BOHICA:

Discussion in 'BWI / McAndrew Board' started by stormingnorm, Jul 10, 2018.

  1. stormingnorm

    stormingnorm Well-Known Member
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    I was going to relay a couple of specific "incidents", then decided not to (for the usual fears), but a couple personal experiences to illustrate your (very important) point:



    1) Twice, within just the last several months, I asked a medical provider "How much will that cost?" when we were discussing a specific procedure that we were considering...…
    In both cases, the reaction was stunning. They simply were dumb-founded that a "patient" would ask such an irrelevant (in their eyes) question.

    Obviously, being asked "How much it would cost" had to have been a question they simply do not hear...…. which is amazing.
    What other service do "clients" not even inquire as to the price, before saying "Yes"?
    (And we - as idiot consumers - wonder why health care costs are so astronomical? LOL)

    In one of the instances, the provider - after an awkward silence - said "I don't know".... and simply stared at me for a while as if I had three heads.... until I replied - "Who would know? Can we find out?"

    The provider called in the office manager (or some such person) - who told me "I'm sure your insurance will cover it." I let her know that that was not my question, my question was "What will it cost?"
    When we finally DID get an answer as to the cost, in the end, I chose to not have the procedure done.


    The other experience was very similar..... with the end result being that we opted for a slightly different procedure (with the same efficacy) that would cost just a small fraction of the one initially discussed.


    2) Subsequent to an urgent care visit, a family member was outfitted with an "orthopedic device". The "orthopedic device" was a wrist brace (similar to the type of things folks would wear for carpal tunnel type stuff).
    I know, due to experience within the family, that the braces are off-the-shelf items that you can pick up at WalMart for $20 or so.

    When the itemized "bill" came through my insurance provider, there was a charge for (IIRC) around $350 for something coded as "Orthotics".
    I called my insurance provider wrt "What was this charge?" (I thought perhaps it was the charge for the X-Rays related to the incident.... but found out it was for the "brace".)

    I told the provider that the charge was ridiculous, and they should not be paying that..... they told me (nicely) to "Forget about it... that's what the "code" allows for". They didn't care either - - - - - hell, if the costs go through the roof, they just raise rates. It's US, all of US, who end up paying in the end (Why are we so f^cking stupid that "WE" don't see that? I know, rhetorical question :) )

    I said (somewhat nicely) something to the effect of "You're nuts"..... as I had looked up the EXACT model/manufacturer on Amazon and saw that the exact item could be purchased - Retail - from the same provider - for $18. I spent a couple hours - and several letters and calls - before the charge was reduced to $40 - - - - - at which point I said "OK".

    How many folks are going to do that? Do what I did?
    (near zero, of course).
    How many folks would question that cost if they were presented with a bill for $350 that they had to pay - from their own pocket - as they were checking out from the Hospital or Doctor's Office?
    (significantly more, I would assume :) )

    How many thousands of times per day, then, is our society absorbing "Health Care Costs" of $350 for $20 of "Health Care"?...…..
    Multiply those numbers 10X, 100X for more significant ailments and treatments.
    And we wonder why costs are out of control?



    Now, this issue isn't the ONLY issue wrt the FUBAR of the Health Care System in this country...… but its a damn significant one - - - - - and NO ONE, certainly no "R" or "D" ideologue, is ever gonna' do one damn logical, common-sense thing about it.
    It ain't in their DNA - and we are far, far, far, too lazy and stupid (as a collective) to care..... not until, at the least, the whole damn system blows up.
    (At which point the "R"s will blame the "D"s and the "D"s will blame the "R"s.... and round and round we go)



    :eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::eek: (Saving Bob the trouble :))



    In
     
    41 stormingnorm, Jul 11, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
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  2. Art

    Art Well-Known Member
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    One of the major barriers to change are the cultural aspects you've described above. Those will not be changed easily.

    Nitwit suggests that doctors are willing to accept far less than MSRP from insurance companies because of access to a wider patient pool (insurance company subscribers). How can that be replaced? Have doctors publicly post rates for procedures. There is more to comprehensive reform of medical economics (unbundling the prepaid medical service and insurance components of medical insurance could be a Gordian knot), but who said it would be easy?
     
