Sunday, August 22, 2010

Why Your Insurance Premiums With United Healthcare Are High

... because they're funding foot paths for the American Heart Association with them.

Never mind that walking can be done pretty much anywhere.

And I guess it would be presumptuous of me to ask the American Heart Association to fight on behalf of patients against the bureaucratic overhead imposed by United Healthcare's newly enacted Cardiology Notification Requirement starting 1 September in Illinois now that United Healthcare has given so much money to the American Heart Association, wouldn't it?

But look at it on the bright side: at least our patients will have some nice concrete to look at while they walk.



Pluripotent said...

If insurance companies were forced to compete across state lines instead of being protected from competition by states, then such things would be irrelevant. You could choose to pay more for an insurance company that provided footpaths you will never use, or you could choose to pay less at a company that put more of its efforts towards actually insuring you.

DrWes said...


As it is now, I see these as "footpaths to nowhere" (to coin an earlier political term.)

Maybe others feel that providing these footpaths will "promote healthy lifestyles," but there are simply no data to support the efficacy of walking to save health care dollars.

Instead, we might want to consider how many patients would have to have a pacemaker denied to fund this project.

Since a pacemaker implant likely costs an insurer about $20K each, then about 100 patients will have to be denied a pacemaker implant by this insurer to support the donation to the AHA.

Hey, the profit has to come from somewhere, right?

Kind of looks ugly for both United Healthcare and the AHA when we consider this donation for an activity that really requires absolutely no equipment nor facilities whatsoever (except maybe tennis shoes).

Lisa said...

It really doesn't even require tennis shoes. I walk almost 5 miles a day around my office in heels.

moomag said...

And how to factor in the cost of life for those who die while the doc and the insurance company fight out the denial?

jimbino said...

The insurance company is paying for public acceptance. They know, though they hide the fact from their clients, that carrying insurance is almost everywhere and always stupid behavior. Less stupid, perhaps, than the physician's willingness to participate in the insurance nonsense.

Apart from considerations of fraud and adverse selection, carrying insurance is nothing more than a bet that an unfortunate and unexpected event--cancer, say-- will occur. The eventual payout is somewhere near 50 cents on the dollar. Compare that with 96 cents on the dollar payout on a spin of the roulette wheel.

You lose and the house wins in the end, of course, but a night playing roulette can be fun, while paying insurance premiums or a day of fighting and paying insurance bills never is.

Even dumber is the behavior of the physicians who accept lowered payments, provide uncompensated services, hire special staff, immerse themselves in paperwork, wait months for payment, spend hours justifying and arguing over billing, suffer denied compensation, hire lawyers, go to court, etc., just to deal with insurance.

Dumbest of all are the poor patients who actually consider being treated by those dumb physicians who deal with insurance, Medicare and Medicaid.

Insurance rates right along with religion and marriage as a human frailty I just cannot, as a rational scientist or humanist, understand.