Just a day or two ago I read something that supported a philosophy I followed in an era gone by. There is so little we can control that we should relax and take life as it comes, live more freely, worry less, have more fun.
Yesterday, I had a conversation with a self-employed woman in a family run business. She doubts they’ll ever be able to afford to retire. Another of our business acquaintances recently suffered a debilitating event, which landed her in the hospital. She had no medical insurance. Once she had recovered sufficiently to navigate herself home, she left, against doctor’s orders. Health insurance for her would have cost approximately $20k annually, as part of a group plan. She didn’t have an extra $20k to spend on herself.
I don’t know many self-employed individuals who have a spare $20k to spend on health insurance that they may not use. More precisely, I am not personally acquainted with anyone who is willing to risk twenty-thousand, of their own personal, dollars on a product that may not be put into service. Twenty-thousand dollars is a lot to gamble.
As much as I would like to believe that I am the mistress of my own little universe, it is rarely the case. I am vehement advocate of consumer driven health care whereby (in the words of the egomaniacal W.) I am the decider. With the exception of a few worn parts, that are no longer under warranty, I have been reasonably healthy. On the rare ocassions when I must see a physician, clinical amazement is communicated that I am not on anything, immediately followed by a hard sell for tests to see if there is something I could be put on. I have a comprehensive advance directive (as well as a few control issues) that will save the people I love tens of thousands of wasted treatment dollars and endless agonizing over what I may have wanted. It’s all there in black and white.
Assisted living at a local, hospital owned, retirement community runs $81k annually for a an efficiency apartment. It includes meals, endless bingo and other “activities”, nursing and foot care. I imagine I could find a place to live, and someone to cut my toenails, for less than $81k. The meals may be the exorbitant feature in the package; groceries are pricey.
Recently, I dumped my dentist because it’s office policy to insist on dental x-rays, a needless routine diagnostic to generate income. The x-rays were taken but apparently not reviewed. If they had been, someone surely would have noticed that I was ready to begin teething another damn wisdom tooth here at the half-century mark! I have been completely vindicated by this morning’s sensational news reporting Dental X-rays Linked to Brain Tumors http://www.webmd.com/brain/news/20120410/dental-x-rays-linked-brain-tumors. I perked right up when I saw that on the screen crawl, you KNOW I did. I may send it along to my former dentist, as a public service announcement.
I worry about a future I cannot manage. I don’t worry much for myself. I worry for the people I love. If I have fun today, will it bring hardship on my husband tomorrow? If I don’t have fun today, and nothing catastrophic happens tomorrow, will I wish I had been less cautious?
I am the decider and it’s problematic.