Monday, June 11, 2001

Now here's why the medical insurance system in this country is going to kill us all no matter how much reform we throw at the problem. I'm going to tell you about two items in today's mail.

The first item was a refund check for $8.30. Not bad. I like to get refunds. It was from a medical group who had billed me $8.30 a few months ago for some lab tests I had done in November of last year. The letter attached, explaining the refund, showed that I had paid $8.30 and that since that time the insurance company had paid an additional $4.98. Therefor I was due a refund. But if you do the math there you can see that they refunded too much. I shouldn't have gotten back the whole $8.30, only the $4.98 that the insurance and I each paid.

Which brings us to the second item. A bill. From the same lab. For the same tests. Last November. Can you guess how much the bill was for? $3.32. That's right: the difference between the $8.30 I had been refunded and the $4.98 that the insurance had paid.

Now, some of us lazy idiots (myself included) would have taken the "efficient" route, and just issued a refund for $4.98 and not required the second bill. But that would have been taking the easy way out. The truly imaginative refund the full amount and start the billing process over from the top.

That's seven months after a simple lab test, and they're still creating new paperwork over three dollars and change. But thank God we don't have the government involved in running the health care system in this country. Right. Imagine the bureaucratic stupidity we'd have to put up with if that should ever happen.

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