Thursday, November 13, 2014

Despite the Affordable Care Act, Health Insurers again destroying American lives.

Our supposed "insurance" system is fatally flawed, and may get worse if "free market" Republicans have their way with health care. Instead of having health care coverage everywhere - seeing any doctor or going to any hospital - we're chained to a network located in our area. 

The Problem: Insurers have their own health care networks, using specific hospitals and doctors. That often ends up bankrupting people who have insurance, like the woman below, who was taken to an out of network hospital.  

I had my own experience where I meticulously made sure all my medical costs were accounted for with my insurer. What I didn't know was the eye surgeons clinic was not in my network, and neither was the very expensive anesthesiologist. A big mistake, but an easy costly one to make. 

But my mistake is nothing compared to Megan Rothbauer's problem. It should be clear by now health care is not a consumer product left up to the free market and insurance companies:

DailyKos: Megan Rothbauer suffered a heart attack at the young age of 29-years-old and had to be put in a medically-induced coma for 10 days. After she recovered, she found her nightmare was just beginning:
WISC: A project manager for a manufacturing company, she is one year removed from a cardiac arrest and the subsequent physical recovery is being dwarfed by a near-impossible fiscal recovery. She was sent last Sept. 9 to the emergency room at St. Mary's Hospital, which was out of her insurance network, instead of to Meriter Hospital, three blocks away, which was covered by her insurance. It's the difference between a $1,500 maximum out-of-pocket expense and the now-$50,000-plus she's facing in bills.

"I was unconscious when I was taken to the hospital," she said. "Unfortunately, I was taken to the wrong hospital for my insurance.
Meg Gaines, from the Center for Patient Partnerships, said this is type of situation is far too common:
"It's devastating for people who plan, who get insurance, get coverage, do everything they can and then, at 29, have a heart attack and get taken to the wrong hospital, and can't get married, can't do anything because they have to declare bankruptcy because they can't afford to have gone to the hospital," she said. "I mean, it's not enough to worry about having a heart attack at 29, you end up with a secondary one or a stroke because of your medical bills. I mean, it's just ridiculous. The level of frustration is astronomical."

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