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  3. stormingnorm

    stormingnorm Well-Known Member
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    Agreed.
    And there are so many issues folks could - intelligently - discuss them for days on end.
    But, just as surely, there are any number of RELATIVELY easy steps that could at least move the ball in the right direction (even if incrementally)


    It is not easy - much more so because of the degree to which the issues causing the largest problems have become "institutionalized" and habitual..... and the abject unwillingness to even have intelligent discussions (in lieu of the worn out ideological nonsense).




    All that said - the original issue (wrt PSU, the one that chaffs at the moment) - isn't really part of that national conundrum. It is an issue that PSU simply needs to not involve itself (or its students' pocketbooks) in. :eek:
     
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  4. kgilbert78

    kgilbert78 Well-Known Member
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    I was required, as a Study Abroad student, in 1978 to have local (i.e., German) heath insurance--but it was part of the program fees/program arrangement. Some of my classmates made extensive use of it (dental was one thing it covered) before going home as it was a good plan. Turned out to be a good thing for me, too, as I got a nasty cut on my thumb (still have the scar) while hiking in the Black Forest later in the year. I just went to the local doc in a very small town (where a classmate of mine was working at a local hotel) in the Black Forest and he fixed me up--the only thing he needed was the insurance form.

    So I'm not against this requirement by PSU in the 2010s. The only issue I see is the potential conflict of interest.

    I'm also trying to figure out how it worked when I was in school. I had to use the Student Health system a couple of times (once was when I had a bad tooth issue that developed right before finals that led to a root canal). I don't recall paying much if anything for it and I don't recall any forms.
     
  5. Nitwit

    Nitwit Well-Known Member
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    There has been some decent discussion in this thread about how to fix the healthcare cost problem in the USA. I’ll just post a few more items and then bow out as this again is a very complex issue, and we could go on forever, but it won’t be solved on a message board.

    First, wellness programs work. If we didn’t get sick, our healthcare costs would be lower. It sounds simple but if we rode bikes as they do in Norway instead of driving everywhere, or if we ate the Japanese diet of rice and fish instead of smoking our meats at our tailgate, we would have a healthier population. Really, do we need a 12 oz hamburger in a restaurant? We’ve done a pretty good job of quitting smoking, but many still drink to excess in this county. Have you been through an airport lately and noticed the number of overweight people who need carts for mobility because they are unable to walk? We have an epidemic of type II diabetes. And it goes for children too. The unhealthy diets among young children lead to childhood obesity which leads to diabetes and that results in a lifetime of medical costs. French fries are the leading vegetable consumed by kids between 6 months and 2 years of age. The Happy Meal is easy on the parents, but is a bad healthcare choice for the kids. Of course part of the differences between countries are genetic. Latinos tend to be more overweight than Asians, etc. but as a nation, we can do better in taking care of our own health, and if we do the costs would be lower.

    Second, the largest proportion of healthcare costs in this county are incurred by the elderly. The time preceding death is very expensive. Elderly people need hospitalization far more often than the rest of the population. Are we keeping people alive too long? Diseases that used to kill people in their 50s and 60s have become chronic conditions that people can live with, albeit expensively, in their 70s and 80s. This is just the result of medical advances in research and technology that have enabled us as a county to keep our sick people alive. So there is a moral issue to be dealt with as well. How should we manage death in this country? How many many rounds of chemo should someone get before you give up and let them die? What if it was your parent? Or you?

    So there are programs like Medicare for the elderly, or Medicaid for the poor, the CHIP (children’s health insurance program), WIC (women infants children) to help with proper nutrition of expectant mothers, school breakfast and lunch programs to provide nutrition for poor children, and even the food stamp program, now called SNAP (supplemental nutrition assistance program) for poor families, and many others to attempt to deal with helping Americans lead healthy lives, or insuring their costs when they are sick.

    I won’t even get into the opioid crisis, the no helmet motorcycle laws, or other tangential issues which can impact the cost of healthcare. The Iowa game last year almost gave me a coronary❤️

    The one bright light in all of this is that, if you can afford it, America has the finest hospitals and best physicians in the world. Sure you can go to Mexico for their cheap dentistry, or to Brazil for cheap cosmetic surgery, but If you are sick, this is the county where you are able to get the best care and treatments, but it will be expensive. You only live once! And you only die once too.
     
