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Archive for the ‘Finances’ Category

Have you ever heard of a physician/dentist  not getting paid because they used the wrong “code” when sending in a claim to the insurance company?  Have you ever heard of a physician or dentist waiting 3 months to be paid by an insurance company and considering this the “normal” amount of time to wait?  I have, and I don’t think it is fair!

I don’t know about you, but I like my chosen doctor and dentist and I would like them to get a fair wage at the time they do the service.  Why have we, as a country, allowed the insurance companies to bully us around so much?  It is time that we start looking at alternatives to insurance.  Let’s have a discussion of thinking outside the box and then call our Federal representatives with our ideas.  It seems like they are stuck in a rut because all they can think of is to nationalize our healthcare.  It seems like an easy fix, but easy is not always right or good.

We are a nation of individuals.  That is what has made our nation great in such a short time.   We need to be able to choose what type of healthcare is good for us.  We also need to be able to choose how best to pay for it.

When I go to the gas station, I can see exactly how much money I am going to pay for gas.  When I go to the grocery store, I can see just how much my milk, bread, pizza, eggs, etc. is going to cost.  When I buy an airline ticket on-line, I can see exactly how much my ticket will cost.  I can see the cost before I buy.  Healthcare is the only area where I cannot know the cost until after everything is done with.

I have learned that the hospitals, doctors, etc. charge based on who the customer is.  If the customer is a big insurance company they get the biggest discount.  If the customer is an individual with no insurance they get the smallest (if any) discount.  Certainly, when I have a health emergency I will not be checking the costs.  But most healthcare decisions are not emergencies.   If the consumer can know costs ahead of time they can decide which hospital based on the costs.  They can decide if the hospital that charges more is really worth it, or not.

If the government is going to make changes, I would ask that they mandate healthcare facilites to post their charges up front.  This may sound crazy to you.  If it does, then ask yourself “Why?”.  I think it is because we are not used to asking about the costs of healthcare, but we should.  We ask about the costs of everything else in our lives.  Once we know the costs, then we can look at how to pay for it.  Is insurance really doing what it is supposed to do?  What about discount plans like http://www.noinsurance.us  , where we make the decision with our provider instead of looking for an “o.k.” from an insurance company?

I threw out a few options, now let me know what you think . . .

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Do we have a health care crisis here in America?  I understand that there are a lot of people/families in America that don’t have health insurance, but does that equate to a health care crisis?  The quality of care in the United States is very good.  The health care education is also very good.  In fact, people come from all over the world to be trained in the United States for a medical profession.  I don’t see a crisis there either.

So where does this crisis come from?  The current administration would have you believe that it is the greedy physicians and hospitals.  From what I understand the people in Washington (our “representatives”) want to provide health insurance that would put caps on the costs, and put everyone on the government’s insurance plan.  Will that help?  Iwould like to suggest that it is the way insurance works that has caused the health care crisis in America.

I think the problem is that the patient and physician have been taken out of the equation, and insurance has put itself between them as a dictator.  Who doesn’t know someone who was denied coverage because the insurance company deemed it unnecessary?  The way I see it, the health care crisis has been caused by insurance protocol, and I mean all things that act as insurance, including the government run programs.  Will Obama have an answer?  Not if it is just more government insurance.

We need to put the power back in individual’s hands.  The patient needs to be made aware of all costs up front.  These costs should not be on a sliding scale based on what insurance the patient has.  We need to stop the insurance games.

There is a company, called Ameriplan, that does just that.  Costs are listed up front.  There are no deductibles or co-pays.  You don’t even have to “ask permission” before going ahead with a procedure.  The physician and patient decide what is deemed necessary, and Ameriplan is there to provide the discount.  Insurance companies get huge discounts from physicians, labs, and hospitals.  It is time that patients get those same discounts without also paying huge sums of money each month to insurance companies. 

Ameriplan, a discount program, is a new concept in health care, even though they have been around for 16 years.  The way I see it there will soon be a paradigm shift in the way people think about paying for their health care.  What we have right now is not working, and if Obama and the rest of our representatives in Washington D.C. just give us another insurance program, that would be like putting another “Band-aid” on a 10″ slash in the middle of someone’s abdomen.  We need to fix the problem by taking off all of the Band-aids, cleaning up the wound (it will get bloody), and then stitching up the problem in a new way.  Yes it will hurt for a while.  That’s o.k. because in the long run we will all be healthier as a nation.

www.noinsurance.us (Ameriplan information)

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When I was very young, the first thing I remember my dad deliberately teaching me was honesty.  Some things I learned almost by default, but honesty was talked about often and on purpose.  When I was a little girl I would find myself in double trouble if I ever told a lie.  Lying was not to be taken lightly, and yes, my dad believed in corporal punishment for extreme crimes.  

My dad referred to himself as “Honest John”.  Some people may have disagreed with him, but they always knew where he stood on a subject.  When I was older I knew I could count on my dad for an honest opinion.  Believe me, sometimes his honesty hurt, but it saved me true heartache in the future (when I listened to him). 

I think we need some honesty in America again.  I think we need to be honest with our own selves.  I think Americans have been dishonest with themselves thinking they could afford more than they could.  I am speaking specifically of the mortgage/housing crisis we are in right now.

The mortgage sales people should have been honest with their clients and told them the reality of taking out a mortgage that they couldn’t really afford.  The mortgage companies could have helped both their clients and themselves by making sure the mortgages could be paid back.

Which brings me to wonder why these mortgage companies would have given out such risky loans in the first place, if their business could be adversely affected.  Hmmm . . .    From what I have found, the government forced these companies, by law, to ultimately make bad loans.  Oh, it didn’t say specifically to go out and make bad loans, but it did require the mortgage companies and banks to make it easier for disadvantaged people to get home loans.  In the past these people were prevented from getting loans because they were a high risk.  No one was being mean to them and preventing them from living in a home (renting is always a way to go), but they were prevented from getting themselves into more debt than they could afford. 

This brings me to the people that I think are most responsible for these bad loans, which are the mortgagees.  These people knew how much money they had to live on, and if they were honest with themselves (and not just listening to the salesman) then they would know that they couldn’t afford the loan that was being offered to them.  In reality what happened is that we had a lot of people falling in love with the idea of home ownership and they did whatever they could to get themselves into those homes.  Many have blamed this on predatory lenders.  I don’t think so.  I think the borrowers should accept some of the blame for this problem we now face as a nation. 

The other party I think is to blame is the educators of our country.  We need to be teaching our high schoolers some basic accounting and economics.  Who needs Algebra if you don’t know how to balance a checkbook?  My son, Taylor, brought to my attention this need for financial education in America.  You can check out the Financial Course he is starting at http://taylormarek.com/blog/ .  As a bank teller Taylor has seen the mistakes people make.  He can also tell a lot about a person by the way they handle their money. 

We can come back much stronger financially as a country if we would just be honest with ourselves and start taking responsibility for our own actions.  Another place that could use some honesty is our media, but that is for another post.  Stay strong and leave your stocks alone for now.  In fact, I hear there are some real good deals in the stock market right now.

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