Friday, January 06, 2012

That fine print can be a pain in the...

As we've noted, ObamneyCare©'s "free" preventive care benefits aren't actually free. Increased premiums, fewer providers and lower quality health care are the price we pay for these oh-so-generous freebies.

Turns out, though, that even the freebies aren't, well, free:

"[ObamneyCare©] encourages prevention by requiring most insurance plans to pay for preventive care ... But there are confusing exceptions ... colonoscopies can go from free to pricey while the patient is under anesthesia."

The problem is the distinction between "preventative" and "diagnostic." A simple colonoscopy, where the doc is simply "sightseeing" is going to count as the former, and thus "free." Oftentimes, however, he'll spy a (usually benign) polyp; using the 'scope, he'll zap it and continue on his way. It's that "zapping" that changes this from a preventive to a diagnostic - and thus chargeable - procedure. Since one is under anesthesia while all of this is going on, there's no opportunity to say "hold up there doc, just let it be."

Of course, I don't understand the mindset that would allow anyone to actually do that, either, conscious or not.

The problem is further exacerbated by the fact that the entire exercise - not just the "zapping" - becomes diagnostic. It makes much more sense for the additional process to be billed as diagnostic, while leaving the underlying procedure in the preventative (and therefore "free") category.

Some of the players are looking into making these kinds of changes. But of course we had to pass the bill to learn what's in it.

And what's not.

[Hat Tip: FoIB Holly R]
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