Monday, March 26, 2007

Have we scrapped the heath-care system yet? No? Damn.

Last Friday I made an appointment with a new doctor for my annual physical. I already knew this doctor, who came recommended, didn't take my insurance; I'd decided I'd rather pay out of pocket (well, out of my HSA) for a recommended physician than take a stab in the dark at my insurer's in-network directory. So it didn't surprise me when the doctor said she doesn't take my insurance (I already knew that from her website). What surprised me is when she said she could only fit me in because I'm not paying with any insurance.

"I just can't take any more in-network patients," she said in her email. (Doctor with email? I love her already!) I understand why. It's no secret that networks reimburse providers at a highly discounted rate, one that increases slightly more often than Halley's Comet appears, and make them slog through mountains of paperwork to get the meager checks.

Once again, the medical services David and I actually require are services our insurance won't pay for. The cover story in this week's New York magazine is about "generation uninsured.". That's a huge problem. At least half my friends don't have any kind of insurance and are basically crossing their fingers they won't have a financially devastating health emergency. But the other, less recognized side of the problem is that even those who do have insurance, who pay the ever-rising premiums for company plans or scrape up the psychotic sums demanded for solo insurance, are getting less and less for that not-inconsiderable monthly payment.

The only silver lining to all this is my firm belief that a system so catastrophically &!*@ed, one that even the business community is ready to scrap, can't last much longer.