Thursday, June 16, 2005

A rant about our healthcare system, and why it sucks.

Everyone is familiar with the fact that healthcare costs are on the rise. It's no new news that we have families in our communities that have no medical insurance, and it's not uncommon anymore to have people file bankruptcy because of their medical bills.

Until today, I really never stopped to think about why. I guess I'm just so accustomed to getting bent over left and right by companies, and charged out the ass for things, that I don't even question it anymore.

Yesterday, I finally got my itemized bill from a recent trip to the emergency room. After I checked to make sure my insurance covered it, I started looking at the things I was charged for.

I noticed a charge for $455 for drugs. Which would be fine and dandy except on that particular evening, I never had drugs. That night, I was in pain and I could have used drugs, but no one ever gave me any. I like drugs, and if I had received medication of any sort that night, I would sure the hell remember it.

Then there was another charge for $223 for "IV Therapy". Hey, that's cool. But I never had an IV, let alone "therapy".

I suppose a typical person gets their bill, makes sure it's covered, and is done with it. Not me though. I called up the hospital and asked for an explanation, and oddly enough, they were unable to locate the listings for these charges. Mysterious, evaporating charges that my insurance company paid for.

Today, I had to call my insurance company to find out why they covered my CAT scan for that night but won't pay the actual bill for the guy who read the films, and why they decided to not pay my Urologist. Despite covering the emergency room bill, they decided that the radiology and urology bills dealt with some unknown, pre-existing condition. /boggle

Once I got that all cleared up with them, I had him pull up my emergency room bill and went through the mysterious charges with the guy, and told him that I had never received some of the services that I was charged for and that they ultimately paid for. His response was that they have a contract with the hospital, and that's how it works. He was not concerned in the least that they paid out unnecessary funds for imaginary services, because that's how it works!

That's how it works?

Never mind the fact that I pay those rat bastards $1300 every month so they can question all the crap that they shouldn't question, and so they can give me grief and send questionaires out to my doctors to determine whether valid services were either valid or necessary, but they don't give a hoot when they're told that they paid for something that they shouldn't have paid for. And why should they really care, because in the end, it's going to come out of everyone elses pocket.

Let's chew on that for a minute, and then think of the families who don't have health insurance and can't afford to take their kids to the doctor when they're sick, and then let's think about why some employers have been forced to raise the price of healthcare for their workers, or have stopped providing benefits altogether, which in turn leaves families like my own, who have to either go without, or pay $1300+ out of our pocket every month to make sure we have health insurance.

No reason to be concerned, because that's how it works.

Someone explain to me why this is supposed to be okay, because I think it's really freaking stupid.


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