Why Health Care in America Sucks

Posted on 18. Feb, 2007 by in Business

I’ve heard politicians debate about the topic, and even my dad has thrown in a few spiteful comments regarding the topic, but now that I am employed full-time and am participating in my employer’s health plan, I know first hand why the health care system in America sucks….

Shoddy administration.

That’s right, I said it. The health care system in America sucks because of shoddy administration. If any one of America’s public companies were run with the same inefficiencies and ridiculous bureaucracy, the shareholders would bail and the company would be failing for bankruptcy.

When I first began working full time and signed up for one of the several health care options, including a health savings account, I decided to go with Kaiser. I chose Kaiser based on a large number of different factors, but the bottom line is that it was the best fit for my family’s medical needs, and offered the best price.

I haven’t gotten sick since my coverage started, but my kids have – multiple times – requiring a number of different trips to the doctor and a trip to the emergency room for a broken arm. But our health care bureaucratic nightmare began when my wife took the kids to their first Dr. appointment and was told that we were not “in the system.” This was about a month after signing up with the program, so I wasn’t too surprised that it had taken about 6 weeks to process, but my wife had to travel to another building to fill out a mountain of paperwork just to get a temporary card.

Then, at a follow-up visit just a short time later, she was forced to fill out the same paperwork again for another temporary card.

Then, a few weeks later when one of our daughters broke her arm, we were forced to fill out even more paperwork in order to see the Dr. – again, because we weren’t in the system yet. My wife was already upset form the broken arm, but became even more upset when she missed her appointment because filling out paperwork had taken the entire appointment time slot! Luckily, the Dr. recognized how upset she was and took some extra time to see my daughter in between other patients.

A few weeks later, the icing on the cake came… in the mail. After countless phone calls to the HMO trying to get added to the mysterious “system” I finally received a welcome package from Kaiser complete with insurance cards for everyone. However, only three days later I received another welcome package along with 4 new insurance cards – with different numbers. Then a week later I received another welcome pack with insurance cards, and then another!

As of today, I have received 4 different welcome packs with insurance cards along with 2 letters telling me to throw away the previous cards. I have received so much crap from Kaiser in the mail, I don’t know if I’m even covered anymore. With my luck, I’ve been completely deleted from the system and I’m going to have to start this whole hellish nightmare again. I just hope nothing serious happens to me in the meantime…

16 Responses to “Why Health Care in America Sucks”

  1. Alex

    18. Feb, 2007

    Are you talking about Medicare? Otherwise your health insurance *IS* a public company.

    I agree all of them are run horribly. I have quite a few stories myself to the beuracratic nightmare that is health insurance. There’s plenty of blame to lay around, but I think you’re correct in that the hardest part DEALING with it, is how horribly they’re all run.

    Unfortunately there is no alternative. You get to pick from one of dozens of horrible companies, most of which bordering on criminal, or do without healthcare alltogether.

  2. Gene Palmisano

    18. Feb, 2007

    The last time I checked administration costs constituted 36% of the total health care budget anually. We are being administered to death. adminisering health care is a too familiar lucerative goverment contract. In a flat world industries have to radicaly change their bussiness structure or parish, just ask IBM, or GM. So why does the health care industry continue to operate under these atiquated bussiness models? Lucerative government contracts and tax exempt charters.

  3. Nick

    18. Feb, 2007

    I completely agree with your statements, and feel trapped among all of these incompetent health care providers. I have been trying to finalize an HSA with Humana since October and to this day it is not finished.

    I wish there was something we could do to take actions against companies like this . . .

  4. anonymouse

    19. Feb, 2007

    Not trying to burst your bubble…but most businesses work like that. You ended up at the nasty end of the 80/20 rule. Any programmer worth his salt will attest to the fact that despite our apparent progress we’re still in the dark ages of effective program planning and management.

    We’re still working to tackle the big stuff. Short of the isolated success stories you keep near and dear, most of the world is a hairy mess.

