Ski Bums and Health Insurance

Ski Bums and Health Insurance

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Ski Bums and Health Insurance

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2138892024_cbecb1b20a It boggles my mind at how many people I speak to in the area do not have health insurance.- Just the other day I was talking to a guy I used to work with, who happens to be an avid skier in the winter and rock climber in the summer, and in casual conversation it came up that this guy doesn’t have any health insurance – something I hear far to often.- To think, a guy that gets 100+ days of skiing and probably an equal amount of days rock climbing has absolutely no coverage in case he gets hurt.- Doesn’t he know that medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy?! I understand that, if you are ski bumming in Tahoe for a year or two, chances are you are strapped for cash, but spending the extra couple of bucks today might end up savin you bundles (both in money and probably bad credit) down the road. Here’s an example to expound my point: Just last season I broke my elbow in a freak accident.- It hurt, but I skied down to the Unofficial House to shake it off.- I was moving it around, debating on whether or not to go to work or the hospital.- It started to swell pretty good so I ended up driving myself to the Tahoe Forest Hospital for an x-ray.- Just to clarify I did have health insurance.

Sure enough my elbow was broken – really broken.- Within 3 hrs. of falling I was fully under and in the operating room getting a metal plate screwed into my arm.- Long story short, I arrived at the hospital at 1, left at 7 that night, had a cast for two weeks, physical therapy for four and was back on the hill in six.- It sucked, but all things considered, it wasn’t that bad.- Then I got the bill – $25,000. The bill was the sum total of about 5 doctors/facilities;

  • The hospital consisting of the xray (actual picture and photographer), the waiting room, operating room, drugs, and recovery room (a rolling bed in a back room for an hour where I sat doped up as my friends made fun of me because I couldn’t eat saltines – $1500 rent)
  • Surgeon and follow up appointments
  • Anesthesiologist
  • Some sort of consultant which I never uderstood
  • Physical therapy

My health insurance – which I received through work for $65/mo – had a $500 deductible, with 70% coverage (leaving me to pay 30%).- 30% of 25,000 equals a lot of money, but a lot less than the full 25k.- Lucky for me, I made so little that year, I qualified for Tahoe Forest’s financial aid so the majority of it was taken care of.- In the end, I think I paid somewhere in the ballpark of $1,500 over a couple of months period and my credit rating was never effected. Lesson learned – I will never again go without health insurance. Since then, I have left that job which leaves me to find insurance on my own.- To do so, I use the website lowermybills.com.- Selecting an individual plan was easy.- Just enter a few facts about yourself, where you live, do you smoke, etc., and it lists plans in your area that you can sort through to find the right plan for you.- I ended up with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) and pay $110/mo with the same coverage I received through my job – 70/30 with 100% preventive care and $500 deductible.- I would have paid $90, but there is a premium for my “retained hardware”.

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