Is it irrational to buy health insurance when eligible for Medi-Cal?
April 15, 2014 12:56 AM Subscribe
Because my livelihood currently derives from the regular receiving of a remittance from my family, I'm without taxable income and thus eligible under the Affordable Health Care Act for California's state-funded health insurance Medi-Cal. At the same time, I'm in a position to purchase low-grade private health insurance without terrible hardship. Medi-Cal seemed to make sense because it is basically free health care, and I signed up. Mefites have also written positively about it. However, looking now at the stripe of participating providers and hospitals, and, especially, looking at the extremely negative yelp.com reviews that have been posted of these providers and hospitals, I have become scared.
posted by bertran to Health & Fitness (20 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
A close family member was in the hospital recently for an extended time. Which sensitized me to the very significant impact the level of competence of nurses and specialists has on patient survival. The nurses in intensive care were apparently highly skilled, and the hospital's specialists distinguished. However, in critical situations the designated people could make wrong calls, not notice truly life threatening developments for what they are, or have no good guess as how to diagnose serious issues. One was grateful if there happened to be someone around who is on top of things. I imagine with less skilled nurses and less distinguished specialists, the opportunity for inadequate response would only increase. I also imagine the skill levels of surgical teams and the like vary considerably.
So I am worried that if some major medical situation were to arise, my chances of making it out alive or intact or less severely damaged would be substantially less with the lower grade Medi-Cal providers than with the providers from, for instance, Blue Cross, with whom I've had insurance in the past. Less enough, anyway, to outweigh the advantage of Medi-Cal's being free. Free isn't so good if you end up, say, dead, when you wouldn't have been if you'd paid some.
What do you think? Is this a rational fear? Would it be wise to not eat out so much, etc., in order to stay with Blue Cross? Or is the probability of the differential I'm worrying about occurring vanishingly small?
I'm 46 years old and in more or less good health.
(Note: It's arguable that persons such as myself were not the real target to receive free health care when the Act was being conceived. But this is not my issue. I'm personally okay, ethically, exploiting, in effect, a loophole in the law as written if it otherwise makes sense. My issue is whether going with free health care will place me in greater danger in the case of a major medical situation.)