Friday, August 26, 2011

A fish rotton in Nevada...

by Palemoon Twilight

So...This is what I know to be true: My husband had a heart attack in January 2011. The  doc put in 6 stents, and put him on Plavix. A person from 1-775-829-8885 called us at the behest of United Health Care. They wanted to ship us a scale to my husband and have him report back to them daily with his weight and information about his daily diet and habits. This would be done via wireless connection using a fancy scale that sends covert messages to its owners. Once the Alere operatives have my husband's information, I am assuming they, in turn, would report it to United Health Care.

Of course, the person on the phone says they are United Health Care with no mention of Alere, because they are contracting with United Health Care. This would be like me working as a temp for Smith Associates. The company that actually writes my check is Kelly Services...but when I'm on assignment at Smith Associates and I have to answer the phone, I say Smith Associates, not Kelly Services: I am being paid to represent Smith Associates when I answer the phone.

United Health Care, and other insurance companies, are exploiting a loophole in US HIPPAA Law. Since they are paying the company who, in turn, is paying the Alere employee, the Alere person and United Health Care are within the letter of the law. Personally, though, you didn't authorize this other company to participate in your health care...hence said loophole.

There is a little niggling inside my head that tells me that nothing is free. United Health Care does not have my husband's nor my own best interest at heart. They are looking for ways to save money, thereby increasing their profits. After all...Insurance is strictly a numbers game, and their odds are more favorable if they can get you to participate in a wellness program....because your health could improve because of it. Is this a win/win, or do the odds actually always favor the house

Now, let me remind you that all of us have caps on our lifetime insurance benefits. How are insurance companies paying for this? Is it out of their operating budget? Or is it applied to our insurance cap? At any rate, I can guarantee that they are the true beneficiaries of such an investment. Still...although your insurance company will benefit, does that mean you should say "No" to their offer? It is a quandary; a question difficult to answer. Is it a case of the enemy of my enemy is my friend? Or is it a case of blind man's bluff?

Instinct and common sense tell me that my husband can weigh himself without the help of Alere or United Healthcare. His doctor can and, in fact, is obligated to discuss his rehabilitation since the heart attack. The bottom line is that United Health Care hired this company to benefit United Health Care. Period.

Say you were home from work, sick. Your room-mate is fine, and is headed for work. Just before he goes out the door, you say, "Hey, on your way home, could you pick up some orange juice, please?" Roomie says, "Sure, no problem," then goes on his way. Now, around 3pm, there is a knock on your door. You answer in your bathrobe, only to find a Girl Scout standing there holding a bag from the corner sushi market. She says, "Hi, I'm your room-mate. You said you wanted me to bring you something to eat, so here it is." She hands you the bag, filled with California roll, edemame, and green tea ice-cream. But this Girl Scout doesn't look like your room mate. She actually reminds you a little bit of your sister's kid. As you take the bag from her, the Girl Scout says, "Oh, wait. I need to know your date of birth and driver's license number. Gotta be sure I got the right person." Do you give her the information? She doesn't look suspicious, but why does she need that info? What happens to the record with your DL # and date of birth? How secure are her records? Does she answer to the Federal Government as a provider of sushi? And who paid for that sushi, because obviously fish don't grow on trees. O.o

It worries me that we are headed back to the 1980s when so many insurance companies required patients to go through a gate-keeper to see a specialist, and said gate-keepers were getting bonuses based upon the lack of referrals to specialists. Do yourself a favor: Manage your *own* health care. You know your body best.

Just my two cents worth.

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