US Medical Insurance

In most of the third world, you can only get good medical care if you can afford it, and for most people it isn't an option. When Tessa and I were touring India a few years back, she had a cold that was turning into bronchitis, we were rich tourists by local standards and had medical insurance but for reasons that really aren't worth dwelling on at length the only doctor I could get Tessa to was a night clinic in the shops by our hotel. The Dr there charged us Rs 50/- (About 2 NZ $) for the consultation and a course of medicine cost another Rs 100/- for us a trivial amount, but for the average Indian manual worker at least 2 days pay. In retrospect we think we probably stumbled across a charity clinic and if our $6 helped provide a doctors visit for a couple of locals then I don't mind. If they'd asked I would have donated a bit more than that.

The first world on the other hand largely has socialised medicine, a visit to a doctor here probably costs at least NZ$ 70, but various government subsidies bring that down to $20 to 30 and if you need to go to hospital the tax payer picks up the whole tab. Most other first world nations are similar although details vary from country to county. For reasons that are obscure, the glaring exception to this is the USA, and for once we have it so much better. Over there, if you aren't super rich, don't have health insurance and get sick you are worse off than those Indian workers, from what I understand the charity clinics provide almost no help.

This has made an enormous opening in the market for companies offering lower cost insurance offerings. Have a look at this site HCI Medical "People are finding it difficult to obtain and keep sufficient coverage at a cost they can afford. Unfortunately, healthcare insurance costs continue to rise." And goes on to point out that Americans need medical insurance to protect from the costs of medical disasters. [...] Having medical insurance is essential when it comes to keeping yourself protected from the expenses associated with medical disasters."

All I can say is that for once we seem to have it better than they do.