31 October 2014

Medical Billing Insanity

Another example of the hideous medical care system in this country-- or more accurately, the system of paying for medical care. (HMOs don't work this way... which is an argument for them).
I underwent an ER visit recently, and was billed at about $8140. For three hours in an ER, in which I didn't even get seen by a doctor. (I'm OK; it was vertigo, which fortunately resolved).
Insurance only paid $1541. The co-pay I have to pay was $171. That means almost $6450 was just phony "Adjustment." But here's the thing. If you're unlucky enough to be uninsured, they will fight you to make you pay that. People who are uninsured, defenseless, but not quite judgment proof are left with totally unrealistic and outrageous bills no one else has to pay. This system is totally corrupt, and it's the reason unpayable medical bills are the largest cause of personal bankruptcy in the US, something that doesn't happen in any other country.

And the ACA has done very little if anything to fix this utterly broken system.

When I sent this around in another form, not everyone understood my point. I was complaining that for insured patients only $1700 or so is EVER paid, whereas if you're unlucky enough not to be included in this vast corrupt system, they will chase you down to pay more than four times as much, and that this is fundamentally wrong. In other words, I'm not bitching about MY experience, I'm bitching about a system that is fundamentally flawed in the way it works, and victimizes people who can least afford it. I guess I didn't make that clear enough.

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