I have described how the healthcare insurance industry loads its expenses into direct patient care expenses to increase their profits.
The Medical-Loss Ratio calculation is not reported by the traditional media. The healthcare insurance industry spends less healthcare dollars on direct patient care after it is permitted by federal and local agencies to load its expenses into the direct patient care column.
Simply put, the healthcare insurance industry cooks the books to increase its net profit.
Another way to increase profits is to shortchange physicians on medical claims. In fact, 20% of medical claims payments are inaccurate according to the American Medical Association’s (AMA) fourth annual National Health Insurer Report Card. Claims-processing errors by health insurance companies waste billions of dollars and frustrate patients and physicians.
This is one of the reasons the RAND report about physicians controlling waste is so absurd to me. The healthcare insurance industry creates waste in order to increase net profit. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Repairing the Healthcare System*
A patient brought in a flyer for Life Line Screening, where for $129 an individual can have their carotid (neck) and peripheral (leg) arteries screened for blockage, their abdominal aorta screened for aneurysm (swelling), and be tested for osteoporosis. The advertisement claims that “we can help you avoid a stroke,” and their logo notes “Life Line Screening: The Power of Prevention.”
Are these tests worth your money? Short answer: No.
Although the flyer correctly indicates that 80 percent of stokes can be prevented, the National Stroke Assocation does not recommend ultrasound as a screening test. Preventing stroke includes quitting smoking, knowing your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers, drinking alcohol in moderation (if already doing so), exercising regularly, and eating a low-sodium diet. Their is no mention of an ultrasound test. Why? Because there is NO evidence that it helps save lives in individuals who are healthy and have no symptoms (except for the following situations). Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Saving Money and Surviving the Healthcare Crisis*
I have been in senior executive management in both managed care and a major hospital system. I find the hysteria over “reform” bitterly amusing because it is so misdirected.
The real problem with health care in America? Greed, indifference and incompetence, pure and simple. But not in the places everyone is pointing.
Insurance companies have to maximize their revenue because they answer to their boards. They are in no rush to fix claims systems that make copious errors and delay payments to providers. There are hundreds of claims processing software programs out there. Some are acceptable, some are useless. None are really good or efficient. And there is the human error factor. A careless mistake by an apathetic claims processor can create payment problems that could literally last for years. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at KevinMD.com*