Borzykowski: Would you pay for health care?

If two-tiered health care ever becomes reality, financial planning would dramatically change.



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From Bryan Borzykowski’s In the Money blog.

If you’ve already checked out of work, or stopped watching CNN for the holidays (turning off Wolf Blitzer for two weeks is all I want for Christmas) you may not be aware that Americans are one step closer to getting comprehensive health care. Yesterday, the U.S. senate voted in favour of a new health care bill, and while there are still plenty of hurdles legislators need to overcome, it looks as though a major change is coming to the way our southern neighbours pay for the doctor.

I applaud them — I like our system (and their system is by no means going to be like ours) — but I have been wondering lately, how much would I pay for a procedure? For years Canadian politicians have been discussing a two-tiered health care system, is it time to revisit that? Is it worth paying to get seen faster? I can think of a few cases where I would consider handing over my credit card — maybe cancer treatments — but I’m not sure how much debt I’d be willing to rack up for it.

Of course, imagine how personal finance planning would change if we had to factor in a possible heart surgery. “If you save $5,000 in a TFSA today, in 10 years you’ll have $9,000 to get a fresh aortic valve,” your adviser will say to you. Work plans will cover much of these costs, but self-employed, unemployed and maybe retired Canadians would have to give up that vacation if they want to get looked at right away.

I’m curious to know — how much would you pay for a surgical procedure? (All hypothetical of course, I’m not advocating for two-tiered health care.) And would you work this into your financial plan? Remember, you can still get it done for free, but if  our system is two-tiered, coughing up some cash will get you in to see the doctor much faster.

Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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