Monday, January 21, 2013

Shecantbeserious hits bottom, keeps digging

[UPDATE: Looks like Nate has scooped me!]

Words fail:

"When patients pay for medical care out of pocket, they should be able to keep doctors and hospitals from telling their health insurers about the care."

This advice is just part of a new, 560+ page compendium of final rules and regs just released by Madame Secretary and her minions. Masochistic readers may peruse them at their leisure here. Oh, and in case you're wondering, the initial projected cost of implementing these new rules is up to $225 million, and up to $43 million annually after that. I think that's low-balling it.

Among the many wonderful new rules are more onerous compliance requirements on private health info, while at the same time expanding school vaccination programs and the sending of a deceased's health information (he's dead, Jim) to survivors.

But the most egregious part is this little gem:

"[A]nother provision restricts "disclosures to health plan concerning treatment for which  the individual has paid out of pocket in full"

The problem is that this hinders insurance carriers from accurately pricing the risk, and it's going to be a major problem for in-network providers, whose contracts generally include this kind of disclosure. Not to mention, how does the doc (or his office staff) know which info to pass along, and which not?

As usual, the rocket surgeons now running our health care system leave a lot to be desired.

ADDENDUM: Our resident Medical Office Manager, Kelley B, noticed something, um, odd:

This is the dumbest thing I have read today:

"Commenters also asked what providers should do when patients said they would pay for sensitive care out of pocket but failed to pay for it"

Uh, if the patient presents at checkout and states he will pay for the service, he does not want it billed, then the money is collected right there, there is no billing the patient, as there is no electronic billing.  If he says, "oh I didn't know you would want my money now," then we tell the patient, too bad, so sad, but now we will bill insurance.
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