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I’m Stuck with United HealthCare – Would Welcome a Change to Try a Public Health Insurance Option

Posted May 18 2009 10:44pm

The author here from Forbes details his plan with United.  He only has catastrophic coverage, thus he pays for everything anyway and talks about how he is stuck with all the paperwork and deals with labs he has never heard of.  As he states, he has not had to test the waters for any major medical expense and considers himself still lucky.  We have a big case going to court in California this week over non coverage with Blue Shield that should prove interesting to watch and see the outcome. 

His carrier is also being sued by the AMA and several states on some recent practices that over charged individuals and grilled before the Senate a few weeks ago.  It became so heated in the Senate last week, patients and doctors had to be escorted out.   image

Is This a Case for a New Law – Illegal Algorithms? How Do You Sleep at Night Rockefeller asked the CEO of United Health Care

We have a lot of technologies and services coming together and Health IT is a big part of it, good Health IT and bad Health IT, yup there is bad when information is used against you to deny healthcare.  It was notes by several at the HIMMS convention this year.

U.S. Congress has an inadequate understanding Value of Health IT – HIMMS Opening Session

We know the government folks need some education and help to comprehend this, but the insurers already have it, so perhaps we can start stacking some even decks of cards some day.  In the meantime, hopefully we will get a government run alternative as the commercial side is not getting any better with healthcare, it’s only a risk management business and whistleblowers and algorithms still seem to be the top draw for creating money in healthcare.  BD 

I'm just not that into United Healthcare. We've been together for years--but my employer really forced us into the relationship and most of the time I feel vaguely taken advantage of . Isn't it strange that, in our multi-year relationship, United hasn't once picked up a check? I'd leave United if something better were to come along.

Hopefully, though, President Obama will play matchmaker. He wants to offer people like me a public health insurance option. I'm ready to flirt with the idea, but the private health insurance industry doesn't want me straying. Karen Ignani, head of the trade group America's Health Insurance Plans, would oppose letting me play the field. Private health insurers can meet our needs, she argues. But she's never asked about my wants.

Here's a problem: I've been insured for years and, despite paying premiums twice a month, I've also had to pay all of my medical bills with my own money. That's because I have catastrophic coverage combined with a health savings account that covers most (but not all) of the high deductible. Thankfully, I haven't had to deal with any catastrophes.

It's odd to me that I pay for health insurance but also pay to see a doctor for any visit other than my annual physical--even though it's the kind of preventative care that saves my insurance company money in the long run. But that's how our relationship works.

Not only do I pay for everything, I'm stuck with all the paperwork. I get blood work done and wind up getting billed by a lab I've never heard of. So my insurer pays no bills and refuses to clean up after itself. The insurance company doesn't care, because I have nowhere else to go.

I'm one of many who would at least give a public plan a try-- and the industry really has no good argument against giving me the choice.  Some warn that the government will ration care, indiscriminately providing treatment to some patients and not to others. But insurance companies and health maintenance organization already ration care, and they'll ration it even more strictly if the industry tries to keep its promise to save $2 trillion in costs over the next decade.

If, my dear United Healthcare, the government plan stinks, or you can make me a better offer, I'll come back to you. It's not that I hate you, private health insurance. I just think we need some space. And if I want to see someone else, I hope you'll be mature enough not to try to stand in the way.

Dump Your Health Insurer - Forbes.com

Related Reading:

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Insurance Rescission case to go to Court – Business Intelligence Practices Used to Analyze and Deny Claims and Coverage at Bay

Will Greed lead to Meltdown of the Health System?

The 2 New Hot Words in Healthcare: Algorithms and Whistleblowers

Insurance CEOs Get Rich While Denying Health Coverage to Children – As Noted in the Senate Hearings

Is This a Case for a New Law – Illegal Algorithms? How Do You Sleep at Night Rockefeller asked the CEO of United Health Care
The Ingenix Inquisition – Hearing Requested by Senator Rockefeller
Andrew Cuomo – You Have to Like This Guy – Healthcare Reform
Prescriptions risk score used to deny health insurance

Consolidation in Health Insurance Carriers – Who will be the king of risk management?

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