Health insurance billing could have been simpler

OlympiaMarch 27, 2014 

Letter to a health care provider in response to viewing my account online: Dear unfortunate human whose job it is to read this letter, your figures are incorrect. I’m not surprised you don’t know who has been paid what. Between March 23, 2013, (when I fractured my foot) and June 1 (when I started coverage with my new job) I had three insurances with four kinds of billing, two deductibles and two flexible spending accounts.

Bills included an orthopedic specialist, the hospital that owns the CT scanner, the radiologist who read the CT scan, the radiology department (16 plain film X-rays over three months with 16 professional technologists and interpreters), medications, office visits, two casts, crutches, a Frankenstein boot, elastic wraps, weeks of physical therapy, lace-up high-top tennis shoes and two visits to my mental health therapist (not covered).

All of my providers were personable, professional, cost-conscious, kind and caring. It is not their fault the billing system is a rat’s nest nightmare. On March 22, I celebrated one full year of billing complications solely due to our ridiculously cumbersome insurance-centered health care system. As far as I’m concerned, the insurance companies owe me money for fixing their screwed-up bookkeeping.

Single-payer universal coverage would have been so much cheaper and easier for everyone involved.

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