Hello again. I have had an email from a reader in the US, she asks a question. I will try and answer as best I can, but I don't know everything, so perhaps some of our UK readers can help me out here. Please comment with your own experiences of our UK healthcare system. Are you using the NHS at present, no need to go into details about your condition), are you an NHS or private patient? Do you need ongoing treatment or is it a one off? Have you insurance to cover the cost? How do you rate your care? If you don't want to write too much about it you could just answer the US readers question. Thank you for your responses.
I live in the US and have been thinking about the differences in our health care systems since we visited your country in April. I have searched your blog to see if you have posted about this subject and how you deal with the possibility of a health issue in the future. I know you lead a very healthy lifestyle and that you have a NHS in your country. The thing I hear most (and feel myself) is the fear that one illness could ruin a person financially.
Right. How do I deal with the possibility of a health issue in the future? I do not know what the future holds for me, so I don't spend too much time worrying about it. Up to now I have only been a hospital in patient three times in my life. I had my tonsils out at age 10, I had a sterilization at 37, and I had a hysterectomy at 59. The first two were planned, the last one was a shock because up to that time I had been healthy for most of my life. With this track record I am optimistic that my good luck will continue. However, saying that, it may not.
I don't feel the need to do any prepping for something that may or may not happen. If I became ill, I would expect the NHS to look after me, and I will put myself in their hands, and hope they would do their best. I don't have any private insurance to pay for any care I might need. I have an NHS dentist that looks after my teeth, I don't pay a monthly scheme, I pay for checkups and treatment as and when required. Luckily I haven't needed any treatment for about five or six years.
If I were to become ill I would still get my pension. If I needed pills I wouldn't have to pay. I'm not sure if there are things to pay for when in hospital because the last time I was in there eight years ago everything was free. I don't know if it is different now. Perhaps others will know.
I hope to be able to stay in my house for a long time yet, hope that my health holds out and that I can wash, dress, and feed myself. I may have to move to a smaller more easily managed house eventually. I haven't thought about what might happen beyond that, it's too far into the future. One thing I will consider is to find a way to release money from my house and spend some of it to make my life easier. Ideally I would like to die penniless, if that happens then I will have gone full circle, coming in with nothing and going out with nothing. That's fine by me, I can't take it with me and I have no dependents.
You mention that one illness could ruin a person financially. The only thing I know about the US system is that you have to pay for your healthcare through an insurance. I was taken to hospital in an ambulance once while on holiday, in Ohio I think. It was a minor illness that just required antibiotics, the first thing they asked was have I got insurance, and when I answered yes and showed the certificate, they went right over the top, flashing lights, siren, etc. I didn't actually need to go to hospital but they insisted. It must be a worry for you that at anytime you could become ill and your ability to pay would determine what treatment is available to you.
When you think about it I have paid for my healthcare throughout my working life. Luckily I haven't needed to use it very much, but our system where we pay as a collective means that others not so lucky can have access to the care they need. I don't know how much longer that will continue, that's another debate which I don't want to discuss here, so please don't get political. I've had enough of politics.
So, to sum up, the question from our US reader is, How do you deal with the possibility of a health issue in the future? Thank you for the question, and your replies.
It's Tesco night tonight. My fridge is bare and I have a £4 off voucher. I'll go on the yellow sticker hunt. We'll catch up soon.