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Talking It Over -- The cost of staying healthy

The other day I was waiting to pick up a prescription at the drug store and a woman came in to do the same. As this woman was handed her prescription she was told that it would be $636. She kind of flinched a bit, started to write out the check and then proceeded to goof up on the written part. She looked at me and said "I'm not used to writing out such a big check."

I was astounded that people are paying that much for what appeared to be one small bottle of pills. Fortunately, my husband and I have a co-pay for prescriptions so have a maximum amount we pay. However, at times I have looked at the amount the insurance company pays and it is incredible. It is costing a lot of money just to stay healthy these days.

Now there is another factor that is adding to this cost. The rising cost of insurance is causing employers to take another look at how they offer this benefit to their employees. Some are discontinuing the group plans all together, leaving the employees on their own to find insurance. Others are raising the deductibles or making employees pay a bigger percentage of the premium.

I am sure that this benefit to employees is looked upon as a considerable expense for businesses, but what about the cost of having unhealthy employees. With higher deductibles or even making employees find their own insurance there is a greater chance that they will not seek health care when needed. The risks of job-related injuries or less productivity could quickly increase when employees are not feeling well or working at their best. People struggling to pay off high health care costs can get behind on all their bills leading to depression, foreclosures and other problems.

It is definitely time for some changes in our country's health care system. The costs just keep going up in every aspect of care. However, the place that these changes should be made is not on the backs of the hard-working men and women who pay their bills, provide for their families and keep our country going. Perhaps it is time for the government to offer some incentives to businesses which continue to provide adequate health insurance and reward these employees for their hard work.