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How many don't have medical insurance? The question came up when I was thinking about many racers and rec riders than don't have insurance and have sustained injuries while riding.

I have medical insurance. I work a unionized part time job with a very low-cost, yet excellent benefits package and it has come in handy several times. A few years ago, I didn't and injured my leg pretty bad and didn't see a doc, but I was one of the lucky ones that didn't have long term damage.
 

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Don't worry, be happy!
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I recall doing medic work at a NORBA downhill. Some guy with a head injury had to be copeterd off the race site, his girl friend is crying "but we don't have insurance" and all I could think about was that maybe he should have considered that before he started racing downhill. :confused: :confused: :confused:
 

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Yup got it through work. I also work parttime at REI and just months ago they finally began offering med insurance to ALL employees. Full time and eligible parttimers (16 hour/week rolling average I think) was available, but not they are offering to all parttimers regardless of how many hours a week they work. There are still some conditions that must be met and those details I am not sure about detail-wise.
 

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Sweep the leg!
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I'm covered by my union's package now but a few years ago I wasn't so lucky. I had been wrongully terminated from a job so the state unemployment benefits were covering me even if COBRA wouldn't. Then I had a motorcycle crash that resulted in multiple broken bones, surgery, MedFlite and a 2 week hospital stay. After PT/OT and everything the total bill was ~$120,000. The State of Wisconsin picked it all up and in the end forced my former employer to pay. One of the many lessons I learned after that was to always have insurance for me and my family. Another lesson was that while a bike can go 160+mph, I need to be on it at that speed... not flying through the air without it.
 

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Crunchatize me Capn'
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nope

I simply can't afford it. Retail wages suck. Can I afford to be without it? Yup...hospitals have to treat you by law.
 

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Dont think it can be considered optional

A few years back I went on a nice long ride with a new bike that I had just built up. Got tired and nearly back to the trailhead took a little spill...somehow managed not get my left arm out of the way as I rolled and broke both bones in my arm just above the wrist. Even with insurance through work it cost me well over 2 thousand dollars, even though that was well above the supposed cap I was to have to pay in a year. I dont want to go into all the games the insurance companies play and also wont go into how certain doctors offices ransom their services. Even without all that BS this accident which consisted of a 1 day surgery, rehab, seeing a specialist and lots of pain meds would have bankrupted me without insurance. You cannot afford to not have medical insurance in the States, especially if you are participating in a sport like mountain biking. My broken arm, with a total of a 6 hour stay in the hospital and two weeks off of work would have cost nearly 100,000 dollars - if I did not have insurance. It would be much higher if it would have included an airlift (approx: 20-30K) or a long stay in the hospital (approx: 5-8K a day)

I will say this again, you can not afford to not have medical insurance if you ride a mountain bike. I wrote this in after seeing your post JC because I wanted to put into perspective what you have to lose riding without it.
 

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Old man on a bike
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COBRA ended and the same insurance company I'd been with for the previous 20 years or so, Blue Cross (3 different plans, two employer one individual), said no on continued coverage on the last employer based plan and invited me to re-apply. I did, and they turned me down on that even though that was a minimal plan with high deductible; I'm not one to run off to a doctor when I get the flu or have an ache or pain. I only want it for the bigger stuff. Maybe it was partly because they had already approved some surgery on my left foot for an arthritic condition, I don't know (never did get that, had a mtn bike crash just before scheduled surgery date but they did pay the bills on the crash as that happened before it lapsed). They did invite me basically to some super-high premium plan with very high deductibles; I decided to self insure for now (I can afford bills).

I'd like to have another proper health insurance plan, and have yet to look more seriously into Kaiser or catastrophic plans for now, but if I rejoin the ranks of the employed I'm thinking a group plan would be fine. I've gone without now for 3.75 years (and I'm well ahead on the self-insure thing based on my COBRA payments).
 

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Daniel the Dog
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Career change?

jabpn said:
I simply can't afford it. Retail wages suck. Can I afford to be without it? Yup...hospitals have to treat you by law.
I paid for my own health insurance when I was a very young buck making $1000 a month. It was $177 a month for major medical. Guys like you jack prices up for all of us because you refuse to take responsibility for your own health coverage. Sorry to be so hard but come on, dude, buck up....

Jaybo

PS I absolutely understand it is difficult for some to get health insurance. However, unless you are disabled and lack capacity. You really don't have an excuse! Most colleges provide group insurance for cheap. Buck up! Believe in yourself and your capacity to be responsible for your own life.
 

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Daniel the Dog
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I have to say it: Idiot!

Caffeine Powered said:
I'm covered by my union's package now but a few years ago I wasn't so lucky. I had been wrongully terminated from a job so the state unemployment benefits were covering me even if COBRA wouldn't. Then I had a motorcycle crash that resulted in multiple broken bones, surgery, MedFlite and a 2 week hospital stay. After PT/OT and everything the total bill was ~$120,000. The State of Wisconsin picked it all up and in the end forced my former employer to pay. One of the many lessons I learned after that was to always have insurance for me and my family. Another lesson was that while a bike can go 160+mph, I need to be on it at that speed... not flying through the air without it.
I'm sure you are a smart guy but that was incredibly dumb. Good lesson....

