Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Universal Health Care

I have had a lot of questions about our Health Care system in Canada. I am far from an expert but like anyone who has been around for more than a half century I have had some interactions with the system and have formed some opinions. For the most part I think we have a great system. Yep, we have some waiting lists, but I don't know anyone who needed care immediately who didn't get it damn quick. If your knee is bothering your golf game though you may have to wait awhile until the guy who can't walk is looked after. Acute things like Heart problems and Cancer are looked after immediately in my experience. I suppose like all things there are exceptions but as a rule things happen in a timely fashion.
There is a misconception, mainly in the US, that our Health Care is free. Well that is not true, our taxation system is different, we pay higher income taxes, higher sin taxes and higher taxes on our gas and diesel. Those things all help pay for that "free" health care.
One of the nice things about the Canadian system is that all you need is your health care number and you are off to the races when it comes to getting started at the doctors or the hospital. No fuss, no muss, no money changes hands.
Today we had an encounter with the American system. Brenda has had a sore arm for a while and it has spread from her elbow to her wrist and up to her shoulder and neck. Today we figured we should get it looked at. First we went to one clinic that told us they don't deal with Canadian insurance or travel insurance and we would have to pay them up front for everything, before they actually do anything. Surprisingly they were more expensive than the clinic down the street who are insurance company helped us find. We started off with our travel insurance provider. Although they were helpful they sure needed a ton of information about Brenda, my policy, the clinic we had chosen, and the doctor that was assigned. It probably took an hour to get all the information recorded so that we could go ahead and actually see the doctor. After the appointment we needed to call back and give a blow by blow of the diagnosis and the follow up. The clinic here in Yuma doesn't want to bill the insurance company for more than 20% so we paid them 80% up front, before you see the doc, as well as covering the cost of the prescriptions. I am sure our insurance company will reimburse us for the cost but kind of strange that they will bill them for 20% but we have to cover the rest. I'm thinking Manulife is probably a better credit risk than me.
But you are right there are no lineups, I guess folks here better stay at work so they can pay the doc up front.
As for the arm, the doc says here in Yuma he treats a lot of aches and pains and stiff joints so he is pretty sure he is on the right track. We have a bunch of drugs including one our vet has Socks on at home so I guess we will see.


  1. Hope you are feeling better Brenda but probably was that tunnel thing, or is it tennis elbow some people get from vegas not sure though get well soon. Love you

  2. You will have to keep us updated on how getting reimbursed from the insurance company goes. I tend to agree though - we do have a good system - even if we some times have to wait.