Sunday, August 09, 2009

Healthcare frustrations

I've ended up having quite a few discussions on the topic of health care recently, and the bottom line from all the discussion is that while some may have it better than others here in our country, we still have a long way to go before we get it closer to where it needs to be. Now many people have their ideas that they passionately believe when it comes to health care. Some are worried about socialized medicine... i.e. government run health care... Isn't that what Medicare is?

And the one chorus I've heard from lots of seniors is "Don't you mess with my Medicare!" So if this government run plan is what so many people are scared they're going to lose, what's the big deal with providing another government run option for all the people who are not lucky enough to work for a big company that provides healthcare?

When I worked for a big company, all I was concerned about was that I'd be able to keep my own health insurance and that the government wouldn't take away my freedom to choose.

Now that I've been laid off, I'm really interested in that possible government plan b/c I'm not sure I'll continue to be able to afford to stay with my current insurance provider. And if I switch, then there may be a whole lot of pre-existing conditions that might not be covered anyway.

One of the things that everyone talks about is problems, but not solutions. I think one solution is to get the insurance companies out of the doctoring business. My doctor should be able to tell me what is wrong and not have to wait for an approval for an insurance company as to when and how to provide treatment.

Another problem we have is that often, your primary doctor may not be able to diagnose the condition because they're often not allowed to run the right tests and then you have to go see specialists... Well, if enough prep isn't done on the front end as to what type of specialist you really need to see, then you could go to one pointless doctor appt to another to another and still never find out what is truly wrong with you.

This has been a personal experience of mine. A few years ago I got Very sick... It was kind of like mono, but worse for me, and I knew it wasn't mono because I'd already had it a few years earlier. This particular virus made me so tired it took all my strength to climb up 6 stairs. No one could figure out what was wrong. First I went to my doctor, then an ENT. Nothing they did helped, so after a few weeks, they sent me to an infectious disease specialist. By the time I got to the right specialist, the virus had almost worked its way out of my system. Then I had to fight with the disability insurance people because they didn't want to cover my time away from work because the diagnosis of the infectious disease doctor wasn't absolutely certain. Ugh! Finally won that one, but I shouldn't have had to fight at all.

So both the insurance companies and I were stuck with paying useless bills and copays until I got to the right specialist. That was 3 or 4 visits that could have been avoided. If my primary doctor had had the time and support behind her from the insurance companies to run the right kinds of tests in the beginning, those useless visits could have been avoided, and I might not have gone through the terror of wondering what was wrong with me for over a month and would I ever get better.

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