Unless your doctor is a policy expert, in healthcare administration, a researcher, an author or blogger, I seriously doubt he will be reviewing an important report card that helps you pick the best health insurance plan that keeps you healthy. Published annually by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), this year’s report card ranks 227 health plans across the country on their ability to keep you healthy and well, treat you quickly, and how patients feel about their insurance coverage.
Because unlike banking or airlines where there is not much difference in ATM machines or planes, there is a big difference in whether a health insurance plan helps in keeping its enrollees healthy. Do children get their vaccinations? Do healthy mothers get screened for breast cancer or cervical cancer with mammograms and pap smears respectively? Do kids only get antibiotics appropriately for strep throat and not overtreated and unnecessarily when they have a viral illness or cold? Are adults over 50 screened for colon cancer (something Dr. Oz can relate to). Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Saving Money and Surviving the Healthcare Crisis*
My car was making a chirping noise when I drove forward and a high-pitched whine when I went in reverse, so I took it into the mechanic and, while he’s under the hood, for some long-deferred routine maintenance (an oil change).
So when the phone rang, I was expecting him to tell me I need new brakes. Nope, it’s the pharmacy, which can’t refill a prescription. I have to see the doctor in person. I’m not sick, but I’d deferred my routine maintenance for too long. In this case, because I’m on a maintenance drug, he needs to check my blood pressure (which by this point was rising). Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*
Paul Levy, President and CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, suggests we watch Massachusetts for what might be coming with healthcare reform:
Things are playing out just as one might predict in the Massachusetts small business and individual insurance market. The Insurance Commissioner turned down proposed rate increases, the state’s insurers appealed to the courts, and now they can’t write policies.
Perhaps more concerning is what Dennis Byron, a commenter on Mr. Levy’s blog, says about insurance exchanges:
I care because I am one of those who has been cancelled by my insurer (Fallon), solely, I believe, because I am an individual, have been told to go to the exchange, but the exchange does not work. This is a perfect example of why you don’t want the guys that run the registry running your healthcare.
If nothing else, this exposes the risks inherent to mandating unproven policy initiatives on a national scale that have yet to be even worked out in a single state.
-WesMusings of a cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist.
*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*