Archives for July 5, 2008

Man Faked Heart Attack to Avoid Bill? – TIME

Man Faked Heart Attack to Avoid Bill? – TIME
(AP / WAUKESHA, Wisconsin) — A 52-year-old Milwaukee-area man has been accused of faking heart attacks to avoid paying restaurant bills and cab fares.

People never cease to amaze me.

Asymmetrical Information: a different idea for health insurance

Health care

04 Jul 2008 04:02 pm

Kemp shocks me by pushing a project near and dear to my heart–switching America’s government provided insurance to catastrophic income insurance, rather than the current screwed up system. My proposal is that the government should pick up the tab after you’ve expended 15% of your annual income.

Now, that’s an interesting idea, and it combines a couple of things I’ve advocated before: insurance as being against catastrophe (rather than paying for routine care) and a requirement people spend some of their own money on their own health.

I wonder what that looks like, budgetarily?

Sorry that looks funny: I tried publishing from Word 2007.  Sticks in a LOT of extra HTML it doesn’t need to.

WSJ on Balance Billing

In the WSJ Health Blog:

Hospital Company Sued for Billing Patients When Insurance Doesn’t Pay

Posted by Jacob Goldstein

Say you wind up in the hospital. The hospital bills your insurance, but the insurance company thinks the price is inflated and only pays part of what’s billed. So the hospital decides that you owe the portion your insurance won’t pay.

This is called “balance billing,” and it’s been debated in health-care circles for decades.

That’s also a very insurance-friendly spin.  What it actually represents is a company refusing to pay for services already rendered, and deciding unilaterally what they’ll pay.  When it’s “Out of network” care, there is no agreement between the service providers and the insurance companies (and, thus, the patients) on what’s paid for at what rate, so just deciding not to pay is a way to use the insured patient as political cover to not pay a bill.  Note this never works to the advantage to those actually providing services (hospitals, doctors) but is designed to leave money in the hands of insurance companies.

The insurance companies don’t want balance billing, and it’s not on noble principle, its because enough unhappy customers would cause regulatory changes that would cost them money (like, pay for services already rendered).