$1000 Tooth Brush, $140 Tylenol! See the Video

Here is a short video from http://www.cnn.com that everyone should watch.  This is partly to blame for why health care is so expensive.

This piece by CNN really illustrates the problem with American health care.  In this piece they say that as long as the bill isn’t over $100,000 they just pay it.  Firstly, that isn’t true.  Being in the health care field I know how insurance companies can nickel and dime doctors to death.  Secondly, if it is true, then these insurance companies must be making exorbitant amounts of money.  They’d have to be to consider paying anything less than $100,000 without looking at the actual bill!

While some of these mistakes might be honest errors, I find it very hard to believe.  I have a personal experience with this as well.  My grandfather was in the hospital for an extended time and was also charged more than $120 for a single Tylenol.  It always amazes me that this doesn’t get more attention and that the hospitals don’t get into more trouble for their billing practices.

The double standard that exists between billing at hospitals and individual practitioners is astounding.  I have many colleagues who are forced to return money to insurance companies despite the fact that they were billing the insurance companies as they were told to. Later on they find out the rules had changed but the insurance company failed to notify them of this change.  Even in these scenarios, when it is clearly the insurance company who made the mistake, they sue to recoup the claims they paid to the practitioner.  It proves they are much more likely to go after the individual because they most likely have limited funds to fight the litigation, whereas hospitals will not be limited by money.

The insurance companies are being irresponsible with your money, which in turn, costs you more money.  The fact that they simply pay these amounts without actually looking at the bills from the hospital drives up your premium cost.  Is it any wonder that it cost almost $17,000 to insure a family of 4 in 2009. Think the cost of health insurance is not affected by such wasteful spending by managed care firms?  Check out the statistics.

  1. $16,771 for a family of four in 2009
  2. $15,609 for a family of four in 2008
  3. $14,500 for a family of four in 2007
  4. $13,382 for a family of four in 2006
  5. $12,214 for a family of four in 2005

From 2005 to 2009 it costs an extra $379 per month per family.  Many families don’t have that laying around to spend.  As it is, they are already spending $1400 per month on health insurance.  This is only part of the problem, however.

Insurance costs would decrease significantly if people became healthier in this country.  We need to teach people how to eat better and exercise.  This would significantly reduce the burden on the health industry resulting is lower costs overall.  Diets focusing on healthy fats and protein with less emphasis on grain and carbohydrate is the only way to achieve this.  Anything else, such as the low fat paradigm, will only make the problem worse.

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