Thanks for a view from your vantage point! I do appreicate it. I knew when I put this subject on the forum it might draw some interesting and informative comments.
The other day when I went in to see my doctor for my 2nd visit, I was talking with her nurse who I had complained to the night prior...she said she understood as she had fought her own battles with the insurance companies. I found a wonderful doctor in 1993 and stayed with her until 2003; at that time she decided she would no longer deal with insurance companies and would take cash only as she was fed up with all the BS. I'm not sure how her practice is doing these days. I think it will get more and more difficult for patients to find good quality health care as our population expands.
I knew you could relate to some of my comments after all the crap you have been through in the last few months...it's enough to make one crazy. I have been wanting to see the movie "Sicko" so maybe now is the time.
Melodie, Indy Pouch, U.W.Medical Center, Seattle, Dr. Paul H. Lange & Jonathan L. Wright
Melodie this is an interesting topic you have raised. Warrens views are interesting to read from both perspectives. I lived in Fl nearly 3 years before I ever had the need to use my health insurance. It has been the most painful and challenging life experience, to say the least!!!!!
I was absolutely shocked and stunned to be turned away from hospitals and Cancer Centers because assumptions had been made about my insurance. Even my INS co,from London experienced similar setbacks. It is only just recently where the USA office has become involved that fast and positive progress has been made. Must have been my brit accent which in itself for a refusal is discriminatory to say the least!
During my conversations with nurses and especially doctors comments are always negative regarding ins. Only on Friday my surgeon told me he viewed health ins co's as 'terrorist organizations' one said 'they play games' another said "they are nameless and faceless and cause misery to millions of americans' 2 docs I spoke with are now employed by the hospitals, much to their relief it seems!
From my view an experiences I feel I have taken on a full time job just to deal with the bills and countless phone calls to chase up invoices so I can get reimbursed.
I really have to admire USA citizens for dealing with these ins companies during the most difficult period in their lives.
In fact the film SICKO by Michael Moore gives a great view of the misery caused to thousands of americans by these corporate companies. I cried when watching this film, it certainly made me sick!!!
Good luck Melodie, I hope you manage to get something sorted out for you and your family soon.
Warren...throw in the electrician and furnace man also. You make a good point.....My internist a wonderful man and great diagnostician finally gave up his malpractice insurance and posted a sign out front..."If you're thinking of suing me find another doctor..I have no insurance"......
The system is definately broken.........Pat
I wasn't quite sure if I should respond to this because I do sympathize with your plight, but then I thought, perhaps the group should hear a response from a physician. True, I never got $172 for a visit unless it included immunizations and procedures, but I'm curious just how much everyone thinks a doctor's time is worth. You did say he spent almost 30 minutes. Don't forget, the $172 doesn't all go into his pocket since he has to pay for office staff, supplies and equipment.
Many of my patients who complain about a $25 copay think nothing about spending $300 at the veterinarian for their pet, big bucks for home and auto repair.
You're absolutely right that we need universal health care insurance. I felt that way when Bill Clinton ran for president. I can certainly say that we're not better off with the HMOs that came in instead. In 1993 my practice lost 1/3 of it's patients because we weren't participating in any HMOs. We had no choice. Their contracts require that we take a reduced fee. Of course I sympathize with those who don't have insurance and have given many a break to those in need, but does that mean that I should give everyone a break just because I have been forced by the HMOs to accept less from them. You would be amazed by what the HMOs get away with. If a claim isn't filed within 90 days, they don't have to pay it, but if they determine that a patient wasn't insured when they paid a bill, they can take the money back from me 2 years later when I have no recourse. If I see a patient and provide a legitimate & necessary service, and it turns out that they had been assigned to another doctor, the insurance company doesn't have to pay me and I can't bill the patient. Can you imagine the amount of time and expense I have just to provide the care to insured patients!?!
I haven't raised my rates since 1993 because I won't get paid more no matter what I charge. I'm lucky if I get $40-50 for a visit plus cost for vaccines. My personal expenses have gone up. The cost of running my practice has gone up. And now NYS wants to increase my malpractice insurance by 33% plus a $100,000 annual surcharge for the next 5 years even though I've never been sued.
There are lots of poor people who would love to earn what I earn, but I still earn less than I did in 1993. I'm not getting rich. I have to pay for my own retirement and health insurance. I sympathize with the poor and would love for everyone to have a great life, but tell me, after I spent all those years in school and, took out loans, delayed earning a regular income until my education was complete, now that I work holidays and weekends and get calls all hours of the night from sick or frightened patients, even though I recognize that everyone needs affordable health care - do you really want me to earn less for what I provide than your auto mechanic and plumber?
TaG3 + CIS 12/2000. TURB + Mitomycin C (No BCG)
Urethral stricture, urethroplasty 10/2009
CIS 11/2010 treated with BCG. CIS 5/2012 treated with BCG/interferon
T1G3 1/2013. Radical Cystectomy 3/5/2013, No invasive cancer. CIS in right ureter.
Incontinent. AUS implant 2/2014. AUS explant...
Wasn't sure where I should put this but felt inclined to talk this subject. I didn't want to put it in this section but the subject isn't light hearted either.
I have been employed with the same company for 26 years and have had good insurance coverage during that time...for myself and family. Since I did chemo and surgery, and I was away from my job longer than I had expected, we lost insurance coverage in September for my spouse and our two children who are in college. We had the option of going with Cobra but we didn't feel it was worth the extra cost since as a family we aren't ones who often visit the doctor's office so we took the gamble. This week we began to better understand why people want to see improvements in the health industry. And I feel bad for those who cannot afford insurance....it's like being treated like a second class citizen. :'( I think I have to get back to work.
Last month my husband needed to go to the doctor to get a refill for his BP medication...they would not refill it unless he made an office visit. HE also had a nagging throat problem that he usually gets every winter and needed a prescription to knock it out.
The doctor was 15 mins. late and only saw him for just under 30 minutes...did write the refill for his BP meds but would not give him anything for the throat problem insisting it would go away on its own in a couple of weeks. : It didn't. His bill...$172 >
I saw the same doctor two weeks earlier...she talked with me for 45 minutes and I got a prescription for anti-depressants. My bill...%$145. ???
When I inquired why the difference in payments, I was told my payment was less because they contract with the insurance company and so the additional is written off. I was in a state of righteous indigination and told them pure and simple, it is not right to be charging those who are ininsured more than those of us who are insured. In my mind, this just isn't right.
On top of that, when my spouse went in, he asked that day what his bill would be and no one could tell him. He wanted to pay the bill in full that day. The response was it will be at the minimum $117 but could be as high as $172. The doctor told him she had no idea what the cost was, he would have to talk to Billing.
He then went down the hall to Billing and was told, "we don't know the payment amount until we find out how much time the doctor spent with you". Later I learned that apparently $172 is the charge for first time "new" patients. Well, why didn't they just tell my spouse that and he could have paid it all up front. Go figure.
Melodie, Indy Pouch, U.W.Medical Center, Seattle, Dr. Paul H. Lange & Jonathan L. Wright