Why register with the Steelers Fever Forums?
 • Intelligent and friendly discussions.
 • It's free and it's quick. Always.
 • Enter events in the forums calendar.
 • Very user friendly software.
 • Exclusive contests and giveaways.

 Donate to Steelers Fever, Click here
 Our 2013 Goal: $400.00 - To Date: $00.00 (00.00%)
 Home | Forums | Editorials | Shop | Tickets | Downloads | Contact Pittsburgh Steelers Forum Feed Not Just Fans. Hardcore Fans.

Go Back   Steelers Fever Forums > Miscellaneous > Locker Room


Steelers Fever Fan Shop

Doc's Sports Get FREE NFL Picks and College Football picks as well as Football Lines like live NFL Lines and updated NFL Power Rankings all at Doc's Sports Service.

Steelers Steelers - Referees    Browns

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 03-25-2010, 05:50 PM   #1
Indo
Head Coach
 
Indo's Avatar
 

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: nowhere Alabama
Posts: 1,744
Gender: Male
Member Number: 11222
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default Lessons in Healthcare 101

OK. So over the past year or so I have been reading all kinds of things on this forum regarding healthcare and it has come to my attention that there is a large misperception/misconception made by people who are not in the healthcare profession about how things "work". I have been wanting for some time now to begin this thread. So here it is.

I will, from time to time, post some information about what I think is a common misperception among the general population (those that are not involved in providing healthcare). Having said that, this will be the first Lesson in Healthcare.



LESSON ONE



It is a common misconception that doctors and hospitals charge different fees to uninsured patients, Medicaid/Medicare patients, and private health insurance patients---that they bill one amount for a service to the patient and a different amount to the insurance provider and that they bill different amounts to uninsureds, 'Care/'caid patients and private insurance patients.



This is simply not true. In fact, it is illegal for any doctor or health care facility to have more than one Fee Schedule. This means that you must charge the same price for any given service to everyone. I will use a simple example:

Let's say that a doctor provides a service to a patient (a hernia operation, for example). What is not understood by many people is the concept of Reimbursement. Years ago the doctor would send a bill to his/her patient for the hernia operation. It would generally take a lonnnng time for the doctor to get paid because the patients had to contact their insurance company; the insurance co. would then send the money to the patient and the patient would turn around and send it to his doctor. Then the insurance companies (who were generally lead by Medicare) said, "Hey doctors! Tell you what---you'll love this! We will do you all a favor and help you get reimbursed for the service you provided (the hernia operation) by taking the inefficiency in the system out of the equation. Instead of you billing the patient and then they will have to contact us and then we will send the $$ to them and then they will send it to you (whew!), How about if you just send the bill directly to us, and then We will send the Reimbursement directly back to you! What a great Idea!" On paper and in theory it was...but what it really was was a way for insurance companies and Medicare/'caid to control the amount of the Reimbursements. Over time the Reimbusements have gotten smaller and smaller---I bet you didn't know that there is legislation currently pending that will decrease physician reimbursements by 21.5% (that's right TWENTY-ONE percent. How many of you could take a cut in pay by 21%? Me either. But that's a discussion for another thread...)

Back to the example.

So theway it works is that the doctor signs a contract with each and every insurance provider (including Medicare and Medicaid) to become a Provider of that type of insurance---meaning he can accept patients covered by that type of insurance. In technical jargon, he "Accepts Assignment", or agrees to accept whatever amount of money that that particular insurance company will pay for any given service. Is everyone following?

In our example, let's say that Frank Jones needs a hernia operation and he has Insurance XXX. Insurance XXX will pay $65 (I'm using low numbers to make it easy) and ONLY $65.

However, Insurance YYY will pay $80. Yes, different insurance companies pay different amounts within the same state and ACROSS states. Insurance YYY may pay $80 in Pennsylvania, but they will pay only $70 in South Dakota. (Do you begin to understand WHERE healthcare reform needs to change these types of things---not the crap they are handing us?)