Jaybo
 

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ride hard take risks
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Lucky me my wife has xcelnt insurance for our family. Another thing that can come up, the delership i worked at was sold, after 2 1/2 years with new owners cant aford to keep me. I get fired after 18 years with the same buisness. Life is always chalenging us you just have to live one day at a time :).
 

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Crunchatize me Capn'
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sorry...completely disagree

CDtofer said:
A few years back I went on a nice long ride with a new bike that I had just built up. Got tired and nearly back to the trailhead took a little spill...somehow managed not get my left arm out of the way as I rolled and broke both bones in my arm just above the wrist. Even with insurance through work it cost me well over 2 thousand dollars, even though that was well above the supposed cap I was to have to pay in a year. I dont want to go into all the games the insurance companies play and also wont go into how certain doctors offices ransom their services. Even without all that BS this accident which consisted of a 1 day surgery, rehab, seeing a specialist and lots of pain meds would have bankrupted me without insurance. You cannot afford to not have medical insurance in the States, especially if you are participating in a sport like mountain biking. My broken arm, with a total of a 6 hour stay in the hospital and two weeks off of work would have cost nearly 100,000 dollars - if I did not have insurance. It would be much higher if it would have included an airlift (approx: 20-30K) or a long stay in the hospital (approx: 5-8K a day)

I will say this again, you can not afford to not have medical insurance if you ride a mountain bike. I wrote this in after seeing your post JC because I wanted to put into perspective what you have to lose riding without it.
You most certainly can afford to be without insurance. You honestly expect me to pay into a system where "My broken arm, with a total of a 6 hour stay in the hospital and two weeks off of work" would cost someone almost $100,000? You're kidding me right? The only reason "prices" are this high is because of the insurance companies. Everything you went through should have been, what, maybe a couple grand? I'll give you five grand tops. I most sincerely believe that this isn't an issue of repsonsibility in life. And "a career change" simply isn't that easy. Especially in Michigan. And no I can't just up and move. Like it or not a lot of jobs out there simply don't pay enough for what you do. To put it another way. If I actually got medical insurance coverage through Home Depot I would have absolutely no use for it. Why? I wouldn't be able to mtn bike. This is a statement of fact, not opinion. Going to school is more important to me than all else right now. When you live on an extremely tight income it's not simply a matter of prioritizing what you want to do. It's a matter of picking one thing to do over all other choices. I choose going to school. And I'm commuting in the winter on my bike because, among other reasons, I can't afford to pay for both gas and insurance for a vehicle and school.
 

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life is a barrel o'fun
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No insurance here, either. Lost my job on a Friday and was off to Colorado for the FFTF the following Tuesday. I was a nervous wreck, but luckily there wasn't anything terribly technical.

I'm tired of relying on cautious riding and luck to get me through. Would like to start pushing myself again some more. No sense in giving up riding completely b/c it helps me stay healthy so that I don't get sick.
 

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jabpn said:
Going to school is more important to me than all else right now. When you live on an extremely tight income it's not simply a matter of prioritizing what you want to do. It's a matter of picking one thing to do over all other choices. I choose going to school. And I'm commuting in the winter on my bike because, among other reasons, I can't afford to pay for both gas and insurance for a vehicle and school.
I'm assuming you are a college student right? If you are full-time...isn't insurance included in your fees? When I was going to school at Boise State University, health insurance was part of our fees and we had the option of receiving a refund on that fee if we had insurance coverage elsewhere (I was under my parents at the time).
 

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Yep, got it! My entire family and I are covered free of charge through my employer. Used it many times. Got a baby gonna pop-out anyday and it won't cost hardly anything! They have awesome benefits.
 

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I have group medical coverage through my employer...and starting January 1 the out of pocket amount goes up by 60 bucks a month grrrrrr!

Looks like I'm going to have to make an extra trip to the ER now to get my $$$ worth :rolleyes:.
 

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BelaySlave said:
I'm assuming you are a college student right? If you are full-time...isn't insurance included in your fees? When I was going to school at Boise State University, health insurance was part of our fees and we had the option of receiving a refund on that fee if we had insurance coverage elsewhere (I was under my parents at the time).
I am a college student but we don't get medical insurance included in the fees. I don't think the students here would go for a mandated medical fee. Especially since tuition went up almost 19%. The "special" student rate for medical coverage works out to almost $600 a semester. I'm not against the idea of insurance but rather how it works here in the US. I've gone into doctor's offices where the have different "prices" for cash patients vs. insurance patients. The same cash bill that costs less than $100 ends up being almost 2 or $3,000 when billed to insurance. Prescription costs are a joke. There are bloody ads on TV to advertise x drug. How expensive was that air spot to buy? Let's not even get into the fact that work places shouldn't be giving health coverage in the first place. Oh I think they should cover work related health care but that's the extent of it. At the same time health coverage should be affordable even for fast food workers to afford. Well anyway lot's of issues etc. etc. I thnk Christine has the right of it. Bike to stay out of the hospital.
 

