coverage, you're exempt. If you don't have insurance and don't want to get any, that's O.K. too, but your share will be the penalty-tax. The money collected from this penalty-tax will help pay for your admission to the emergency room when you finally do get sick and have no insurance.
Heather Rabinowitz | The Villages
Do you think you're better off today than in 2008?
In a recent speech, the president said Mitt Romney "will take us back to the 1950s." Well, let's take a look at the '50s.
Throughout the 1950s, unemployment averaged 4.3 percent compared to today's "official" 8.3 percent rate.
From 1950 to 1959, the standard of living rose and the total number of women employed rose by almost 20 percent.
Gas was 23 cents per gallon, bread was 18 cents, the average car cost was $2,050 and the median house price was $11,700.
God and country were synonymous.
The booming prosperity of the 1950s helped to create a widespread sense of stability, contentment and consensus in the United States.
Didn't our current president promise to bring that sense back to our country during his campaign in 2008? Are we on the right path today? Our current president thinks that things are better now.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, unemployment rose from 4.6 percent in 2007 to 8.3 percent in 2012. Additionally, gas prices rose from $2.56 to $3.60, and the national debt rose from $8.84 trillion to almost $16 trillion (and still rising).
Here's the question you should be asking yourself as you go to the polls in November: Are you better off today than you were four years ago?
Barbara Stickler | The Villages