Medicare may pay only $78
(To put things in real perspective, Medicare pays $651.92 for a hernia repair in Philadelphia but it pays only $583.85 in the rest of PA at the time of this post)

Does everyone see the problem here?
A doctor (or other health care facility can have ONLY one Fee Schedule (how much he bills for any given service provided). As a doctor you MUST bill the uninsured, the privately insured, and the Medicare/'caid patients THE SAME AMOUNT. It is ILLEGAL to bill different people different amounts.

Now, here is where it gets a little confusing:
Insurance XXX pays only $65
Insurance YYY pays $75
Insurance ZZZ may pay $90
Medicare (in this example) pays $78

What happens if the doctor sets his Fee for hernia repair at $65, but the patient has Insurance ZZZ? He gets paid $65, because THAT IS WHAT HE BILLED. Insurance ZZZ is willing to pay $90. But the doctor billed less, so he gets paid less.

What happens if the doctor sets his fee at $110. The patient has Insurance ZZZ and they will pay (reimburse) ONLY $90. The doctor gets paid $90.
Can the doctor then turn around and say, "Well, my fee is $110 and Ins. ZZZ paid me $90, so I will bill the patient the difference of $20".
NO. HE CANNOT. Remember, he signed a contract with Insurance ZZZ to "Accept Assignment". The Reimbursement Assigned to the service of Hernia Repair is $90. The doctor cannot, per the contract, turn around and bill the patient for the differnce.

In order for a doctor to collect as much payment as possible, he sets his Fee Schedule slightly above what the majority of insurance companies pay (in reality, it turns out to be about 150% of the Medicare Reimbursement Schedule).

So, for this example, the doctor sets his Fee Schedule for Hernia Repair at $85

Frank Jones has Insurance XXX----the doctor will get paid $65
Tom Smith has Ins. YYY---the doc will get paid $75
a patient with Ins. ZZZ ---the doc will get the full $85 (and, in fact, he could have gotten as much as $90, if his Fee Schedule was higher---but he Cannot change it. He must have a set Fee Schedule which is subject to audit).

Now, a patient who is uninsured will get a bill directly from the doc.---$85 in this case. We'll get back to that...another time.

So,looking at a patient with Insurance XXX---it appears as if the doctor billed the Ins. co. only $65 because the patient receives a paper that tells them that the doc was paid $65. But it may also say somewhere on the bill that the fee was $85. It gets confusing and appears that there were two different fees billed. There were not. The Fee was $85. The Insurance company agreed to pay $65. The doctor was obligated to accept the $65, or he would get NOTHING.

Insurance companies TELL doctors and hospitals how much they will pay. The doc/hosp. either accepts that much or gets nothing. Period.

HERE ENDETH THE LESSON

discuss
__________________
... I firmly believe that any man's finest hour...is that moment when he has to work his heart out in a good cause and he's exhausted on the field of battle - victorious.
--Vince Lombardi
Indo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2010, 08:50 PM   #2
Godfather
Living Legend
Supporter
 

Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,140
Member Number: 547
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default Re: Lessons in Healthcare 101

Quote:
I bet you didn't know that there is legislation currently pending that will decrease physician reimbursements by 21.5% (that's right TWENTY-ONE percent. How many of you could take a cut in pay by 21%? Me either. But that's a discussion for another thread...)
You're greedy and get paid too much. You should have to spend 11 years becoming a doctor and deal with the constant stress of liability and med mal insurance jsut to get paid less than a postal worker like "good' countries would do.

ETA: You should get one of the doctors in Congress to introduce an amendment to that legislation that cuts Congressional pay by the same amount as doctor pay. It'll get voted down but anyone trying to cut doctor pay will embarrass themselves and expose themselves as hypocrites.
Godfather is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2010, 10:26 PM   #3
MACH1
Quest For Seven
Supporter
 
MACH1's Avatar
 

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Potataho
Posts: 13,834
Member Number: 3236
Thanks: 1,414
Thanked 4,260 Times in 1,598 Posts
Default Re: Lessons in Healthcare 101

Quote:
I bet you didn't know that there is legislation currently pending that will decrease physician reimbursements by 21.5% (that's right TWENTY-ONE percent. How many of you could take a cut in pay by 21%
That much I did know. Thats why it's getting harder and harder to find doc's that accept medicare/medicaid patients.
__________________


ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ
MACH1 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2010, 10:53 PM   #4
tony hipchest
IRONMAN a.k.a. Tony Stark
 
tony hipchest's Avatar
 

Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Give me back my game...
Posts: 38,004
Member Number: 658
Thanks: 1,429
Thanked 6,056 Times in 2,604 Posts
Default Re: Lessons in Healthcare 101

thanks indo for starting this thread. i went to college for pre-med with aspirations of being a sugeon and even took a few courses at UNM's medical college. the most compelling and thought provoking was Sociology of Medical Practice.

my final term paper was coping with stress and i was amazed how little research there was on how those with such intense, time consuming jobs dealt with or were taught to handle the stress of having ones life in their hands.

to put it in football terms, a surgeon either has 'it" or they dont.

point being i really respect your opinion on this topic and hope you can add a real life perspective to us on this board.

can you tell us how this is gonna affect you first hand (and i understand that, at this point, you may be as much in the dark as the rest of us)?

i keep hearing how everybody will no longer be "free to chose" which doctor they see.

when does the government ship you and all the other doctors out and bring in all the new doctors that will not be of the peoples choice?

when i was a kid applying for the ROTC to be a doctor (because i wanted to be a field medic saving the lives of soldiers), i was amazed to learn that military doctors were paid according to their rank, not according to their education or free market value.

are you going to get a rank? is our new socialist regime gonna eliminate "private practice"? will we eliminate all elective surgeries or will the elite such as nanci pelosi still be allowed to reconstruct herself to look like a 110 year old joan rivers?

i live in a town where the choice of doctors is about as varied as mcdonalds vs. burger king. sometimes the line for one is longer than the other. is that preparing me for the socialism i am about to endure or will it pretty much be more of the same ol same ol?

i know some of these questions are sorta tongue in cheek, but most of the concers we have heard on this board are from the patient/payers POV.

i am really interrested in the provider/earners point of view.

oh and another question... theoretically, if you were to catch an STD, are you legally able to diagnose and write yourself a precription to get rid of the itch w/o an outside consultation?
__________________
tony hipchest is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2010, 11:05 PM   #5
MasterOfPuppets
Living Legend
Supporter
 
MasterOfPuppets's Avatar
 

Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 13,821
Gender: Male
Member Number: 1990
Thanks: 784
Thanked 3,229 Times in 1,377 Posts
Default Re: Lessons in Healthcare 101

bit off topic, but i remember reading before where a woman said the hospital included a fee for a circumsicion on the bill to her insurance company after she had a baby .... she gave birth to a girl......
__________________
“If tyranny and oppression come to this land it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.” ― James Madison

"When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty." - Thomas Jefferson

"The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first." -Thomas Jefferson

"The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers." - Thomas Jefferson

MasterOfPuppets is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2010, 09:22 AM   #6
Godfather
Living Legend
Supporter
 

Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,140
Member Number: 547
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default Re: Lessons in Healthcare 101

Quote:
i keep hearing how everybody will no longer be "free to chose" which doctor they see.

when does the government ship you and all the other doctors out and bring in all the new doctors that will not be of the peoples choice?
You'll lose your choice of doctor because you'll be FORCED to buy insurance and they tell you what doctor to see. And you won't be able to afford to go outside the system because you'll be paying out the wazoo for the premiums.
Godfather is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2010, 10:13 AM   #7
Indo
Head Coach
 
Indo's Avatar
 

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: nowhere Alabama
Posts: 1,744
Gender: Male
Member Number: 11222
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default Re: Lessons in Healthcare 101

Quote:
Originally Posted by tony hipchest View Post
thanks indo for starting this thread. i went to college for pre-med with aspirations of being a sugeon and even took a few courses at UNM's medical college. the most compelling and thought provoking was Sociology of Medical Practice.

my final term paper was coping with stress and i was amazed how little research there was on how those with such intense, time consuming jobs dealt with or were taught to handle the stress of having ones life in their hands.

