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Re: Health Insurance for Engineers

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Chris Wright wrote:
From: Christopher Wright <chrisw(--nospam--at)>
Subject: Re: Health Insurance for Engineers
To: <seaint(--nospam--at)>

On Jun 4, 2005, at 12:10 AM, Randy Vogelgesang S.E. wrote:

> Consider either a MSA or the new HSA.
Consider: Our last two big ailments were a gall bladder problem with complications and a cardiac arrest with stent emplacement, Both were pretty much complete recovery without a lot of additional nasty stuff and cost about $20 grand and $60 grand respectively. The cardiac involved no by-pass or other serious surgery, but a lot of tests and a 4 day hospital stay. Both of these are fairly serious events, but nothing like the financial catastrophe you get from cancer or major long-term disability.

If you've got an 80/20 policy 20% of the total is $16 grand. If you can afford to sit on $16000 in a MSA while you're waiting for disaster, maybe it's for you. For a society that, on average, saves nothing for anything, the notion of MSA's being the magic bullet seems strange. OTOH, before we qualified for Medicare, our last yearly HMO premiums were around $15 grand, and we haven't had dependents since 1994. 

Staying healthy costs the big bucks.

Christopher Wright P.E. |"They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance" (last words of Gen.
.......................................| John Sedgwick, Spotsylvania 

Medical Savings Account - this is the biggest line of BS that the government is trying to give us. You spent a total of $80,000 and were responsible for 20%. I just got the accounting of my one week stay in the hospital and surgery (no doctors fees) and it was over $130,000.00. My wife has a decent health policy (PPO) at the hospital where she works so my out-of-pocket was only $400.00 for the entire thing. If she was not working then I would have to re-mortgage the house. I couldn't put enough away into a savings account at today's interest rates to cover $130,000.00 plus the doctors fees.
For those of you under 55, think about this. Can you really invest enough of your salary and raise your family if one week in the hospital and surgery that was not life threatening would cost you over $100,000.00 each time it happened? What about accidents, illnesses if not to mention the diseases we end up as human beings (Alzheimers, heart disease, Parkinson's, Diabetes, high blood pressure). None of these are elective - they happen and what society would simply tell you to die because you can't afford health care. Worse - if you live, you are indebted for the rest of your life paying off the medical bills if there was no insurance plan.
My point is simple - we can not build enough individually by investing in a Medical Savings plan. However, if the majority of people are healthy, then we can benefit from the contibutions of profits made by the investment of premiums for the group. If you think you can do this alone, then it will take only one illness to prove you're wrong.

There is no reason why we, as a professional group, could not qualify for a group insurance plan. It takes coordination through SEA or ASCE or any organization that would invest in the time to help organize a plan with an insurance provider like Blue Cross. My wife's plan is through the owner of the hospital she works at which is located in Florida. The plan covers all employees to opt into it. If there is a group, even nationally, there can be a choice of policies that each can join with or without existing conditions the same as if they worked for an employer who offered healthcare. The difference would be that the insured pays the entire premium rather than having the association pay into the plan as an employer might.

Seems to me that our professional groups are not considering this important enough - especially if the board members work for companies that already offer them a plan.

Anyone get an idea from this :-) ?  Now run with it as I've done my share and got shot down.

BTW, When I was in the hospital last year (no surgery) I was in Chicago and there was not a hospital that was listed on my approved PPO. I had to pay a few thousand as my 20% of the 80/20 plan. I did get broiled lobster for my last meal - maybe that was worth the $3,000.00. Taught me to get sick close to home next time.


Dennis S. Wish, PE
California Professional Engineer
Structural Engineering Consultant (Photo Blog) (Launch to Professional Discussion Blogs)


760.564.0884 (office - fax)

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