Monday, August 31, 2015

Paperwork overload

Is it just me? 

When I see my physician -- very happy with my medical care, thank you very much -- I am appalled at how much post-visit paperwork goes into paying for the visit. 

I get two or three "This is not a bill" letters from my Medicare supplemental provider, each two or three pages in length, telling me how much they have/have-not paid, all in a code that is not particularly helpful. They tell me to wait and see if -- seriously, "if" -- I have to pay any part of the amount they list as still due to someone, somewhere. The connection between the various numbers appearing on the not-a-bill is not obvious.

Then I get several online bills from the physician/clinic, the one visit having been broken down into components that also do not make obvious sense to me. For example, I understand that lab work is different from the physician visit itself, but the one physician visit may be broken down into several sections. (I imagine Michael from Ur-spo could help me understand all this, but I know he has enough on his hands dealing with his own coding!) 

Then usually a week or two after I have paid the bill that arrived online, I get a duplicate bill in the mail. I once overpaid by a couple of hundred dollars -- credited to my account, so no problem in the long run -- because the bills were so confusing and I paid one version online and then weeks later paid the version that arrived in the mail. Since there are so many bills involved, I didn't realize I had already paid once because there is never just one bill for what I think of as one event.

Anyway, seems to me way too much paper, postage and staff time -- although I guess most of it is done by computer programs, which may be why no one is noticing the endless duplication -- is wasted on this. So the administrative costs of my/your/our already over-priced health care costs increase even more. Somewhere in there I will also be getting duplicate forms from Medicare to add to the mix.

Is it just me? Or is there a better way? Do all civilized nations do it this way?

And please note: I am not complaining about my health care, which I find quite satisfactory. I am not complaining about my coverage. I just think ... Well, I don't know what I think.

1 comment:

John Gray said...

Thank goodness for the UKs Nhs