One of the things that come along with chronic and disabling medical conditions is dealing with medical bills. Most of my disabled Tucson clients need to see doctors frequently. They also tend to get a lot of procedures done. This means getting those dreaded medical bills and trying to make sense of them.
A Bicycle Accident And Then Amazing Medical Bills
But, what if there is no way to make sense of them? What if they don't really make sense? What if they are nothing short of a giant fraud? An article in the New York Times addresses this question. The author is a physician named Elizabeth Rosenthal . Her husband, Andrej, was badly injured in a bicycle accident. As a
result, he saw a lot of doctors and clinics and hospitals. When the bills came rolling in, there were some surprises.
In addition to the usual outrages such as $20 for a pill that anyone can buy at Walgreens for a few pennies, the invoices contained some real shockers. Perhaps worst of all were bills from doctors who had never even seen Andjrej. This included a charge for stitching shut a wound on Andrej's hand from a doctor who did not do the work.
Five Categories Of Doubtful Debts
Dr. Rosenthal lists five categories of medical bills that struck her as rather close to outright fraud. In each example, the insurance company paid at least some of
the disputed charges. Why would the insurers do this? It's complicated, but it can be boiled down to "that's just the way we do things."
Medicare For All?
You need to keep this in mind if you are tempted by Medicare for all proposals. Unless the government employs all the doctors and owns all the hospitals,
Medicare for all will never work. The doctors and hospitals are simply too skilled at working the system, including charging for work that was not done, for Medicare to control costs.
Give Up Trying To Understand
I don't think there is any workable solution to this problem. But, now you know not to waste your time trying to understand your medical bills.