to put it in football terms, a surgeon either has 'it" or they dont.

point being i really respect your opinion on this topic and hope you can add a real life perspective to us on this board.

can you tell us how this is gonna affect you first hand (and i understand that, at this point, you may be as much in the dark as the rest of us)?

i keep hearing how everybody will no longer be "free to chose" which doctor they see.

when does the government ship you and all the other doctors out and bring in all the new doctors that will not be of the peoples choice?

when i was a kid applying for the ROTC to be a doctor (because i wanted to be a field medic saving the lives of soldiers), i was amazed to learn that military doctors were paid according to their rank, not according to their education or free market value.

are you going to get a rank? is our new socialist regime gonna eliminate "private practice"? will we eliminate all elective surgeries or will the elite such as nanci pelosi still be allowed to reconstruct herself to look like a 110 year old joan rivers?

i live in a town where the choice of doctors is about as varied as mcdonalds vs. burger king. sometimes the line for one is longer than the other. is that preparing me for the socialism i am about to endure or will it pretty much be more of the same ol same ol?

i know some of these questions are sorta tongue in cheek, but most of the concers we have heard on this board are from the patient/payers POV.

i am really interrested in the provider/earners point of view.

oh and another question... theoretically, if you were to catch an STD, are you legally able to diagnose and write yourself a precription to get rid of the itch w/o an outside consultation?
Lots of good questions---unfortunately I am about to go operate on a patient with no insurance----you know, one of the ones who don't get good health care under the previously current system...
I'll respond to the questions as soon as I can...
__________________
... I firmly believe that any man's finest hour...is that moment when he has to work his heart out in a good cause and he's exhausted on the field of battle - victorious.
--Vince Lombardi
Indo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2010, 10:25 AM   #8
steelax04
Assistant Coach
Supporter
 
steelax04's Avatar
 
HolmenKollen Ski Jump Champion!
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 1,438
Gender: Male
Member Number: 12182
Thanks: 299
Thanked 660 Times in 303 Posts
My Mood: Yeehaw
Default Re: Lessons in Healthcare 101

Quote:
Originally Posted by Godfather View Post
You'll lose your choice of doctor because you'll be FORCED to buy insurance and they tell you what doctor to see. And you won't be able to afford to go outside the system because you'll be paying out the wazoo for the premiums.
Not all insurance tells you what doctor to go see. Even with HMOs you choose a PCP (Primary Care Physician) and that's the patient's choice. With a PPO, it's more open in the fact that you can choose to see whatever physician or specialist whenever you'd like. HMOs are more restrictive on that, but there are even 'open' HMOs that allow quite a bit of choice.

In-network and out-of-network is different than the insurance telling you what specific doctor you have to see.

Is this bill changing the way that insurance operates that the patient can't even choose their PCP anymore? If so, I'd like to see a link to that because that's a whole other can of worms that might not hold up to some Constitutional scrutiny.
__________________
steelax04 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2010, 12:09 PM   #9
lamberts-lost-tooth
Banned
 
lamberts-lost-tooth's Avatar
 

Join Date: May 2006
Location: Midwest
Posts: 10,829
Gender: Male
Member Number: 2363
Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Default Re: Lessons in Healthcare 101

Quote:
Originally Posted by Indo View Post
Lots of good questions---unfortunately I am about to go operate on a patient with no insurance----you know, one of the ones who don't get good health care under the previously current system...
I'll respond to the questions as soon as I can...
WHAT?????

That cant be true......

I saw Denzel Washington in the movie "John Q"!!!

I KNOW how the healthcare system operates dammit!!!!!!
lamberts-lost-tooth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2010, 03:48 PM   #10
chacha
Bench Warmer
 
chacha's Avatar
 

Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: PA
Posts: 370
Gender: Female
Member Number: 15976
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default Re: Lessons in Healthcare 101

chacha is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:21 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Shoutbox provided by vBShout v6.2.1 (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2014 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging v3.0.8 (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2014 DragonByte Technologies Ltd. Runs best on HiVelocity Hosting.
Navbar with Avatar by Motorradforum
no new posts