Letter to the Editor
I’ve told many Canadians who’ve asked: “Medicare is not the reason I immigrated to Canada, but without Medicare, I’m pretty sure I could not have made that choice”.
In January 2002, as the result of a corporate merger and downsizing, for the first time in my career I found myself looking for work. I was allowed to keep my employer-provided family health insurance coverage for 18 months under the Continuation of Benefits law (COBRA) law. I had to pay the full group insurance premium (which was previously covered by my employer). It was just over $700/month. Which was excellent, I thought, because the cheapest insurance I could find with comparable coverage for a family was about $1200/month.
A friend of mine, who had been employed with various NASA contractors for over twenty years, lost her job with the United Space Alliance (USA) at Marshall Space Flight Center on Redstone Arsenal Alabama after NASA cancelled the Space Shuttle program (about ten years ago). Under COBRA, she kept the same group insurance coverage she had, but was paying the full premium. Her monthly premium was $1381.69. During the 5 months it took her to find a new job, she paid $6908.45 for health insurance, even though she had had no income.
If she had chosen to drop the insurance coverage, she would have a “lapse in coverage” which would mean that “pre-existing health conditions” would apply when she was picked up by her new employer’s insurance. She kept her insurance primarily to avoid that lapse in coverage. That catch-22, incidentally, was one of the things that was eliminated by Obamacare.
She told me, “Our house payment is $735/month. So before we turn on the first light, flush the first toilet, eat the first bite of food, or start our car, we’re out over $2000.”
And I said, “screw living in the U.S.”
In 2020, the average cost for health insurance in the U.S. was $456 for an individual and $1,152 for a family per month. ( source )