Today I am venturing to the doctors as I near my 30th birthday to get a tune-up. Last night we rushed out 1 year old to the doctor’s office after she broke out with a rash on her body from the MMR vaccine she just received. Sure I used my flex card to make the payments for the co pays while at the office but that is such a small fraction of the bill.
I looked over the desk to see that for rushing the baby to the doctors office was going to set my insurance carrier back $150.00. I began to think that is a crime that my insurance carrier is going to be charged $150 for a nurse to see the baby for less than 10 minutes to tell us to give the baby a small dose of Benadryl.
Think about it $150 for 10 minutes work sounds good doesn’t it? Looking at it like that it seems great, but when you take in all of the overhead expenses that a doctor’s office must pay that $150 quickly dwindles. That $150 also goes to cover the person that doesn’t have insurance that still need to be seen, also known as charity care. Some people no matter how much you hound them are still not going to pay their bill whether they do not have the means or they just do not want to, so this will likely be written off to bad debt. All the insurances that you need to operate your own office; I know these can be pretty steep. Salaries of your office staff and all the supplies needed to run a business. This one is of particular interest, a doctor office can charge essentially whatever they want to but that does not mean that my insurance company will pay that. The insurance company will adjust the claim and pay say $100 to the doctors office. So that $150 the doctor thought they were getting is now $100. As you can see the margin quickly diminishes for the doctor’s office.
The scenario is similar to hospitals except the margins are thinner and the overhead expenses are a lot higher. Hospitals are faced with the same problems that a little doctors office is, except they are just on a much larger scale. Working in hospital finance I am able to see this first hand. What do you think? Is the healthcare system just milking us for more and more money?
PHOTO BY: stopnlook