Friday, February 17, 2012

Long Time, No Type

It's been a fairly long time (over 5 months) since I posted anything to the blog.  A whole host of factors conspired to make it lower on the priority scale. That being said, I've still been following the tech route.  I'm still involved in social media. More than ever before, I know that these things changed business fundamentally with their arrival. I understand that I have to participate to remain relevant.  What I don't want to do is sound like I'm complaining too much.  My first world problems pale in comparison to 90% of the rest of the world, and I feel no compunction to use the internet as a whining room.
I've been blessed with a great business opportunity, a great family and a chance to do something I love in a way that I want to do it. There's been adversity, which often spawns writing, but there hasn't been a great deal to promote the kind of writing I think matters.

Until now.

Over a year ago when we began planning this endeavor into Direct Medicine (Concierge, Flat Fee), we decided to accept Medicare for the first year, as a service to those patients who were unsure if they wanted to commit to a $75 monthly fee alongside their Medicare. Forms were filled out and submitted.  Phone calls were made. 5 Months Later, we still have no Medicare provider numbers for ourselves or the company.  The government bureaucracy, in its infinite wisdom, provided us with 6 different answers to the same question, none of which appears to be the correct one.

We no longer plan on accepting Medicare.

In an era when physicians can receive jail time for Medicare fraud, we agreed that the need to accept Medicare was far outweighed by our fear of making an ignorant mistake and winding up with fines or imprisoned. If this many errors occurred with only the application, how can we be sure that the same errors or worse won't happen with the claims process.

An interesting phenomenon has arisen from our decision. Our Medicare bearing patients have decided to stick with us and pay the fee. They seem to prefer it. It's simpler, more direct and they know exactly what their primary care costs.

It's a symptom of a system with big problems.  Insurance, meant to help those who couldn't afford the high costs of advanced medical procedures, has become the healthcare equivalent of the lottery.  You pay into it, hoping to never use it, and when you need it, the returns on investment don't cover the first 20% or more. As is true with the lottery, health insurance has become a tax on people bad at math.