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Insurer Steps Up Fight to Control Health Care Cost (finding another way to screw you)

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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 04:09 AM
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Insurer Steps Up Fight to Control Health Care Cost (finding another way to screw you)


By ANEMONA HARTOCOLLIS
Published: January 24, 2010

A front in the national health care battle has opened in New York City, where a major hospital chain and one of the nations largest insurance companies are locked in a struggle over control of treatment and costs that could have broad ramifications for millions of people with private health insurance.
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Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times


The fight is between Continuum Health Partners, a consortium of five New York hospitals, including Beth Israel Medical Center and St. Lukes-Roosevelt Hospital Center, both major teaching hospitals, and UnitedHealthcare, which includes Oxford health plans and has 25 million members across the country, one million of them in New York.

While Congress has been haggling over covering as many as 15 million uninsured Americans, the prestigious hospitals and the major health insurer have been in bitter contract negotiations, not just over rates but also over UnitedHealthcares demand that the hospitals notify the insurance company within 24 hours after a patients admission. If a hospital failed to do so, UnitedHealthcare would cut its reimbursements for the patient by half.

UnitedHealthcare says the proposed rule is meant to improve the quality of care and cut costs by allowing insurance case managers to jump in right away. The hospitals say that having their reimbursement cut in half is too much to pay for a clerical error, and that the revenue drain would ultimately hurt their patients.

UnitedHealthcare is negotiating or imposing similar rules at hospitals across the country, and often meeting fierce opposition. Tennessee passed a law saying the penalty would not apply on weekends or federal holidays, when hospitals are short-staffed. Florida hospital officials said that the new rule could play a role in coming contract negotiations there, and that the state hospital association had asked Floridas insurance regulators to monitor the situation.

The dispute signals a ratcheting up of a long tradition of insurers trying to cut costs, said Jeffrey Rubin, an economics professor at Rutgers University.

But Dr. Rubin said UnitedHealthcares approach is particularly aggressive and might be part of a wave of pressure insurance companies feel from employers to cut costs and to keep premiums lower to avoid penalties, like the Cadillac tax on expensive insurance plans.

Its an example of the insurance company getting between you and your doctor, Dr. Rubin said.

<snip>

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/25/health/policy/25insur...
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wilt the stilt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 05:38 AM
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1. 15 million
who is this writer a shill for. Jump right in? Don't make me laugh. How about denying care if possible. Recently, I had to fight the insurance company over pills for my daughter because we could only get one prescription a month but because of her diagnosis the medicine did not make it a month.

Until, this past year I bought my own insurance and like all people I can tell story after story about how they rip you off and treat the individual buyer like dirt under their feet.
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dembotoz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 06:30 AM
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2. hate united health care
bastards
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mcnealystephanie Donating Member (2 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-26-10 02:11 AM
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3. Health Care
Dr. Sam Ho, UnitedHealthcares chief medical officer, said the company wanted to work with hospital staff to reduce the amount of time patients stay in the hospital, which is associated with complications like infection, and to prevent readmission, a major cost.

If you had a car that needed to be repaired and then it had to go back in the garage within a week, then a month, then again in two months, then perhaps the original quality of the work that was done was substandard, Dr. Ho said."

Dr. Ho is missing the point big-time, or trying to mislead everyone who reads his ridiculous comments. HUMANS ARE NOT AUTOMOBILES. Dr. Ho is making a false analogy, and he knows it. He needs remedial clear-thinking classes.

But we already know that the private health insurers are driven by only ONE thing, no matter what pap they serve up for public relations purposes. Private insurers are driven to enrich their head honchos and stockholders, and to hell with their "customers". Those darn patients who need medical care just keep getting in the way of profitability.

This is where I wish Obama & co. had the backbone to stand up to the private insurers and say "go away, we don't need you and we are going to do without you". Health care should not be subject to the game-playing that the private insurers engage in; patients should not be subjected to the game-playing either. Real lives are at stake, and real people suffer, but none of that means a anything to any private insurer.

To people who fear a single-payer system will be a cold bureaucracy: I give you the private insurers, who are already a cold bureaucracy, and getting ever colder.
Stephanie Mcnealy
Famous Philanthropist Customer Service Team
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