Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Health care reform! by gimleteye

I pay for my family's healthcare, whose costs have skyrocketed like everyone else's. One way I've dealt with that is to increase my deductible, but...
... every time there is an increase in cost it comes with pages of fine print that I interpret to mean I have less benefits in other ways too. So I dread testing whether my Aetna health insurance covers routine exams and diagnostics. Recently I needed a MRI scan. My physician recommended a local Miami hospital outpatient clinic. I made the appointment and went to the clinic, where the staff person called my insurance company and then reported to me that since I had not met my deductible, that I would be charged back for the cost of the MRI. How much would that be? $5000.

Well I walked straight out the door of that place and, when I got home, called a hospital out of state where I will be visiting in a few months. I was quoted for the same test: $2300. OK. So I googled free standing testing facilities in Miami. The price, out of pocket and not through insurance, was from $700 to $900. By coincidence, one of my children also needed diagnostic tests: a few simple xrays. I went to an imaging facility and the staff person told me the cost would be "nineteen seventy five". I thought, finally my co-pay is helping me. I was then handed a bill for more than $300. The cost the facility was billing Aetna? Nineteen hundred and seventy five dollars for simple xrays! It is revolting, what passes for health insurance and health care in the United States. A friend told me today, who also pays for his own health insurance, that the costs of cancer treatment for his wife are well over six figures. I pray that Congress and President Obama fix the healtcare problem quickly. I'm fortunate enough to be able to pay for these tests. I know that there are millions of Americans who can't. We are watching every big business get bailed out and declare "improved" earnings after taking billions of taxpayer guarantees, if not outright cash from the US Treasury. Job opportunities are vanishing with the abrupt realization that there is no such thing as an economy that only runs on debt. In a nation that has the best medical technology in the world, we are poorer and more at risk.

Fix healthcare now, Congress and President Obama. Give us something for this pain.


Geniusofdespair said...

My family's healthcare: Almost $36,000 a year.

Anonymous said...

I have a $10000 deductible, but I finally got something back on my income tax last year with what I save in my HSA. Your MRI reminded me about Costa Rica. They have a much higher rating for health care services at a fraction of the cost. Need recovery time? Make it a vacation and lie on the beach for a week. There are many other countries that over medical services at a reduced price. I believe I read somewhere that some insurance companies were considering outsourcing medical care to other countries to save money!
I lived in Canada for several years and loved the system up there. Sure, you have to wait sometimes for non emergency procedures, but everyone waits in the same line. Here, if you have the money, you get to the front of the line! If you're poor, you might as well order your pine box.

The other M

Anonymous said...

Look at the relative cost per patient of Medicare in Miami as compared to other states. It makes me wonder, how do we stack up with Medicaid as a state in our spending per person as compared to other states. If health system workers are figuring out how to bilk the Feds, they must be socking it to the state as well. Maybe we should be blogging on managed fraud systems and Hialeah medicare and medicaid factories. I see a lot of those busses around town. I am also curious how Baptist plays out in all this.