Friday, October 19, 2012

Between Me and My Doctor

Casa Jane has been visiting medical offices quite a bit lately.    One theme that has come across clearly is the frustration doctors feel with the intrusion of insurance companies into the exam room.   While there are some who oppose Obamacare out of fear that the government will come between them and their doctors, it is so clear to me that the insurance companies are already there.  This is not necessarily a new concept but it has been reinforced lately.

One doctor apologized repeatedly for looking at a computer screen as he talked.  He said the insurance company wanted records online and so he had to type and read as he went.  When I asked about a point of care he said it would be dependent on what the insurance company would allow.

Another medical issue required several calls to a couple of insurance companies to figure out how an exam would be covered.   When I got to the appointment both the doctor and the billing person were agitated about potential problems. 

I have good insurance (union, yes!) and even with it there are a lot of hoops I have to jump through.  The days when our medical decisions were made solely by patients and doctors were the days when patients paid for everything out of pocket.  Right now someone is going to be making or at least steering those decisions, and I have greater influence over elected officials than insurance company executives.

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