Monday, October 20, 2014

U.S. medical system and the insurance system are a rip-off!

So in the last year I've had two occasions to visit medical professionals and even though they did practically nothing I was charged over a $1000 and my insurance didn't get any of it.
The first one was a dermatologist to look at a small lump/bump that was on my forearm. It started out small but grew in size to that of a pea and stayed that size for a few weeks. I asked my oldest sister about it, she is a emergency room nurse, and she said it most likely was a calcium deposit and there was nothing to really worry about but if I wanted I should contact a dermatologist and they could take care of it. I found a dermatologist in my neighborhood made an appointment and when I finally got there the calcium deposit had started to reduce in size. The doctor took a look at it, poked it and asked me a few questions about it then finally said it was further under the skin and that she wouldn't want to do anything about it but recommended another doctor the whole process took all of fifteen minutes. I never followed up with the other doctor because it just kept reducing in size and eventually went away. I received a bill a month and a half later for $365.
The second visit was due in part to the fact that I still don't have a primary care physician which is another headache I don't even want to get into in this post. Anyway, I was running a fever of 102 so I went to the Brooklyn Hospital Emergency Room. I waited more then two hours in the ER lobby before I was escorted into an examination area where I sat for about another fifteen minutes. When I finally spoke with a medical professional it was all of ten minutes and was told it was just a cold and I should go home and rest. Well I've had plenty of colds and sore throats in my life but rarely have I had a temperature of 102 along with the sore throat and all the other symptoms so I felt it was something much worse. Well with little else in the way of options I did go home and spent pretty much an entire week in bed before whatever I had ran its course. Now here is where the the zinger comes; a month after all this went down I received a bill from the hospital for something like $1200 and I ignore it because I figure it is the first one and that after they deal with my insurance company it will end up being something like $300. A month and a half later I receive the next bill but instead of being lower it is actually the same and there is a warning that it must be paid in full within the next thirty days. So I start looking over the bill and here is another twist the original charge the hospital made to the insurance company was under $1000 but I later learned that the insurance company has a deal with the Hospital to pay a standard flat fee of $1200 for ER visits. So my thinking is they have spoken to the insurance company so why are they talking to me. I then decide to contact my insurance company to see what the hospital has sent them. After calling a few numbers and not getting anywhere I decide to use the online chat that the insurance company has on their website. The chat basically worked out like this; yes the hospital did contact us with ~$1000 bill, yes we negotiated that price up to $1200, you didn't meet your deductible so we don't pay this one and by the way the bill stays at the negotiated cost of $1200 and does not go back down to the below $1000. Thanks insurance company for costing me more.
So here is what I would like to find 1. an insurance company that no matter what the medical treatment is picks up anywhere from 75% to 80% of the cost leaving me the 25% to 20%. When I say 'medical treatment' I mean everything from dentist visits, to eye examinations, to wart/tattoo removal, to open heart surgery and all the way up to full body cloning! 2. hospitals, doctor's offices, medical clinics etc to have standard fees for standard procedures not changing the cost depending on what insurance company the patient has and what deals your organization has worked out with them already. I mean it seems to me that the medical and insurance companies have a a lot of say over people's lives and the treatment they receive instead of the people having that control.