Don’t Let Your Health Insurance Company Take You to the Cleaners

With Obamacare being constantly challenged under the administration of President Donald Trump, more information is coming out about the corruption of the health care industry and collusion between large “health care” providers and insurance companies to keep prices high.

I would like to relate a recent personal experience that drove this situation home for me, and just adds fuel to my fire when it comes to shopping around for necessary medical and surgical services.

I recently visited my primary care physician for a wellness check and getting two prescriptions updated. In the course of my examination, the doctor decided that he wanted me to have an echocardiogram done because he heard something unusual.

The doctor sent the order for an echocardiogram to the local hospital in my area because around here, there are supposedly no alternatives. However, when someone from the radiology department at the hospital called me to schedule an appointment, I decided to do a little checking around on price before actually setting the appointment, basically to satisfy my curiosity, and because I constantly write about being a savvy health care consumer so I figured I should take my own advice.

My first step was to call the radiology department at the hospital because I thought that if I got the procedure code, it would help the insurance representative I talked to next tell me exactly the amount for which I would be responsible. Having worked in an insurance environment before, I understood the difference between billed charges and allowable charges.

Then I called my insurance company, in this case SelectHealth, a subsidiary of Intermountain Healthcare, a Utah monopolizer I am sure that I have mentioned before. I was told that the allowable charge for which I would be responsible would be $875 because I had not even come close to meeting my annual deductible yet. There would be an additional reading charge for that procedure. Then I learned that the cash payment charge would be $584, still with an additional reading charge.

My last step was to find a different provider for the same service. I did some Googling and found a cardiologist group in St. George, Revere Health Heart of Dixie Cardiology Group, which is less than an hour south of where I live. I called and asked if they had on-site echocardiograms, which they did. When I asked about the cash price (no insurance involved), I was told the procedure would be $340.20 with no additional reading charge.

The implications of this are astounding! We have all been conditioned to think that our insurance companies are trying to get us the lowest possible price for our medical care. NOT!

I really wish that people could get basic catastrophic insurance in case of a serious illness or injury requiring expensive hospital care. However, it appears that option is still not available under Obamacare, although when the cross-state association plans President Trump allowed in his executive order a few months ago begin to be offered, that could change.

When it comes to routine testing, it would be much better if the majority of average citizens could just pay a cash price, possibly using a health savings account. We would then be much more motivated to shop for our medical and surgical care based on price and quality, and any other aspects of the service that might concern us.

It is time to break free of the stranglehold the large “health care” systems and insurance companies have on us, and take back our health care!

Photo courtesy of canstockphoto.

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