Being held hostage

It’s time for a revolt. I know I am fed up. If you haven’t already realized it, we are being held hostage by the insurance companies when it comes to our healthcare. It is especially impacting the middle class.
In the last few weeks, I have had conversations with a dentist, a doctor and a business manager who files all the insurance claims. All are ready to throw their hands up in the air and give up. The insurance companies decide whether or not we can have a doctor recommended procedure or test done. They decide how much of it they will pay and they keep raising our rates and giving us less coverage.
Yes, they blame much of it on Obamacare. But in fact, the whole system itself is broken and needs to be fixed. You cannot count on career politicians to fix it because they are part of the problem. Some of them have their hands in the pockets of the insurance companies.
If you talk to some of the people who are happy with Obamacare because they did not have insurance to begin with, they are in the lower income bracket. We will see if they are still as happy when rates go up as scheduled this fall.
In reality Obamacare was a win-win for the insurance companies and big pharmacy.
Those on the upper end of the income scale, don’t have a problem paying and most of them do not complain. The brunt falls on the shoulder of the middle income folks.
Even if you happen to have health insurance through an employer, most likely your rates have kept going up and you have less coverage or you have had to raise your deductible just to be able to afford the premiums.
On a recent trip to the dentist to begin a root canal I asked the business manager how much the insurance was going to pay. She gave me quirky smile and then said, there’s no telling. They are not paying what they did last year, not even what they were paying last month and could even say you don’t need the root canal and not pay for any of it. It is really hard to say she said. She went further saying they were trying to get preauthorization on most things because of the insurance mess but sometimes even when they pre-approve it, they change their minds, don’t pay at all or don’t pay what they said they would pay.
Okay then. Guess I will be paying on the root canal for a while if the insurance doesn’t pay.
We pay our insurance premiums and doctors go to school for years so they can earn a degree to practice medicine, yet it is the insurance companies which are calling all the shots. It doesn’t make any sense at all.
The insurance companies are taking advantage of us and it’s legal because Congress has given them carte blanche agreement to do so. They can drop coverage, increase premiums or deny coverage without any reason or punitive action against them.
Those of us approaching senior citizen status are even more at risk. They don’t think our lives are worth as much as a younger person’s. And they don’t want us to live any longer than necessary.
If you look at statistics, Americans pay way more for healthcare than others. And it’s not because Americans go to the doctor more either. Most other countries have price controls and their governments will negotiate with the drug companies for better prices. For example, if Nexium costs $215 here, you can get it in the Netherlands for $23. That’s an astounding difference.
America also has higher administration costs which are passed on to us through doctor and pharmaceutical fees. On the other hand, American hospitals use more technology and tests for treatment which also drives up costs. Doctors are paid more the more tests and scans they run.
Realistically, the healthcare industry is not in the business of curing you. They need repeat customers and therefore they prescribe medications which do not cure the illness, just help control it. These medicines sometimes cause even more problems, for which you are prescribed another medication and on and on it goes. Sometimes there are other alternatives but you will never hear about them because it’s not profitable.
And if you really think everyone gets health insurance now because of Obamacare, you need to do a reality check. Some choose to just pay the penalty because it is less expensive than the premiums. And now even insurance companies are dropping out of the program. You just cannot force everyone to buy insurance and it should be unconstitutional to do so anyway.
My question is, are we getting what we pay for with insurance premiums? In some cases maybe, but I think in most, we are not. Are we getting something of equal value for all the money it costs us when we go to the doctor or a hospital?
We seem to be a sicker nation than in the past, with more and more people developing diseases. It used to be you could just go to your primary doctor and not have to be sent to a different specialist for each symptom. They would prescibe medicine sometimes, but not all the time, and would make suggestions on how you could become healthier.
Do you even ask questions when a doctor prescribes a medicine for you? Do you even know why you are taking some medicines? Each of us has to become responsible for our healthcare in a way. We need to work on healthier lifestyles and we need to ask questions of our doctors.
Our healthcare system is on life support and there seems to be no one willing to do what needs to be done to either pull the plug and start over or come up with the life saving solution. As long as we keep taking the hype they dish out and keep paying the increased premiums without a fight, nothing will change.©2016

VICTORIA SIMMONS is an author, columnist, motivational speaker, minister and publisher of The Georgia Post/Byron Buzz. Contact her at: vsimmons54@gmail.com

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About vsimmons54

Veteran journalist of 40 years. Editor, Motivational Speaker, Ordained Minister, CEO of A Light in the Darkness Ministries, Lensclusive Photography, Babbling Brook Consulting and Design, event planner and author. I love to write and speak and I love Jesus. I also do copy writing and editing. Recently co-authored Vanished Towns Revisited.
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