Wednesday, May 4, 2011
I am unalterably opposed to any “reform” that gives more power or money to “the private sector” when it comes to health care; and that means health insurance companies and the business organizations doctors have formed, with professional sounding names like “Pediatric Associates” and “City Oncology Associates” and such.
Yes, I want the government to be in charge of health care; I want a single-payer system; and I’m not worried one bit about government bureaucracy bungling things or death panels or anything else Sarah Palin and her ilk can come up with, on a par with the now-ubiquitous pejorative “Obamacare.”
There is a rich history of rants against our present system of paying for health care here on this blog site. Every couple months, something happens that reminds me why I have no faith in health insurance companies or large organizations that employ health care professionals. Add this rant to the long list.
A month or so ago my dentist told me I had to have tooth #20 extracted. It had a three-way root canal some years ago, but was rotting out from the bottom up. No more putting it off. The geometry of my teeth was altered by a car wreck 46 years ago, and tooth #21 is damn near sideways in my mouth. So pulling out the one next to it…#20….was, my dentist figured, a job for an expert, and he referred me to a huge local outfit with multiple locations, with one of those fancy-schmancy names like “Inside Your Mouth and Around Your Face Surgical Associates.”
The day of this “oral surgery” I was tasked to fill out page after page of information about my health, my meds, my mouth, and my insurance. When I got to the insurance page, I said to the lady “I do not intend to make a claim for this extraction; I know they won’t pay for it. I’ll be paying for it myself and don’t want to fill out all this insurance stuff.” After a long “discussion”, I agreed only to tell her that my carrier was Unity. Apparently this was in case everything went wrong in the extraction and they had to haul me off to a real hospital.
After the extraction, I paid for the service before I left the building. It was around 300 bucks.
Yesterday, the government came into our secluded cul-de-sac and delivered a piece of mail from my insurance carrier, with an “explanation of benefits” – or, more correctly in this case, explanation of no benefits – telling me why they weren’t going to pay for my extraction.
That’s right: the “inside your mouth and around your face surgical associates” , even though I had paid the bill in full immediately following the rendering of their services, went to the trouble to correlate my name with the insurance carrier’s database (or whatever) and went right ahead and tried to collect TWICE for the extraction.
I’m sure of two things: one, that this dental surgery group deliberately tried to scam the insurance company….what the hell, worst that can happen is they’ll hear a “no”….and two, I’d rather deal with government bungling than outright fraud. And that’s why young Mr. Ryan, who is one of those “career politicians” so reviled by the right in the past election, can take his charts and graphs and PowerPoint presentations and stick ‘em right up there where the proctologists roam.
Posted by Tim Morrissey at 2:41 PM