Basic questions about American healthcare system
April 26, 2013 6:02 AM Subscribe
I'm a Canadian and somewhat ignorant about the U.S. healthcare system. Some simple questions inside.
posted by barnoley to Work & Money (72 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I had a conversation with a coworker this morning, who I felt was idealizing the financial aspects of living in the U.S. I pointed out that healthcare costs were significantly higher for Americans, and she said that if you had a middle class job, with good insurance, it wasn't really that expensive. That made me question what I thought I knew about the American healthcare system.
So, I have a few questions. I know that people without health insurance are in pretty bad shape. But if you have "decent" health insurance from a pretty good middle class job (say not the best insurance, but whatever would be pretty typical if you have a job that pays ~$50-70K a year and requires a university degree), could someone please explain the following:
- Do you pay the premiums for your health insurance (for basic coverage of seeing the doctor, not drug coverage) or does the employer?
- If you have to pay the premiums, about how much does it cost per month? Is that cost tax-deductible?
- When you go to the doctor, do you have to pay anything? Or is it all paid by your insurance?
- Say you get pregnant and have a baby. Are there any out of pocket costs? Are your prenatal visits covered 100%? When you go to the hospital for a typical vaginal birth, do you have to pay anything? How much? If you have a c-section, are there additional costs? How much?
- Say you get cancer. Are there costs that you have to pay out of pocket, or is it all covered by your insurance?
Sorry if these are stupid questions, I just have no idea. I'm used to showing my health card and not paying a thing. My impression was that Americans have to pay additional fees even with insurance... but maybe that's just Canadian fear-mongering? Or maybe you have to pay fees, but just very low nominal fees?
Thanks for any and all insight you can provide.