    45 Nitwit, Jul 11, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
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  6. Nittany Ziggy

    Nittany Ziggy Well-Known Member
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    Yeah, Nitwit, you pretty much pointed out all of the problems (or are they symptoms) with the current system. You’re solutions are simple too: BAN EVERYTHING! Thanks for bowing out, that was kind of you.
     
  7. Nitwit

    Nitwit Well-Known Member
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    I never suggested we ban anything. Where did I say that? I just made the correlation between a healthy lifestyle and medical costs. I’m all for letting people choose whether they want to be healthy or not. It’s something you have control over that can affect your medical costs. Now excuse me while I go get some pie for dessert.
     
  8. Nittany Ziggy

    Nittany Ziggy Well-Known Member
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    Don’t forget to cover it with vanilla ice cream and bacon bits.
    It did sound like you want to ban driving, smoking meats, 12oz burgers and French fries at a minimum.
     
  9. Nitwit

    Nitwit Well-Known Member
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    I’m generally opposed to the government over regulating our lives. Everything in moderation I suppose. We can make our own choices, but we should know there are consequences. So I left the ice cream and bacon bits off.
     
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  10. Nittany Ziggy

    Nittany Ziggy Well-Known Member
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    Good man! Please tell me that you will go on a “bacon bender” occasionally or, if you don’t favor smoked meats, a true bourbon bender will suffice! ;) LOL!!!
     
  11. ralphster

    ralphster Well-Known Member
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    I too am generally in favor of keeping government intervention out of our lives. However sometimes these libertarian ideas of autonomy are not as simplistic as you might imagine. For example, if one decides to exercise their so-called right to ride around on a motorcycle without a helmet and then smashes into a guardrail, who is it that picks up the tab? They may spend several months in the ICU racking up millions of dollars of charges, getting cared for by highly educated (well-paid) professionals and using million-dollar equipment. They they may spend months, years, or even a lifetime getting rehabilitative services. Who do you think will pay for this?:

    A) the guy on the motorcycle
    B) taxpayers
    C) the insurance company (driving up your premiums)
    D) the hospital (causing them to raise fees for everything else)

    Answer: probably not A.

    What really kills me is when I hear people talk about being against "government interference in their lives", but they have no problem taking advantage of society whenever they need help or they are ill or injured. Perhaps those who are against helmet laws should also be in favor of a rule that allows ambulances to bypass motorcycle accidents when the victim was not wearing a helmet. Right? Or maybe they should wear a special sticker on their license that indicates "I Ihave relinquished my right to spend millions of dollars of other folks money." Then the ER knows to just let them die.

    Maybe some of you so called "libertarians" are really "tax and spend other folks' money liberals" when it comes down to it!
     
  12. ForesterGump

    ForesterGump Well-Known Member
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    What you're talking about is risk assignment. If you engage in risky behavior, who should pay the consequences?

    Life insurance takes into account risky behavior for their underwriting. If you skydive, you'll pay more. Same goes if you're a smoker, or have diabetes. You'll also have limited benefits for preexisting conditions for the first couple of years.

    Car insurance also takes into account your past driving records and where you live.

    Even workman's comp takes into consideration the type of work that is being done. I worked in the logging and lumber industry and, in some states, the insurance company got more than the worker. Insurance is one of the reason for so many subcontractors in the industry. Its all about risk assignment.

    But, for some reason, risky behavior isn't factored into healthcare. Single payer doesn't single out those risks and throws the consequences on society or a large pool of payers.

    The libertarian in me says that the consequences of bikers riding helmetless should be shouldered on those who partake in the activity. That can involve a large pool of like minded individuals, but doesn't have to be cast upon society as a whole. Too expensive? Find another hobby or wear a helmet.
     
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  13. BobPSU92

    BobPSU92 Well-Known Member
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    Will Penn State hire a Directory of Equity and Inclusion for health care coverage?

    I hate us. :(
     

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