Health Insurance Addiction

Here is a great article by my friend, Dr. Jeffery Gold M.D. It’s called Our Unhealthy Addiction to Health Insurance. PLEASE read it, but more importantly, share it. In it he discusses:

  • The unbelievable high cost of health insurance and the lack of value delivered in return. (we are paying Porsche prices for Yugo performance)
  • The poor but typical American experience in seeking healthcare
  • The true purpose of health insurance
  • How the system got messed up when health insurance stopped being a form of insurance and instead became a default payment system.
  • His thoughts on recovery

Dr. Gold is a DPC doc like myself. I am proud to say that we are part of the solution by NOT working within this broken system. Let’s all hope we can break this addiction because if we don’t then we are screwed.

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Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  6 comments for “Health Insurance Addiction

  1. Kurt
    October 31, 2019 at 9:21 pm

    Until patients are held accountable for their lousy B.S. health behaviors in this country, nothing is going to change. If bernie or warren get into the highest office of the land, heaven help us with their Medicare for all. The gubbermint pressure on primary care will be intolerable. I won’t care as I’m retiring in exactly 2 years. Efff this
    S#!t, I’m gone. Should’a gone into anesthesiology as my advisor said I had an aptitude for. My major lifetime mistake.

  2. Natalie Newman, MD
    October 31, 2019 at 5:17 pm

    I gave up my addiction when I dumped my insurance company two years ago. Felt like I had 300 lb gorilla lifted off my shoulders. To get that last bit of blood from a turnip they decided that I owed money because I didn’t notify them that I was cancelling my insurance. I decided to allow it to expire. So despite the fact I did not use it in the last month, they still expected me to pay them $600 for the grace period. I flatly refused. So much for grace–they had none.

    They then sent it to some collection agency. I called that agency and ripped them a new one…and then some. She said, “I don’t need this” and sent the claim back to the insurance company. Never processed it so it did not appear on my credit report. It was some lame company whose whole purpose is to intimidate clients into paying but if patients contest, they send it back to the insurance company. Another scam that insurance companies use that I was not privy to which I was not privy. I now get my care at the VA. I have all physicians and could not be happier.

  3. Aaron M Levine
    October 30, 2019 at 11:33 pm

    When I was younger a more naïve, I was employed as a salary physician for an HMO. I have a lot of stories. I had one referral on a Saturday as an emergency. the person needed a battery for his TENS unit. It was the old 9v that was about a dollar then and perhaps $3 now. He filed a complaint as I would not come in, fill out a voucher, go to a store, buy him the battery and then drive to his home a deliver it.
    He said he had a policy that covered it and I was responsible to purchase and deliver it to him. The CEO, who had an MD degree, felt I should have made the purchase to keep him happy.

    Another showed up to the ER needed shots for a trip. She felt she should have other tests including an MRI. She said she had insurance and we could just charge it.

  4. ben
    October 30, 2019 at 10:08 am

    I remember an old Peter Sellers movie “Where Does It Hurt” which was a satire about healthcare costs and insurance 40 years ago. The premise of the movie (if memory serves correct) was doctors tweaking results and doing unnecessary testing and procedures to bilk insurances. I am sure it was supposed to be advocating for socialized medicine, but even when I saw it years ago, it just showed how ridiculous insurance is and that we all should be paying for our own healthcare as much as possible and that anytime you add a third party then each side can lose sight of the value of medicine.
    Although I know there are physicians who probably do unnecessary tests and drive up billing, my experience has been more with the administrators trying to unnecessarily drive up cost of medicine by adding in nurse visits and extra documentation (that just takes time away from other patients) to ensure we get all the incentives from medicare and private insurance as we can.
    The only way out is to put the patients in charge of where their healthcare dollars have value.

  5. Holly
    October 29, 2019 at 8:47 pm

    Excellent article. Thanks for posting. I agree that Dr. Gold’s article needs to be disseminated far and wide.

    I sometime listen to Scott Adams (Dilbert) politic/society talks. He often offers a different viewpoint, that is at least worth contemplating. However, whenever Scott talks healthcare, his lack of understanding is frustrating. What is scary is he does have a lot of influence and he is convincing people that universal insurance is good.

    Anyone on Twitter (I’m not) maybe send @scottadams a link of Dr. Gold’s article (and maybe even ZDoggMD’s video What the Presidential Candidates Won’t Tell You About Medicare for All)? Let’s see if he will use his economic background/MBA and see the issue for its’ complexity.

  6. Bill Ameen, MD
    October 28, 2019 at 2:07 pm

    Back in the 1970s when I was training, health insurance companies expanded to include doctors’ office visits in addition to catastrophic care and hospitalizations. I always, and to this day, thought that was a mistake, but to the health insurers it was another product like motorcycle or boat or flood insurance, ready to be denied if they didn’t think they’d profit. (In the little mill town in SC where I first practiced we charged $5 a visit and a huge number of patients STILL owed money.) To me letting someone else pay the bill just created a lack of responsibility on the part of the patient (like telemedicine, the newest trend that I mostly oppose—what the heck, 80,000,000 cars in this country plus Uber and Lyft and people can’t get to a doctor’s office???)—But now that the genie’s out of the bottle, there’s no going back. Hats off to you DPC guys and ladies hanging in there. BTW, Dr. Doug, we were at the VFF again this weekend and ate at Bodo’s, Miller’s, C&O, and even Littlejohn’s (down the sidewalk from the White Spot still there!). The ice-skating rink is being replaced by an office tower, showing that there’s no money in trying to make kids exercise!

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