Thursday, August 12, 2010

Bend Over

Health insurance makes me sick. No matter what you do, you're screwed. I got a 20% happy birthday rate hike in June, then another thanks to the whole family for renewing increase in July. Health care reform finally passed and these bozos are going to try to rake in every last penny while they can before the new rules kick in. And it's not just me. Our patients are feeling the pain, too. Over half the calls we get have nothing to do with medical care. It's all financial. It's I can't afford this drug, is there an alternative? Oh, it needs an authorization? Will you ask the doctor to spend twenty minutes on the phone begging some robot in India? Or I can't afford to come in, I just lost my insurance. When I started working in health care, things were different. People had jobs with good insurance. Low co-pays. Low deductibles. Nobody needed to take a Xanax just to make an appointment. Back when Shawn and I found ourselves suddenly owning a company but with nobody to run it, I didn't know what I was doing. I knew nothing about insurance, or hiring people, or payroll, or OSHA, or how cold the refrigerator needed to be to store immunizations. So I went back to school. Stayed up late and got an MBA. Went to some conferences. Asked for help. Made tons of mistakes. Outsourced stuff I hated. Rode the learning curve for a few years until it all started to make sense. Until now. What do you tell a patient that lost his job and is so sick he needs surgery but can't afford the pre-op labs? How can I just sit there and watch? There wasn't a class about this in school. I'm back to not knowing what to do.

Shana's fifteen minute out-patient tonsillectomy in June came in at just over three grand, pushing us up and over our deductible for the year. That's the first time that has ever happened. We've been lucky, lucky, lucky, I know. Our last big medical thing was in 1991. Labor, delivery, two days in the hospital, private room, one mandatory enema and even a last night in the hospital, not so romantic, steak dinner for two. All for $250. I don't want to jinx anything, but I'd like to take advantage of this met deductible wonderland. Celebrate. Get something x-rayed. Go to the ER and complain about this pain I've been having, this health care ache, just to make our insurance fork it over. That might make me feel better.

1 comment:

  1. Lisa, you're right on the mark again on this issue. It gets me sick to my stomach that the health insurers are all jacking up the rates in anticipation of the regulation that won't allow them to do that anymore. Just proof that health care reform was needed in the first place, in my opinion. I hope somehow they're forced to return retroactively to the rates when health care reform was enacted. I won't hold my breath on that one...