Obamacare and Medicare and Idontcare
This week, my wife and I got fired. The medical practice that we have used for several years sent us a nice letter and told us how sorry they were but they would not be filing for Medicare any more. They are no longer a “participating provider”. If we have regular Medicare, which we do not, they will provide us service and file the initial claim but we have to pay them up front and wait for Medicare to pay us. In other words, they will charge us for the service and we fight with Medicare if we are not happy with the 70% reimbursement.
They say that I can continue to come there using Medicare part B and they will file for me and they then have no reimbursement issues. The problem with that is my Prescription Drug Plan and my supplemental plans. And I will have to be trained on the 70,000 codes to be sure that I get my money back. That’s where the new “Idon’tcare” plans come in to play.
This is not a small practice. They say on their website that they have 10,000 patient clients. They have about three regular doctors and several PA’s. They have a nice new office, lab, and do some x-rays there. The doctors went to the best medical schools.
They are in a location where there is a large base of people with normal insurance and I suppose the low reimbursements for Medicare along with the 70,000 medical codes just got too much for them. Yes, that 70,000 number is right. The Federal Government has made the procedures for filing for a claim a totally absurd process. The repercussions for these rules have yet to be determined. It will be some time before we see their full effects as more and more medical providers will choose to eliminate accepting Medicare, and Obamacare, patients. Opting instead for fewer and more profitable patients with traditional insurance or for people that price doesn’t matter.
Neither my wife nor I have actually seen a doctor at the practice in some time, instead we have been seen by the Nurse Practitioners. The last time I was there for a routine blood pressure and cholesterol screening to get new prescriptions, there was no one in the waiting room when I arrived for the appointment at 9:15 AM. Some patients came and went during the one hour and fifteen minute wait (they got around to seeing me at 10:30 ) that I had before I was seen by the PA. So, I may not be losing anything by having to move back to my old doctors who I left, by the way, because they stopped taking the insurance I had at the time I was seeing them before. That was a fly by night insurance called Humana at that time.
Where is all this going? I can’t claim to have a crystal ball, but I think I may have a good guess.
The better medical practices in areas where there are sufficient numbers of patients with traditional insurance will move away from accepting Medicare, Obamacare , and certainly Medicaid leaving those patients to have to use second class and overcrowded medical practices and wait as long as necessary. Not only will Obamacare patients not be able to keep their doctors but neither will Medicare related patients. This will most certainly severely affect the rural areas where quality care is a fast fading dream. It will also force patients, like me, to pay more and more out of pocket and to buy more expensive plans.
Several times over the past three or four years, it has been easier and faster to go to a local “Doc in a Box” for “emergency treatment”. The Wellstar Urgent Care down the street has provided us with excellent care when we went in and they did not know our name either and the extra few dollars seems worth the quicker in and out times. Maybe the Primary Care Physician is dead, for them and us.
The idea of having a doctor that really knows anything about you is fast fading. They all just look you up in the iPad while they are talking to you anyway.
One thing is certain, all the talk about containing insurance costs is just plain nonsense. Costs are going through the roof. Talk about reducing medical costs is just plain nonsense. Those costs are going through the roof. One of my sons runs his own business and buys his healthcare for his family at a cost of $25,000 per year. These costs alone are enough to make a person think twice about owning their own business. The option: no insurance.
Doctors are complaining they aren’t making enough now. There could be a discussion about how much is enough? No doubt having to code stuff from a list of 70,000 is just a plain bureaucratic nightmare. But doctors are seen as fair game. They are trying to fight back and not have to take us low profit customers. I guess that’s the free enterprise system.
There are thousands of people in some areas of the world that would like to be a doctor in the US making $200,000 a year. That may be the doctor you see one day soon. They don’t speak English but what doctor talks to you anyway in the 2 1/2 minutes you see them. Maybe they will be as good as using a PA.
Who is not affected? High level government employees who get exempted from the rules. By whom? High level government employees. The poor who will get coverage and service somewhere if only at the emergency room. The very wealthy who have the cash to pay if needed. The uninsured.
Seniors and Middle America (what’s left of it) and self employed are hung out to dry.
A solution? A high speed shuttle boat from Miami to Cuba. I hear they have great medical care there.
Think you are not affected? Do you have a parent or grandparent? Are you going to be one?
Everyone will pay more. A lot more. For less. At least in the crystal ball I’m using. And the response is, Idon’tcare. That Socialism stuff is looking better an better.