Students at the University of Texas at Austin have a simple question: Why do their parents not understand their insurance situation?
They’re frustrated that insurance companies aren’t providing coverage for things like heart surgery and chemotherapy that would keep them alive.
But they also know they could have it all if they paid out of pocket for medical services, or were able to afford them.
In a recent survey, nearly half of all the respondents said they thought they could live without insurance, and they weren’t alone.
The majority of students said they would pay out of their own pocket for all of their medical expenses, regardless of how much they earn or how much their family earns.
Students say they’re being treated unfairly, but they also worry that if they lost their coverage, they wouldn’t be able to access care, like a heart or a bone marrow transplant.
This week, we sat down with Dr. James E. Gorman, a professor of health policy and management at the Texas Medical Center in Galveston, to talk about why the students in his state are frustrated.
Q: What’s the most frustrating part of trying to keep your coverage?
What’s your main concern?
Dr. Gomer: My biggest concern is that I’m not able to get the care that I need.
And that’s because we have to do a lot of things.
We have to have the surgeries and the treatments and the chemo and the surgeries, and the medicines.
And so when I go to the hospital, I have to get all of those things from the insurance company.
So, your biggest worry is that if I lose my insurance, will I be able or can I afford those things?
Dr Gorman: I think we have a lot more work to do in Texas to try to convince insurance companies to make coverage available to students.
So we have more work than the insurance companies are willing to do.
Q.: But you do have coverage for the drugs that are being used for those surgeries and treatment.
Dr Gomer’s main concern is getting those drugs for free, but he’s not the only one.
The problem is that most insurance companies don’t provide coverage for all those things.
So even if I’m paying for them, the insurance does not cover my treatments or surgeries.
Q; What’s been the most difficult part of this?
Dr S: I don’t know if you’ve ever had a medical problem, and if you have, you have to pay your insurance premium.
And I don- I don.
And when you don’t pay your premium, then you’re left out of the program.
So I- I just don’t understand why.
I- if I had the insurance, I could afford my care, but now I can’t.
And this is not something that you can just buy the insurance and take care of yourself.
So this is a big, big problem.
Q- How does it feel to have a huge bill that’s piling up?
How is your family feeling about it?
Dr H: We don’t have enough money to pay all of our bills.
And the school doesn’t want us to.
So the hospital and the doctors and the hospitals that have paid for all the care and the drugs, and all the tests and all of that stuff, are still waiting to get their money.
Q, What’s it like to live without your insurance?
What are you worried about the most?
Dr E: I- it’s just kind of frustrating.
I mean, we’re just kind- I mean it’s not like we’re in this for nothing.
I’m just trying to make ends meet.
And- I can get food stamps and things like that.
But it’s- it- it just- it sucks.
Qand that’s why the most pressing concern is with the health care system, because it’s going to take a long time to get coverage.
And you know what?
We- we have an idea how to do that, and- and we’ll see if we can make some money on that.
QAnd what do you think that solution is?
Dr A: We have been working on a solution for a long, long time.
And it’s been- it would be- it is a solution that would be really inexpensive and could work for everybody.
Q And what do- what do the students want to see?
What do you hope that you do get out of this survey?
Dr C: We- you know, I hope that they get some answers.
I hope they get a chance to talk to their insurance company about what they want to do and what they don’t want to, and then we can get them covered.
QNow, let’s get into the rest of this week.
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