Health care reform- Bunt style [by Rochelle]
I have some ideas on how to fix the health care system. OK, maybe more thoughts on what is wrong with it and not so much how to fix it. OK, maybe I just feel like whining about the latest thing that happened to me at my local health care facility.
A while back I went into a tirade about how often mistakes were made to my prescriptions and how those mistakes resulted in hundreds of dollars in medicine being sent to me that I could not use or return. I figure if that many mistakes could be made to my family, surely this same scenario is being repeated in houses across America, costing millions of dollars to insurance companies.
This week I had another incident that illustrates the ridiculous waste of money in the health care system. When you think of it as a single incident, it is no big deal, but you have to figure there are no single events. If it happened to me, it must have happened to hundreds (or thousands) of others. You do the math.
Alicia, daughter #1 (birth order … not preference) has to have knee surgery. Apparently, she became an amazing athlete while we weren’t paying attention and tore her meniscus. OR, she fell off her four-inch heels while dancing one night. Anyway, here is the sequence of events.
1. She had to see a doctor for an exam. Office visit = $25 co-payment. Doctor says probably has torn meniscus but he needs to order an MRI to be sure.
2. MRI co-pay = $75
3. Doctor gets results (now pay attention because here is where I start getting annoyed) and he has Alicia come in to office to discuss the results.
Office visit, “Yes, the MRI shows a torn meniscus. You need to see the surgeon.” = $25 co-pay.
4. Next day see the surgeon = $25 co-pay.
EXCEPT.. I called to object to #3. I ask the office manager why the doctor could not report the MRI results over the phone? After a bit of discussion they agree to “waive” the following day’s co-pay for the surgeon.
I was pleased with this for a little while until I realized that while I was not paying the $25 co-pay my insurance company was still being billed the balance of that office visit! This was a totally unnecessary visit. There was no exam. It was simply to confirm what the doctor had suspected and was now able to see through the MRI. Definitely able to be done on the phone.
So I am now calling my insurance company and asking about this. I guess I am kind of a trouble-maker but I am ticked off. Right now the place I work pays my insurance premium but they have already told us that in 2010 we will be paying a portion. This will break down to about $100 coming out of my bi-monthly paycheck. Not to mention the lack of a raise this year due to the recession. I am already in a panic about this anticipated loss of income.
Perhaps this incident is not at the root of the health care crisis but it is certainly a piece of it. Medical insurance is so expensive and any time there is abuse it adds to the problem. Wrong medication, an unecessary office visit … oh, yeah, get me President Obama on the phone. I have some thoughts to share.