Posts tagged with: health insurance

Rising healthcare costs, unemployment a double whammy

It’s hard enough on people that unemployment rates are at record levels across the country. They also have to deal with rising health-care costs.

The Los Angeles Times today ran a story that pointed out what’s painfully obvious to most of us: Medical bills are pushing more families toward financial ruin.

The Times story cites a Harvard University study that says that medical bills played a significant role in 62 percent of all the bankruptcies filed in the United States in 2007. That’s a big increase from 2001. The same researchers then found that medical bills contributed to 55 percent of all bankruptcies filed.

Pres. Barack Obama has made health-care reform a priority. And the public is certainly in need. The problem is, can we trust the government and the health-insurance industry to work together to come up with comprehensive health-care legislation that actually helps the public?

I don’t know. Government tends to make problems worse, when it isn’t attending to them long after it’s too late.

We’ll find out, though. Obama has asked Congress to provide him comprehensive health-care legislation by October. So some changes are undoubtedly on the way.

So, we’re relying on Walgreens now?

I’m waiting for the day when a Walgreens store opens up next to an existing Walgreens.

The shops already seem to dot every other block in my neighborhood.

Now, it appears that Walgreens may become an important player in the healthcare world. Scary thought.

According to this story by U.S. News & World Report, the Take Care clinics located in many of the country’s Walgreens will offer free healthcare services — for such ailments as skin conditions, respiratory problems and allergies — to people who are unemployed or uninsured. The offer of free care lasts throughout the year.

There is a catch, though: To be eligible, workers or their family members must have visited a Take Care clinic in the past. So head on over to your Walgreens, tell the doc there you’re coughing and buy a cough drop or something.

This is more than a bit depressing, though, isn’t it? We’re looking at Walgreens here as a savior of sorts in the healthcare world. Walgreens! The same place where you can buy chocolate licorice and Pete the Repeat Parrot.

That health-insurance reform can’t come soon enough.

Lost your job? Learn how to keep your health insurance

Losing a job is scary. And the prospect of losing your health insurance because you’re suddenly unemployed is downright terrifying.

Fortunately, there is a resource that the newly unemployed can turn to. The U.S. Labor Department’s Job Loss Resources Web site contains an entire section on how former workers can protect their health coverage and retirement benefits.

This is an issue of growing importance. The majority of U.S. families receive their health insurance through a member’s employer. With unemployment recently reaching 7.6 percent in the United States, more families than ever are facing the frightening prospect of going without health insurance.

Let’s just hope that Pres. Barack Obama wasn’t kidding when he promised to reform the country’s health-insurance system. It’s clear now just how broken it is.