To me, a European, the US healthcare system is hard to comprehend. However, while reading Adam Weinstein’s story, I’ve learned that even Americans don’t always get it.
When Adam wanted to get a computerized tomography (CT) scan, he had to go through so much trouble, he decided to share the whole experience on Twitter.
At first, it seemed like a simple task: he just wanted to learn whether he could save some money. But instead of finding answers, he constantly ran into more and more questions. In the end, he did manage to get to the bottom of things, proving that you sometimes have to be a pain in the a** to get what’s rightfully yours. I hope we all can learn a little resilience from his viral thread!
More info: Twitter
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“[This] was the first time using this insurance,” Adam told Bored Panda. “I obtained it on the Healthcare.gov exchange in December, since I work remotely on a contract basis with my New York-based employer, which is working hard — and struggling mightily — to get me covered through their NY-based benefits.”
Previously, Adam went for about a year without a full-time employer or health coverage, and his health has suffered as a result. “I’m also the first person in my immediate family ever to have insurance; my parents are self-employed, avoid doctors, and pay cash when they need care, which was why I knew to ask about self-pay rates. All of my insurance experiences over my career have been similar to this one; the least bad experiences were using Tricare in the military and campus clinics in graduate school.”
He spent the entire day on Wednesday before he finally got an appointment to get the CT scan taken within driving distance. “Apparently, the first place, which is around the corner from me and in the same health group as my primary specialist, was technically in my plan but is billed as out of plan because it’s a hospital facility. My employer has been very understanding as I’ve lost work productivity in fixing this situation.”
Despite all the hassle he had to go through, Adam doesn’t really blame the staff. “Most of the people I’ve worked with, in clinics and in insurance, are sympathetic but are also hamstrung — and acutely aware of it — by arcane profitmaking rules in a bureaucracy set up by stakeholders way above their paygrades. One insurance rep, in particular, spent an hour with me, calling clinics to set up the procedure and necessary approvals… after a colleague of theirs sort of muffed it. Even then, I had to make some followup calls and chase some billing info to make everything theoretically work. I anticipate more of the same when I go in for the CT scan next week.” He does, however, blame the American health system, calling it ‘a batshit insane patchwork of privileged, cash-hoovering cartels and fiefdoms.’
“Everyone knows it,” he said. “I worry about its ability to address my health, sure, but more to the point, I worry about its capacity to bankrupt me and the people I love. And I worry about a thin, pale version of national patriotism that believes the fault lies with the underemployed, sick and afflicted, rather than the system that’s supposed to tend to them.”
In his youth, Adam was an ardent libertarian who believed that profit motives and frictionless markets could solve big problems. But things have changed. “I grew up, and have now spent nearly two decades in the American workforce. I’ve been mugged, beaten, and left for dead a couple of times by reality, and it’s made me a believer in radical change, not a conservative. You can care about people, or you can care about maximizing revenues, but not both. America is the proof.”
According to a December poll by GALLUP, Americans prefer a healthcare system based on private insurance (54%) over a government-run healthcare system (42%). But it’s worth mentioning that while support for a government-run system averaged 36% from 2010 to 2014, it has been 40% or higher for each of the past five years. Which would you favor and why? Tell us in the comments.
Here’s what people said about the ‘thievery’
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