Thursday, October 22, 2009

Healthcare Reforms

And now your eyes have glazed over. Don't worry - I'll keep it shart short.

Although any suggested changes by either party will be met with rigid opposition by the other party, I thought of a simple idea that seems like a nice improvement, something that would safeguard the stupid old public while at the same time not victimizing the poor medical community, and I'd like to get the opinions of some people who are not rabidly Republican or Democrat. How about passing a law that says hospitals are required to get all of their billing together at one time before they approach you for payment? That would not mean they would have to wait until the end of your treatment / illness / life to collect - it would be perfectly okay to bill by the month. It would just mean that they would have to consolidate a list of treatment inflicted on you from all their doctors, departments, branches, and labs, in-house and outsourced, then present you with an itemized bill marked "Final" before expecting you to make payments. True, their incompetence could cost them as patients could refuse to pay any stealth ninja bills they try to resurrect in the years to come, but that's called "living in the real world". Does anyone think I would even be gainfully employed if I demonstrated their consistent idiocy on the job? And I process data - I don't care for sick people.

I know I'm thinking of my own situation, but ask yourself if anyone not on death row deserves my billing treatment. To condense my experience with the Deathstar billing sadists since July of this year, it's been like:
"Here is your bill for June. And here is your bill for July. And here is another bill for June. We know you're making payments and should be finished by Novemeber, but we're going to turn you over to a collections agency anyway. And here is a bill for June FROM 2008. And here is another bill for June (as soon as your mean old insurance company lets it through)."
The current system makes me feel like a slot machine wherein instead of them saying "he's dropped his jackpot - let's move on" they shout "Hey, everybody, this one's paying out - PILE ON!"

Note - this would need to be a federal bill because I think the states have proven to be too inconsistent to handle this sort of thing. I'm sure you would be okay if you live in one of those heathen communist socialist gay hippie Pacific Northwest states, but those of us deep in Xtianland have to deal with lawmakers whose reasonableness test for safeguarding the public consists of asking themselves "What would Jesus do?" The apparent answer to that is "Protect the interests of big business at all costs, and label the public as being selfish and unpatriotic if they ask for help." It kind of goes back to the biblical story about how Jesus saw the money-lenders in the temples and then, in a fit of rage, he kicked the shit out of a poor beggar for not having enough money to pay Caesar's taxes. I think that's in the new testament in II Bob or something - look it up your damn self, lazy pukes.

10 comments:

Jay said...

When I lived in Texas I had an 80/20 policy. The insurance co paid 80% and I paid 20% of the negotiated prices for whatever had to be done.

Every single place I went to wanted me to pay my 20% upfront. Then the insurance company would only pay 80% of the remaining and the doctor or hospital would come back to me for the rest every single time. Luckily my employer would call them all up and explain to them that they were wrong and they dropped it. I'm sure most employers didn't do that for their people though.

Hit 40 said...

I think I told you my school district has a law firm to handle the billing nazis for us!! This is my favorite benefit. We have great insurance with no need to pay anything after our copay of $2500 is met but...

the hospitals still try to scare you into paying random BS bills. I just call the law office to take care of it for me. NICE!! Tell your employer that you want this benefit too. (I think your a consultant? :-( )

Whitemist said...

I agree with your thoughts as a start. I have been a conservator for a mentally disabled person who died lat February. After waiting several months, I closed the account and disbursed the funds to his still living wife.
3 months after I got a bill from a hospital for some $160, no big thing, so I paid it. Yesterday, I received a reimbursement, cause Medicare had paid most of the bill, that is 9 months after he dies. It is a completely crazy system.

Ricardo said...

Grant the billing thing is so fucked up with hospitals that it should be torn down and rebuilt from scratch. I have had my run-ins with them too and it just sucks. they will never pass such a reform bill because it makes too much sense.

Grant said...

Jay - my current employer does things like switch insurance companies at random without telling us and renewing their policies mid-year so we have to satisfy the deductible twice annually. I don't see them intervening on my behalf.

Hit 40 - I don't even get sick days or holidays off, so I don't foresee legal insurance in my future. That usually seems to be a benefit reserved for government employees.

Whitemist - people seem to forget the billing side when discussing healthcare, which is probably why it's been able to get so out of control.

Ricardo - I don't think I'd want a job where my basic responsibility is to harass sick people for money. And I thought the telemarketers were bad.

Kerry said...

Currently I am irritated with my dentist office (and billing) because they keep sending me these bills with a balance due and a lovely note that says (30 days over due) or (60 days over due), etc. HOWEVER its pending insurance payment and I dont have to pay it. I still get the nasty notes and it just pisses me off!

April said...

I agree with you completely. I've said the same thing before. The problem is that many of the doctors are not actually employed by the hospital (which I'm sure you're aware of). Therefore, they use their own billing to send you bills. Bastards!!!!

Grant said...

Kerry - I get medical bills that say we've agreed to a monthly payment, then thank me for my last payment, then say the rest of the bill is due immediately and they are going to turn me over to a collections agency. There's no logic built into their medical billing logic.

April - I still think that if they use the doctors, they should handle billing you instead of hiding behind the old "they're not our people" ruse. Other businesses bill the customer for all charges and then pay for any work outsourced themselves. For some reason, the hospitals are able to get away with billing practices that would merit a lawsuit against a normal business.

Monogram Queen said...

I feel your pain, we still get random bills for Madison & Stacy - they just pop up seemingly out of nowhere!

Grant said...

Monogram Queen - hopefully, if I file for bankruptcy, it will finally stop.