David Belk, M.D.
Hello. It’s time for another chapter on the many ways in which our health care system is a total mess.
You probably don’t know how much your doctor gets paid to see you for an appointment. Would it surprise you to find out that your doctor also doesn’t know?
I recently rewrote my section on office billing and, in it, I detail all of the ways in which insurance companies make it very difficult for any doctor to know how much they get to see any particular patient. This is important, not because you should feel sorry for doctors. Instead, you should understand that medical finances are so unnecessarily complex, doctors (who we assume are intelligent) don’t even understand the sources of their own income.
We often assume that someone, somewhere understands all of the complexities our society throws at us on a daily basis. We assume that, even though we don’t always understand what we’re signing, or what we’re being told, someone else does so it’s all legitimate somehow. That isn’t always the case, though, and this section should leave you questioning whether anyone in health care really understands any of its overly complex finances. Also, if no one really understands any of this, that should worry you.
Two points I’d like to make about this section:
- There are lots of pictures, so it’s long as long as it appears to be.
- Be sure to read the part about HMO payments at the end. If you really think that nothing can surprise you anymore, that will prove you wrong.
Dave Belk MD