Healthcare Fail.

I haven’t been listening to much of the healthcare political banter because honestly I don’t think it’s going to get anywhere. Universal healthcare sounds great, except for the fact that the healthcare still sucks.

I’ve been trying to set up a doctor’s appointment with a psychiatrist to see if I have ADHD. I don’t have a GP, so I call my viagra without prescriptions insurance company for a referral. They gave me a list of people I can go to, I say thanks and start calling them.

I made it through the list of 6 doctors they gave me (which seemed plenty at the time) without having a single office answer the phone. I leave messages on answering machines. I go online to bring up a wider list. After an hour of calling places to find they either don’t know how to use a phone or aren’t accepting new patients, I finally find the one doctor in the entire New York area who is both available and accepts my insurance. Hooray. I set up an appointment.

Apparently I have to call my insurance company (Oxford/UnitedHealth) to get an authorization. Except sometime between last week and today I have managed to misplace my insurance card. So I call the insurance company.  They can’t find me in the system, hold on while we transfer… oh wait I just got dumped back to the automated voice prompts. Next rep, “oh you need to call this other department, you’re with a different group.” And so on and so forth. After two disconnects and 5 different reps, I finally get to someone who is capable of finding me in the system. I ask if I can have a temporary card emailed to me. She says sure, it’ll go out in 1-3 business days.

What? How does sending an email take 1-3 business days? How is there not a button they can hit which simply pre-fills a PDF with my subscriber ID and group number?

Ok fine. I get my number and plan on just printing it out for the doctor. I get transferred somewhere else, listen to some really not very calming classical music on hold, and finally get my authorization number. They ask the address of the doctor, which I’ve of course forgotten. So I look it up online.

I found the doctor’s address on one of those “rate an MD” websites.  Along with a number of reviews for the doctor. The verdict? Terrible. The kind of shrink who just wants to throw a prescription at you, take some money, and shove you out the door. The kind of shrink I hate. I’d cancel my appointment and make one elsewhere if it were possible to get anyone else to answer their phone or return a call. Since that doesn’t seem to be in the realm of possibility, I’m stuck with this guy. Maybe he’s really great and the 10 people who wrote terrible things about him are really just crazy. I mean, they are seeing a psychiatrist.

I could go out of network but wow that’s insanely expensive. My out-of-network coverage is pretty much a joke. So I get to go to the one in-network doctor I can get a hold of, who doesn’t seem like a good fit for me at all.

But at least with the new government healthcare plan, everyone in America will be entitled to the same infuriating service I’m enjoying oh so very much right now.

1 thought on “Healthcare Fail.”

  1. What you’re describing is the result of the for-profit health care system we have now. Universal health coverage isn’t the nightmare it’s portrayed to be by the delusional sociopaths who call themselves the Republican party in this country. True universal health coverage, a single-payer, government-run insurance plan, would drastically cut down on this kind of insanity. So would any number of other more-sane-than-we-have-now alternatives including a hybrid government-run/private system or even an entirely-private-but-heavily-regulated system. As things stand now, money is the only motivator in our health care system and it shows.

    Some opponents of universal health coverage blather on about how government participation in the system would lead to the health care experience being like that of the Department of Motor Vehicles. I have two replies to that. First, health insurance is already the biggest, most confusing, and overtly hostile bureaucracy in existence. Second, I wish they’d be MORE like the DMV. When I go there, I take a number, sit down and wait my turn (although I rarely wait more than 10 or 15 minutes), I go to a counter and speak to a person who attends to my business quickly and efficiently, and I’m done. I’d kill to have that kind of experience at a doctor’s office or on the phone with an insurance company.

    I follow this blog because of our common interests in things like PHP development, electronics tinkering, and even hydro/aeroponics. I didn’t expect to get all political on you, but this is a topic very much near and dear to me and I can’t let it go. It’s hugely important to the whole country and I can’t sit idly by and let statements like “I haven’t been listening to much of the healthcare political banter because honestly I don’t think it’s going to get anywhere” just go unaddressed. You’re young and presumably relatively healthy and health care probably doesn’t mean much to you right now, but it will – it will affect you and/or people very close to you sooner than you might realize. And public health policy isn’t some ethereal thing that just happens “out there” while people like us go about the real-world business of things like engineering. It’s the other way around. People – individually and collectively – are what matter most in life, and the stuff we dabble in is largely incidental.

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