  5. Kurt Jarcik

    02. Mar, 2007

    Short Term Medical covers a person for a limited period. You can get coverage for as few as 30 days or as many as 185 days. If you think you’ll need more permanent health coverage, you may want to look at another health insurance option, such as an Individual Medical policy.

    http:// http://www.easystm.com

  6. Young and already inflicted

    09. Mar, 2007

    Talk about sucks. Im a single ,independent, 23 year old girl who happens to be struggling to pay bills and in debt (partly because past medical bills). My insurance company that I have had for the last 6months has denied everything. And I just came back from the pharmacy with my generic antibiotics for my tonsilities. The cost was$66.00. The orginal price before the discount? $68.00!!!!! No joke. The pharmicist was even laughing.

  7. kurt jarcik

    29. Mar, 2007

    Easystm.com will give Coverage of short term health insurance as early as the next day… just a few simple medical questions to answer. Best of all, you can choose to receive your policy electronically!

    http://www.easystm.com

  8. Health Insurance in USA Sucks

    21. Jan, 2008

    Your first problem was signing up with Kaiser. My dad has Kaiser and his primary would not approve a visit to an oncologist even though his symptoms were screaming he had cancer We wouldn’t let him wait for Kaiser to get off its’ ass and we pooled our money together to pay for the specialist. Even after the records from the oncologist were sent to the primary, he refused to approve a specialist. We continued to pay the specialist out of pocket and for the treatments too. Finally, 8 months later Kaiser approved to start treatment but would not pay us the $50,000 we spent out of pocket. We were told my Dad would who is 80 years old would have been dead by the time Kaiser approved the treatment and that’s what they were counting on. They have a corporate policy to delay and not treat older patients until it is too late. Then they can say we tried but they were too far gone.

    We really have to look at the 2008 candidates and figure out which one is going to really fix this mess. I don’t care which party they were from, if one of them gave me a feeling that they had a real solution or even a process to come up with a solution in a reasonable time, I would vote for him or her. I wonder how many other people feel the same way?

  9. Mike Miller

    06. Oct, 2008

    We’ve had group health insurance for the last 20+ years. In the last 4 years we’ve had to actually use it and it has been pure misery. Sure, everything is covered when you buy the policy but things change when you start using it. In-network / Out-of-Network, sheesh, seems like you don’t stand a chance. If something is out-of-network then standard/customary doesn’t apply so everyone can try and get you for everything they can. WHAT A MESS!

    I pay nearly $6,000, and growing, in premiums every year. We’ve had 2 out-patient surgeries in our family in the last two years, and have maxed out the rest of our insurance requirements but still paid more than $5,000 out of pocket. The basic math says we paid more than $11,000 each year for health coverage protection. Initially, you would think the insurance company took a hit on us because of our expenses but since they only pay the medical community a reduced amount called “Usual and Customary”, I am sure they still made a considerable profit at everyone else’s expense.

    So, why do I have insurance?

    Complaining hasn’t done me or anyone else I know any good in this arena so I’m proposing a new PUBLIC outcry. Please visit my website http://www.stoprapingme.org and get involved. There are images to send to people that they might send to others, and they . . . Hopefully we can mobilize a public outcry, determine some stop-gap solutions that will start a reform action.

    How do you eat an elephant?

