My personal health care reform involves a fairly simple approach: going without health insurance.
That’s blasphemous to most Americans, especially those who lay sleepless at night worrying about the 50 million (or 46 million or 47 million or 47.5 million — the inaccurate numbers vary depending on the media source or politician) people in the U.S. who don’t have health insurance.
Well, don’t cry for me, universal coverage advocates.
For 0ne thing, instead of insurance, I’ve joined (and work for) a direct-sharing ministry called Samaritan Ministries International. Members send money to other members to help them pay the costs of their medical services. Nothing’s guaranteed; that’s where the God part comes in. We trust one another to meet our needs because of the commitment we’ve made as followers of Christ. I’m also a member of SMI’s Save to Share plan, meaning I’m covered beyond $100,000, and its Motor Vehicle plan.
For another thing, I’ve started seeking out alternative approaches to health care and haven’t been disappointed. For one thing, SMI offers a health reimbursement account and a flexible spending account to employees. These are pre-tax dollars that can be used to pay for medical, dental, vision and other health-related needs.
Today, I had a great experience with another type of alternative approach to health care. After hacking my way through another morning with an annoying cough, I decided enough was enough. I drove a few blocks north to Family Quick Care, a “pay-in-full-at-time-of-service” storefront. Walking in without an appointment (which FQC doesn’t accept, anyway), I was directed to a keyboard, where I typed in my personal information and clicked my way through a symptoms chart.
In a couple minutes, a nurse took me into an exam room, where she quickly determined I have bronchitis. Sitting at a PC, she submitted prescriptions for me to the Wal-Mart next door. I was in there for no more than 15 minutes, maybe as few as 10.
After paying a $39 tab at Family Quick Care, I drove to the Wal-Mart, which had already filled part of my prescription. I walked out 10 minutes later with antibiotics ($4) and an inhaler ($48.75).
I drove back to work and dropped copies of the receipts into the basket for FSA reimbursements.
I had, in less than an hour, accomplished what probably would have taken me all day to do otherwise by calling my family doctor and being put on hold before I could make an appointment for later in the day at his office across the river, where I would have likely waited for 10 minutes to an hour past the appointment time.
And it was all done for $91.75, including office visit and meds — at least $10 less than an office visit at my OSF Medical Group would have cost and for much less than a monthly premium would have cost.