keeping care affordable

While Congress dickers with health care, I am taking a close look at my own costs.

I retired on December 31, 2001. In the 15½ years since, my health costs have averaged $4,842.02 per year and have been more than $2,000 for all but one of those years.

Louie Clay's chart of medical expenses 1985-2017

In the 17 years before retirement, my medical costs never reached $2,000 a year.

I rejoice that I am blessed with reasonably good health, even now at 80½. Many younger people experience much more substantial medical costs. Yet I suspect that much of the dramatic increase in my medical expenses is not altogether related to increases in the care that I need. Insurance companies and pharmaceuticals have greatly increased their profits.

Louie Clay's chart of medical insurance expenses 185-2017

Louie Clay's chart of medications expenses

Good health care cost me much less when I lived abroad or traveled outside the USA.

What are your costs? Are they increasing? What can we do to keep good care affordable?


Louie Crew Clay

Louie Crew Clay,  81, is an Anniston, Alabama native and Professor Emeritus at Rutgers. He lives in East Orange, NJ, with Ernest Clay, his husband for 44 years. He holds an M.A. from Auburn University, a Ph.D. from the University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa), and honorary doctorates from three seminaries of the Episcopal Church. He is the founder of Integrity, an international organization of lgbt Episcopalians/Anglicans. Editors have published 2,750+ of Louie Crew Clay's poems and essays — including Letters from Samaria: The Prose & Poetry of Louie Crew Clay, NYC: Church Publishing, Inc., November 2015 and  Our Station Forgot to Give the Evening News,  Poetry Superhighway. An eBook in the press' annual 'The Great Poetry E-Book Free-For-All,' online from December 1, 2016. You can follow his work at See also The University of Michigan collects Clay’s papers.