  10. Uomiwon

    26. Nov, 2008

    Yes, Health Insurance and the Medical profession both suck…
    My former company started this mess for me, they got caught up in this whole “deductible/out of pocket is less expensive scheme”. We switched in April. Come Nov/Dec my family developed medical problems. I was trying to keep up as we went, paying “my share”. Come to find out the people I pay don’t tell the insurance companies what I’ve paid and the Insurance companies don’t ask and could care less. Which is why I know I’ve paid more than my so called fair share, which is another point entirely. Now back to what I was complaining about, most of the bills started hitting in january. Which by the way comes after December, which is coincidentally the last month of the year for the deductible and we got to start all over. So, Come January/Feburary here I am meeting a whole new “deductible”. This sucks! To top it of, my company goes under in March. Hello, now I’m paying $1000/month for cobra. Unfortunately, I cannot get my own Health Insurance because I have Diabetes. Terrific, I’m in great shape aren’t I. But, thankfully I get a new job. Crap… A new Deductible. Except this one is bigger than the last one. Plus it costs me more per month. Now I’m drowning in medical bills. Just shoot me now. $9000 out of my own pocket, not including what I paid in premiums… For ACL surgery alone (This does not include the former two deductibles). I realize, I can’t go to the Auto shop to have this done. But, it’s not freakin brain surgery. $56,000 was the original bill from the hospital alone… for Eight hours of work. Eight hours? That’s like $7000/hour… Isn’t that what Michael Jordan made? Granted… I’ve met my deductible and out of pocket and I don’t have to pay anything else for the rest of the year (what like a whole month?). If this is what I have to look forward to every year for the rest of my life… just shoot me now, someone else can collect whatever is left of me.

  11. Uomiwon

    26. Nov, 2008

    Yes, Health Insurance and the Medical profession both suck…
    My former company started this mess for me, they got caught up in this whole “deductible/out of pocket is less expensive scheme”. We switched in April. Come Nov/Dec my family developed medical problems. I was trying to keep up as we went, paying “my share”. Come to find out the people I pay don’t tell the insurance companies what I’ve paid and the Insurance companies don’t ask and could care less. Which is why I know I’ve paid more than my so called fair share, which is another point entirely. Now back to what I was complaining about, most of the bills started hitting in january. Which by the way comes after December, which is coincidentally the last month of the year for the deductible and we got to start all over. So, Come January/Feburary here I am meeting a whole new “deductible”. This sucks! To top it of, my company goes under in March. Hello, now I’m paying $1000/month for cobra. Unfortunately, I cannot get my own Health Insurance because I have Diabetes. Terrific, I’m in great shape aren’t I. But, thankfully I get a new job. Crap… A new Deductible. Except this one is bigger than the last one. Plus it costs me more per month. Now I’m drowning in medical bills. Just shoot me now. $9000 out of my own pocket, not including what I paid in premiums… For ACL surgery alone (This does not include the former two deductibles). I realize, I can’t go to the Auto shop to have this done. But, it’s not freakin brain surgery. $56,000 was the original bill from the hospital alone… for Eight hours of work. Eight hours? That’s like $7000/hour… Isn’t that what Michael Jordan made? Granted… I’ve met my deductible and out of pocket and I don’t have to pay anything else for the rest of the year (what like a whole month?). If this is what I have to look forward to every year for the rest of my life… just shoot me now, someone else can collect whatever is left of me.

  12. AL HELMES

    09. Dec, 2010

    I THINK THE ENTIRE COUNTRY IS GOING DOWN THE TOILET. THE MEDICAL INSURANCE IN THE USA SUKS.
    THE SENATORS AND CONGRESSMAN ARE CORRUPT IN BOTH STATE AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS.

    THE GREED IS OVERWHELMING IN THIS COUNTRY.

    THE MIDDLE CLASS PEOPLE HAVE TO GET TOGETHER AND REMOVE THE TRASH FROM THE STATE AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

    THE LOBBYISTS GROUPS NEED TO BE REMOVED. ALSO .

  13. Julie

    30. Dec, 2010

    Sounds like some of the people replying to this is just telling u to suck it up. Yes some of the medical companies is public company, but its not an excuse to perform so badly. I find that Americans pay a lot more for medical insurance and have through a lot more annoying paper work while getting mediocre treatment. Not saying the doctors are bad, I meant the time lags patients have to wait for their xrays, or the amount of paper work you have to fill out for insurance. I don’t understand why everything is so expensive in the first place. I mean 300+ to remote

  14. lazlo underhill

    17. Feb, 2011

    Bottom line: Hospital Administration is grossly over paid and in general grossly wasteful and inefficient – a license to steal really.

