Why Your Health Insurer Doesn’t Care About Your Big Bills

From National Public Radio:

The United States spends more per person on health care than any other country does. A lot more. As a country, by many measures, we are not getting our money’s worth. Tens of millions remain uninsured. And millions are in financial peril: About 1 in 5 is currently being pursued by a collection agency over medical debt. Health care costs repeatedly top the list of consumers’ financial concerns.

Experts frequently blame this on the high prices charged by doctors and hospitals. But less scrutinized is the role insurance companies — the middlemen between patients and those providers — play in boosting our health care tab. Widely perceived as fierce guardians of health care dollars, insurers, in many cases, aren’t. In fact, they often agree to pay high prices, then, one way or another, pass those high prices on to patients — all while raking in healthy profits.

The health insurance industry is often bewildering and sometimes enraging. This article takes an inside look at the games, deals and incentives that often result in higher costs, delays in care, or denials of treatment.

About half of Americans get their health care benefits through their employers, who rely on insurance companies to manage the plans, restrain costs and get them fair deals.

But as one hip replacement patient discovered, “once he had signed on for surgery, a secretive system of pre-cut deals came into play that had little to do with charging him a reasonable fee.”

Read the whole piece.

For more information on the issues surrounding medical debt, please contact RIP Medical Debt.