Thursday, July 01, 2010

Screwed Up System

I got a good look at how screwed up the medical system is here in the U.S. yesterday. I received the bill for my portion of the latest doctors visit that I felt was needed since, as of today, I am uninsured. It was a fairly complete blood test including lipids, hemoglobin A1c, thyroid, calcium, etc. I also had an electrocardiogram, and a brief check by Madam Doctor. The total bill to Blue Cross was $1107.00. but evidently under their deal with the BCBS PPO Blue Cross only paid $209.87 after taking their $704.35 adjustment leaving me on the hook for $192.78. So, evidently BCBS has negotiated roughly a 70% discount from the regular charges which makes me wonder what the actual costs are. Surely the LLC of 5 doctors who make up the clinic I use wouldn't accept a deal where the insurance would pay less than cost? The frightening thing is that now that I don't have insurance and need the same checkup I would have to pay the full $1107.00. Ouch! Then again that is less that 2 months worth of insurance premiums.

Seems to me that somewhere in this mess is a clue to where all our money for medical care is going. Are the doctors charging 70% plus over cost for routine care? How can the insurance companies justify $800 - $900 a month for insurance when they are paying only 30% or so of the actual medical care costs. There sure seems to be a big gap somewhere in the equation. I guess if I were a doctor I would seeking out uninsured patients with means to pay for all its worth...maybe even offering big discounts while still making more than I would from an insured patient. I could even offer half off and still be better off than dealing with the insurance companies and save the paperwork headache to boot.

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