    Doctors are over paid sort of – none of them should be forced to pay for their own malpractice insurance – this risk should be taken entirely on by clinics and hospitals (their shareholders and administrators – the ones who truly benefit financially from (for profit) hospitals. Take that risk off the doctors shoulders and they could be paid a reasonable amount of money.

    Nurses and nurse’s aides are grossly under paid. Patient to caregiver ratio is dangerous and abysmal – so good rules, like hourly (which is still to long) rounds, are impossible to meet. I’ve sat in a number of different hospitals for hours with sick relatives at all hours of the day and night and observed that being check on once every three hours is about normal. That’s why I don’t take any special comfort in knowing that a loved one is in the hospital – IT DOES NOT mean that are getting adequate care and if you believe otherwise, you’re deluding yourself. This is not the nurses’ fault – they are spread too thin, and for no other reason than administrations’ greed. I’ve sat and waited for six hours in a tiny ER room, waiting with a family member to be moved into hospital room after initial treatment and seen complications arise as a result of the delay in treatment. I’ve seen nurses fight over a single working thermometer for an entire god damn floor of a public hospital. I’ve seen hospital beds that malfunction to the point of being useless.

    The management and administrative model for health care facilities should not be modeled after Wal-Mart, but that is exactly what is happening in the United States.

    If you want good care for a loved one – BE THERE AND BE INVOLVED, as much as humanly possible. It’s unfortunate, but the squeaky wheel gets adequate care, the silent wheel can get neglected to death, literally.

    I’m in my thirties – I haven’t seen a doctor since I was in college (and that was for a mandatory vaccine to get admitted into college). I would say most of my contemporaries in my socioeconomic class have about the same attitude and access toward/to health care. I’ve decided, from my experience with health care in this country, that if I’m ever stricken with a life threatening illness (which I undoubtedly will) I’m opting for self euthanasia – in the mean time, I’m going to live as healthy a lifestyle as possible under my present socioeconomic circumstance.

    I predict that my generation will be the first to show a lifespan shorter than previous generations. Yes, part of that can be attributed to video games and fast food, but an equal share of the blame lies directly with predatory insurance practices and poor ethical and administrative practices of health care facilities.

    I used to think the government should step in and repair this. I used to blame the GOP for this, but I’ve looked into a little deeper and now I see that both parties have long since stopped caring about what the people who actually vote for them think. It’s clear to me now that politicians’ allegiances no longer rest with who votes them into offices, but rather who finances their campaigns and their pocketbooks after. The U.S. government is corrupt. Why wouldn’t the health care industry be?

    My advice to my generation (who will see and bear the collapse of Medicare, Medicaid and SSI)? Come to terms with, research and embrace euthanasia.

  15. SLovenian (EUROPE)

    11. Aug, 2011

    I can’t believe what kind of health and school system the USA has. Why don’t people go on the streets and protest. Isn’t this the most powerfull nation on earth?? OMG if that would happened in Europe there will be an revolution. And a great one:)))

    Wake up American people you have the power not some bunch of politicians and few rich people.

    I can’t believe what kind of shit the media sell to american people. Read books, don’t watch tv,.

    September 11, what a bullshit even a blind man would understand that it is a fake.

    FED who can be so stupid to mantain this system. General bank in private care. LOL

    America has this stupid profit concept that doesnt work for the people. Pay for health, pay for education, eat shit food, watch shit tv.

    Full of shit, debt, depressed american people. WOW the american dream:))

  16. ximena

    24. Sep, 2011

    Im so sorry to read all of this 🙁 i saw a documentary from Michael Moore about this, i suggest everyone to watch it, the name is Sicko, and if you can make a ride to canada because health care in there is free like in cuba or some places in europe. I hope that this info help, im from mexico and if i can do something ill try. Hugs for everyone and good luck.

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