Us and Them: The Great Healthcare Divide

I left my glasses in Tacoma. That's really bad. Especially since I had a good book, a good magazine and eight hours of flying ahead of me. I'm as blind as a bat when looking at objects close to me. Needless to say, it was a miserable flight as I couldn't read.

When I got home, I opened the bills and started to pay them, but was squinting and thought better of it. Not wise to pay bills when you can hardly see. I could have wiped out our checking account, underpaid a bill or paid it on the wrong date. So, I made an emergency eye appointment yesterday. I was due for an exam anyway. I was super-excited to learn that I would get a fantastic discount on my new glasses due to a promotion (bought two pair - sometimes I do learn my lesson the easy way).

I called my husband with the great news. He didn't get it, exactly.

Hey, I saved over $300. Can you believe it?


Yeah, $300.

Now, I admit that I have very funky eye problems, so my prescriptions are always a bit expensive. Plus, I buy glasses that are going to last me forever. I need them in order to function, so it's one area where I don't skimp (the other area is toilet tissue because a chapped arse isn't very comfortable....). But given that I saved a ton of dough, I expected my husband to turn back-flips like I did. He didn't.

Wha? Don't glasses cost, like $30?

$30? Yeah, in, like, 1950...

Then it hit me. When my husband was issued reading glasses a couple of years ago, he just walked in the clinic, had his eye exam and picked out his glasses. In fact, he was given two or three pairs of glasses. And that was the end of that. He didn't have to look for a doctor who accepts TRICARE, file paperwork, figure out if he fell into a certain category so his glasses would be covered, or worry about how much the frames he selected would cost. He's active-duty. No questions, no taking out the checkbook. So, he has no idea what glasses cost. And that's a good thing. Well, until I have to buy glasses.

This episode reminded me of two other incidents. Both of us went to the doctor around the same time a couple of years ago. Ironically, both of us found out we had hernias. My doctor told me it was no big deal, that people live with hernias all the time and unless it became uncomfortable, to just deal with it. His doctor told him, "Hey, dude, we gotta take care of this thing now." And they did. Ha! I see where I rate....

That same year, I had some dental issues. I had a double root-canal (ouch), cracked a tooth and had to have two very old fillings replaced. Needless to say, I exceeded my $1800 yearly allotment and had to pay out of pocket. I had no choice, unless I wanted to run around with angry gums and teeth, and trust me, that isn't good for anyone. My husband couldn't believe the bill. Again, he has no concept of what healthcare costs because he never has to worry about it.

I'm not complaining at all because thankfully, I have had to pay very little out of pocket over the years, and I've never had a bad experience with TRICARE, but it does crack me up that my husband has no understanding about how different my healthcare plan is from his. 

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