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Yep, 100% coverage for everything (unless I don't wear a seatbelt, drive drunk or something like that) including perscriptions. Which is good, considering my wife's a T1 diabetic. Insulin, the pump and all the supplies are covered.

Haven't had to use it for injuries, but I've had a hernia repaired and a ruptured appendix cared for all with $0 out of pocket. 1st baby's due in Feb and that'll be all covered, too.

I have ridden without insurance, briefly and felt uncomfortable doing it.
 

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Demon Cleaner
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I have some experience with both of these

jabpn said:
I am a college student but we don't get medical insurance included in the fees. I don't think the students here would go for a mandated medical fee. Especially since tuition went up almost 19%. The "special" student rate for medical coverage works out to almost $600 a semester. I'm not against the idea of insurance but rather how it works here in the US. I've gone into doctor's offices where the have different "prices" for cash patients vs. insurance patients. The same cash bill that costs less than $100 ends up being almost 2 or $3,000 when billed to insurance. Prescription costs are a joke. There are bloody ads on TV to advertise x drug. How expensive was that air spot to buy? Let's not even get into the fact that work places shouldn't be giving health coverage in the first place. Oh I think they should cover work related health care but that's the extent of it. At the same time health coverage should be affordable even for fast food workers to afford. Well anyway lot's of issues etc. etc. I thnk Christine has the right of it. Bike to stay out of the hospital.
You are right about getting a cash discount. You can also usually get payments worked out (no interest). But for most offices, you have to know to ask for a CASH discount. However, it's more like 50-70% off the "sticker" price.

I know because I broke a wrist/arm taking a spill on my bike. No insurance. Paid all of it out of pocket. The lamest part was the emergency room bill. I should really have found a way of avoiding that.

Another issue raised is whether it makes economic sense to have insurance. Health insurance is like most types of insurance. If you have something to loose then it is a very very good idea. It's true the hospital has to treat you if you walk in and will have to eat the bill if you can't pay. However, there are two complications to this plan. First, you won't get all the treatment you might want. I'm righthanded and broke my right wrist. The only way I got a first rate orthopedic and an external fixator was because I put up the cash. Sure the hospital would have cast it up and put me out the door, but I might have lost much of my range of motion in that wrist. Second, the hospital, doctors, etc. will come try to collect. If you have any cash saved, or other assets they can demand payment. Sure, if you have a very low income and no assets you can walk away, but it'd sure suck to see years of house downpayment savings disappear to the collection agencies (or whatever).

Now days I'm nicely covered by work. Hopefully, Murphy's Law remains intact and I will too.
 

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i suspect alot of you folks who can't believe someone would be without insurance don't have a firm grip on what it costs to have insurance these days. i work at a hospital and it only costs me about 60 per month for my family but that's catastrophic coverage. high deductible, bla, bla, bla. please don't crash, please don't get sick. most small businesses simply can't afford to help their employees. for someone who doesn't make much and doesn't have much they are unforunately better off taking their chances and either declaring bankrupcy or or pleading the bill down with the financial people. hospitals do freebees all the time for people who can't afford care. its a writeoff. insurance companies are opportunists and people who play the insurance companies are the devil. its costing us all huge amounts of money. those who don't know would not believe how much of your bill is insurance related. and that's not just your hospital bill. that's almost every bill you pay. everything you buy. liability insurance. malpractice insurance. bla. bla. bla. it just goes on and on. of course if you can afford to ride a bike at 160 you can afford insurance. :rolleyes: easy for me to say. i've been there. i broke my wrist maybe 10 years ago. went to the e.r. i think i had enough insurance to cover the visit but not the aftercare. don't remember exactly. but anyway i had the vet my wife worked for x-ray it. she said it wasn't major and just to immobilize it. now i have somewhat limited movement of my wrist. don't know if i would have had that anyway. :rolleyes: oh well.
 

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jabpn said:
You honestly expect me to pay into a system where "My broken arm, with a total of a 6 hour stay in the hospital and two weeks off of work" would cost someone almost $100,000? You're kidding me right? The only reason "prices" are this high is because of the insurance companies.
Dude, I agree this sucks but the person that would be paying the 100 Grand if you hurt yourself will be you if you dont have insurance. Yes hospitals have to treat you by law - only in the emergency room. Specialists and rehab and pain meds are NOT included in that little law. Structure is right on with what he said. Thats what I was referring to in my original post about doctors office ransoming their services. After my surgery I went to the specialist for the check of my arm and they told me I had to pay $365 up front before I could see the doctor. I did not owe this money, it should have been paid by the insurance company but if I wanted to get rehab I had no choice but to cough it up. Not much of a choice when you are talking about being able to use your dominant hand.

It is not just the insurance companies, it is the cost of malpractice insurance and a list of other things. The reason I said you cant afford to not have it is because you are still gonna get screwed pretty bad even if you do have insurance, but it will be much worse without. If you are a college student and dont have anything to lose thats one thing, but if you have a home or a family you can not live without it. One serious accident would put you (and family) out on the street. It would ruin your life and cause years of suffering - are you telling me that you can afford that???
 
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