Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The healthcare rip-off

Just came back from going to the dentist. And I'm left feeling like I just had a "Welcome to America" rip-off treatment.

Why did I go to the dentist? Because it has been a while since I last went to the Dentist; my last visit was back at home before flying to the US, in 2008 sometime in the summer. I had a little bit of a touch-sensation on one of my teeth, and since it's been two and a half years, maybe three, the teeth definitely needed cleaning. But aside from that, I couldn't think of anything much wrong with my teeth.

The dentist's place took a 360 X-ray of my teeth, and 4 individual X-rays of sections like that was standard procedure. And the nurse cleaned my teeth, and the the dentist was with me for a total of two minutes, told me everything was fine, and the sensation was because of a gum retreat which was normal. And bang, I'm charged $580 for all of that.

Apparently, I have a $50 deductible that I have to pay; and then the insurance covers most of the expenses, except for some $96 (I'm not sure if that includes the $50 I paid up). But the fact being, there was nothing wrong with my teeth !! And $212 of the $580 was X-rays.

Back home, I don't ever remember a dentist taking an X-ray unless there was a need. And I'm left feeling like I just got the "Welcome to American Healthcare" treatment. No wonder, this country's economy is going to the dogs.

The only way I can think of, that things can be fixed is if insurance information was required to be kept confidential from the Clinic / Hospital, and the patient were to pay and later get it reimbursed; otherwise, the clinic/hospital would have little incentive to not rip-off the insurance company, at the cost of potentially harmful over-treatment of the patient.

But the "we the people", they clamor for insurance as the panacea for all evil.


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