Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Good Health Care, NOT!

Utah prides itself on its health care. We’ve been told for years that because of the research and efforts done here, mostly at places like LDS Hospital, the University of Utah Hospital, and Primary Children’s Hospital, that we’ve got access to the best health care in the nation.

Or maybe not.

According to this report Utah’s HMO’s are severely lacking. Just take this example:

Collectively, Utah's five HMOs failed to meet the national standard in 34 of 39 areas, according to a statewide survey released Tuesday. The worst performer by far was Regence HealthWise (Blue Cross Blue Shield), which fell below even the statewide average in all but one category in which it submitted data.

Guess which health care plan I’m signed up with. Yup, Regence HealthWise. I’m none too happy with it, either. It’s terribly expensive, terribly restrictive, and a pain in the butt to work with. For example, my doctor has prescribed Nexium for me, because of my abdominal pain and two trips to the emergency room because of gall-bladder and intestinal trouble. I got some samples from him (and my Mom, who used to be on it), and it seems to be working. Guess what, though. Regence won’t fill the prescription unless he calls them and makes the case that I need it. Isn’t that what the prescription slip is for? What do they think, I’ve conned my doctor into prescribing it to me so I can eat it as a snack?

Later in the article the people at Regence make excuses and try and cover up the problem.

.... Doug Hasbrouck questions the reliability of the state survey. Hasbrouck, chief medical officer for Regence, says . . . . If Regence checked charts and audited its numbers, the company would compare favorably, he said, but the cost would have to be divided among a relatively small number of clients. . . ."To spend the money to prove that point doesn't make sense to our customers who are concerned about the price of their health insurance," Hasbrouck said.

Guess what Mr. Hasbrouck. It costs too much as it is, and you won’t cover the care I need, even though my premiums would pay for the drug three times over. Why should I, or anyone else, believe you care about anything other than your profits?

If good health is the measure of a good HMO, then Regence is succeeding. According to the statewide study, 68 percent of HealthWise customers rate their overall health as excellent or good - the most of any HMO in the state. However, the company received only average marks in all other consumer satisfaction categories, from claims processing to customer service to rating of their health plan.

Interesting. They never asked me. I wonder why that is? Oh yeah. I think they’re full of crap and merely padding their pockets with my high premiums. No wonder I have intestinal trouble.

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