Parasitical Worms Afflict American Health Care

Good article by Richard Salit in today’s Providence Journal about scammers marketing fake health insurance…

“Medical discount cards are spreading like kudzu because so many people are being laid off and going without health insurance or simply can’t afford premiums anymore. They are looking for affordable ways to cut their medical costs and discount cards are springing up in response to an urgent market need,” says James Quiggle, spokesman for the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, a group that includes consumer advocates and insurance companies. “Unfortunately, much of that response is fraudulent and abusive.

It’s easy enough for even amateurs to put up a website, print cards, run a TV commercial and take hundreds of dollars monthly out of a bank account via direct withdrawal. Just like the big guys. But they don’t spend much on phone support…

After being put on hold, the line went dead. When the reporter called back, a man answered the phone, “Bob’s Abortion Clinic.” The screen on the reporter’s phone showed it was the same number. The reporter asked to speak to a supervisor. A man who called himself “Stuey” eventually got on the phone. He insisted it was an abortion clinic in St. Louis and then the line went dead again. [the rest of this sordid tale here]

The big guys are more accountable. They answer their phone, and most of the time they give coverage for the money. But don’t get yourself too sick, or you might find out that they operate on the same basic principle as “Stuey”–charge the most money for the least service. It’s not that they’re evil, it’s the profit principle–a shark has to keep moving.

A single payer system would clean out the parasites. A government sponsored affordable insurance plan would give people a safe alternative to the shady, complicated, ‘buyer beware’ system we have now. This system sucks money from the people who can least afford it, and really dishes out the pain when they get sick.

Update– via Daily Kos this link to a NYT editorial about a process called ‘recission’ that allows big insurers to cancel benefits when a subscriber gets sick and needs to make claims.

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2 responses

  1. Recission means that most people who have health insurance have it until they actually get sick.

    Then recission takes over.

    It’s called “rationing.” It exists now.

    And btw–corporate execs generally have gold-plated health insurance that never, ever goes away.

    And guess who pays for that: We do.

    The cost of their fabulous coverage is passed onto the consumer.

    So, we have rationing under our current system. You get all the coverage you need if you make enough money, and none if you don’t. Until you go to the emergency room. Then, we all pay for it. Emergency care raises premiums for everyone.

    And if the gov’t will do such a lousy job running health care, why are the insurance companies spending hundreds of millions of dollars to kill a public option?

    Because, with a gov’t plan, the CEOs of the insurance companies lose their corporate jets, their country club memberships, their fourth and fifth houses, and all the other perks that set them apart from you and me.

    So, we pay for everyone else’s coverage, but when we get sick, we’re on our own.

    Is this a great system or what?

  2. [...] related news, Parasitical Worms Afflict American Health Care. There’s a lot of this going around. [...]

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