Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Free! Really? No, Only Kidding . . .

Preventive care is free. Obama said so. Sebelius said so. Then why are we being billed for routine preventive care?

Perhaps because DC and HHS in particular have no clue what they are doing.

Ya think?

When Jim Dungee had his first colonoscopy, doctors found several polyps, which are a precursor to colon cancer. “Therefore, I had to come back in three years,” he said. The three year mark was back in December. Knowing the test could save his life, Jim did not hesitate to make an appointment. He even called his insurance company to make sure it was covered. “I was told as long as it was put in as a preventive procedure, it was covered 100%,” he recalled.

Jim had the test and never gave it another thought until the bills started rolling in for his free screening. “Clearly a bait and switch, I was told one thing and they did the opposite,” he said

Ah yes. The "free" colonoscopy.

But there is a catch.

Preventive care, such as a colonoscopy, is supposed to be free.

Diagnostic testing, such as a colonocsopy, is not free.

Doctors found more polyps during Jim’s second colonoscopy and removed them during the procedure. That, according to gastroenterologist Giancarlo Mercogliano, changed everything. “When we do the procedure and we find something, it’s no longer considered preventative. It becomes diagnostic,” he said

Diagnostic means you, not the insurance company, pay.

My wife went through this a few months ago. In the matter of 90 minutes or so the procedure went from free to a tad over $1800.

After discounts our share was $482.

Not bad, but not free.

It’s sort of an unintended consequence,” explained MIT professor John Gruber, who advised President Obama on health care reform. According to Gruber, the plan is not perfect but it does provide free access to screening tests that many patients might not get if they had to pay for them. “It used to be it cost money no matter what. Now, it might be free and it might cost money,” he said.

When you tell someone a procedure is free, but fail to spell out the conditions, guess who pays?

To make matters worse, who do you think the patients blame?

No, not Obama. Not Sebelius.

They blame the insurance company.

Big, bad insurance company.

Might was well blame Bush. Makes as much sense.

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