If you’re an American and you’re reading this, you probably won’t get it the way I’m trying to show it but you’re more than welcome to read it anyway!
OK, I can’t complain about my current insurance because it’s really good but if I didn’t have it, I’d have to pay $1,614 for my latest check up with a doctor (in this case, I paid only $25 because the insurance covered the rest).
I thought I’d give you some examples with prices so you can know a little more. I think it’ll be useful mostly for people who are planning on going to the USA.
I went to a dentist having a coupon from Groupon (highly recommended!) because then I still had my au pair insurance. Groupon cost $45. I found out I had to have three small fillings done and I paid $130 for each of them. People sometimes say that if it comes to au pairs, it’s better to go to her home country (Poland, in my case) to work on teeth and then come back than to do it in here. Sometimes it is true and it’s be cheaper this way (au pair insurance doesn’t cover dental treatment) but not always! It’s a mistake to think that it’s the same in each case.
I told you some time ago about this but I’ll say it once again for those who didn’t read me earlier. Last year when we were in Washington D.C. I had to go to a hospital. I was seen by one doctor, I had an intravenous drip (I hope this is a correct word for that), some medicine, I spent there around 5-6 hours and before I was taken by an ambulance. Later I received a few bills and everything cost around $4,500 in total, my au pair insurance covered only $900 so I had to pay $3,600.
I read on the Internet that tooth extraction with no complications cost $75-$300 depending on where, which doctor, what kind of painkillers. If you have to have something done right now (for example, in the evening or in the middle of two other patients) it’s $300-$450. A wisdom tooth extraction with no problems cost $75-$200, if there’s something wrong it might go up to $600 for only one tooth.
A vaginal childbirth is around $2,600 with no complications at all, a C-section around $4,500 but also when there’s no complications (with no insurance). You have to add the rest of medical care, doctor visits, etc. Of course it depends on where you want to give a childbirth because you can easily find a hospital where you’ll have to pay even $20,000 for a vaginal childbirth with no complications whatsoever. Expensive? Yea, a litte.
If you have a good insurance, it usually covers most of the costs and leaves you some change to pay. In case of not having any insurance, you’ll usually have a problem but then hospitals try to help and they sometimes propose you a few plans or even remit 50% of the full cost.
Lately I read that the United States is a country where people spend the most money on treating cancer in the whole world. But then I thought, I don’t know if it makes sense because here there’s maaaaany more people than for example in Poland. It’s obvious that if you have more people, then more people will have a cancer and more money will be spent. I don’t know, I explained it to myself like this.
My advice: if you’re looking for a doctor in the USA, instead of asking on forums on the Internet or trusting completely what I said here, call a doctor’s office because, as you can see, prices vary a lot and there’s a lot of causes for that. Advice number two: if you don’t have any insurance, don’t get seriously sick 😉
2. Long distances to anything…
…if you don’t live in a big city because in this case you probably don’t have any problems with walking or a public transportation. On the peripheries of big cities and in small towns in general it’s kind of difficult to walk because sidewalks are usually only inside neighborhoods and by open shopping malls. Here in my place I’d have to walk on grass and hills which wouldn’t be very comfortable. Moreover, it’s so rare here that I’d have people asking me if everything is fine every minute (I have this experience already). The closest grocery store is around 7-8 minutes driving, almost 6 miles one way. I can’t really imagine walking like this with bags full of food. Post office is in a different place than the grocery store but the distance is the same. The closest park with a lake is by the post office. To a hairdresser I have to drive 20 minutes, it’d be around 3 hours walking from what Google tells me (9,9mi on a shoulder where pedestrians aren’t allowed to be). The closest Starbucks – 2,5hrs walking (13 minutes by a car). You know what I mean, don’t you? I don’t that some of you had the same in your home countries but I lived in Warsaw, the biggest city of Poland, and I had EVERYTHING I needed in a distance of 5 or maximum 10 minutes walk so it was a big difference for me. That’s why I don’t like when some people think that Americans are lazy because they drive everywhere. Well, they do drive because it’s be really difficult otherwise and if it comes to walks, I can walk around my neighborhood only 🙂
3. Climate differences.
The problem here may occur when someone from, for example, Georgia wants to go to Maine in November and suddenly he realizes that he doesn’t have any warm clothes and the only “warm” shoes are Convers. Well, I don’t have any winter clothes, I mean I have one coat that I was wearing when I arrived here (it was winter in Poland) and I wore it maybe a few times here when I didn’t have anything else. Right now when I’m typing this, I have 37C (98F) and in Idaho there’s only 13C (55F). Of course it shouldn’t be a surprise for anyone because this country is huge but it’s just, you know, to let you know. Another little thing for you will be that in California there’s usually colder than in my place 🙂
4. No pensions.
Is it a problem for me? I don’t know, not yet I guess. I see it often on the Internet though so I thought I’d mention it as well. I was surprised when my teacher here in the US told me that this is an employer’s decision if his employees will have pensions or not. In Poland we have a certain company that take some of your money from your salary each month and then, when you’re old, you get money back (not all of them, though, but this is another story). Here people save for later and for emergencies. It happens that one person can have even 5 pensions when they were lucky.
5. Huge grocery stores.
I sometimes miss those small “greengrocers” where I could go in for two minutes, take whatever I need, go out. Here I don’t have them at all and all of the stores are very big. I sometime spend there two hours on looking for what I need. Lately I go on a website of a store I’m in and I look for a product and then it tells me in which aisle I can find it. I recommend that!
The summer weather in Georgia is… Hmm, you can stand it (air conditioning everywhere!) but it’s very, very hot. Around 45C (113F) every day. I know that a real feel on the Sun in Poland can jump to the same sometimes (once a year lol) but I need to tell you that even if you compare 30C here and 30C there (86F) – here I feel it much, much more, like it’s much warmer. The big thing is that here it’s humid often and so if someone sweats then this swear doesn’t go anywhere, it stays on the body and so one minute and your whole body is sticky. It’s not very pleasant. Also, here you can’t really breathe with fresher air after rain or a thunderstorm because after them it’s even warmer than before. And if you go outside after rain, you’ll see huge amounts of steam because ground is so hot that the whole rain will dry off during 5 minutes. If the temperature dropped from 45C to 12C I’d complain how cold I am when today evening and night in Warsaw they’ll have around 11C… and it’s summer.
You might be a little disappointed that I gave you so little of that but, well, nothing else comes to my ming anymore, to be honest. And I’ve been working on this post for a week so I had enough time to add things. I was talking about Georgia and I’m curious if there’s anything you would add about different states? Or something you heard about and you’re not in the US? 🙂
Talk to you next time!