Thursday, June 12, 2008

Speaking of Criminals...

In America, there are approximately 47 million people without any form of health insurance. Consequently they make choices like whether or not to pay the light bill or buy their medications. Last night CBS news did a piece on free clinics in America and they interviewed a man who had lost his job and was a diabetic. He said that losing his insurance was more frightening than losing his job because without his meds - he dies.

Everyone says that we live in the richest country in the world yet this is what we've come to? People have to choose between eating and taking their meds? How many ways can someone say this just isn't right?

Yesterday I received a bill from the lab who ran my blood work back in April. The charges were as follows:

Cholesterol test - 37.20
Lipoprotein test - 50.60
Triglycerides test - 37.20
TSH test - 122.60
Veinipuncture - 18.45
Creatinine test - 15.81
Electrolyte test - 21.64

Grand Total - 303.50

Anyone got a spare 303.50 just hanging out? Probably not.

I do have insurance but I pay through the nose for it - almost 425.00 per month. Carrying private health insurance simply isn't a choice for most Americans and I do feel their pain. But it wasn't the bill that made my head spin - with the final line on the bill:

Insurance Disallowance - 282.18

My total - 21.32

So here is my beef - if I didn't have overinflated health insurance, I'd have to pay 303.50 rather than 21.32. But because my insurance negotiates the prices they will pay, I only have to pay 21.32. Now take note, my insurances isn't paying 282.18 - they are requiring that the lab company Write It Off.

Those who are uninsured don't have that luxury. They might be able to contact the lab and get the bill cut in half - but IMO, the crime is that they are BILLED that amount to begin with.

Do you ever get the feeling that all anyone ever wants is to get into your pockets? I know I feel that way and I'm sick and tired of it.


Monica Burns said...

I don't have an answer for you. The DH said recently that if he died I could stop working and write full time with the life insurance money.

My mouth dropped and I shook my head. "Nope, maybe 15 years ago, but you're worth more to me alive than dead these days because I need you for health insurance!"

The reason for the high cost of insurance is the pharmaceutical and medical technology companies who are looking to recover their research and development costs. They charge hospitals and docs plenty of $$$ and then health plans do the negotiations you mention.

It sucks, and I don't have an answer. Although it irks me to no end when a health ins company acts like my doc and tells me what test I can and can't have. Case in point, I needed a CT Scan, but the health ins say nope, but we'll pay for an MRI. We had to let the idiots know that I have a pace maker and that an MRI could kill me. If they'd stop playing doctor and just do preventive maintenance coverage, there would be a lot more healthy people and their costs would go down, but they don't get that. Grrrr

Anonymous said...

When I didn't have insurance I went to Planned Parenthood for my blood tests. I was able to get $800 of bloodwork done for $80. I do highly recommend them for anyone who doesn't have insurance.

What was really bad was that when I had an accident and had to go to the hospital I was charged more for my visit than those with insurance.

Carolan Ivey said...

My rheumatologist just prescribed a new med for me, and I held my breath that our insurance co. would cover it. They did - I paid the regular $25 copay. I literally got lightheaded when I looked at the retail price on the sticker. Are you ready for this? $1,900 for ONE MONTH'S supply.

The fact that the ins. co. is not balking at paying the difference is probably that they're NOT. Like your ins. co. not paying the difference for your blood work.

I even considered not even starting the drug. What if it works, and next year the ins. co. changes and won't cover it any more? I'll be screwed.