Thursday, October 20, 2011

Massachusetts Residents, Beware of United Healthcare!

Friends, family, and neighbors, it may be the cheapest health plan your employer offers, but I strongly recommend you do not sign up for United Healthcare health insurance. United Healthcare sells what may be the worst of the bottom-feeder insurance plans that have sprouted in the context of MA healthcare reform. 
For instance, my patient has a $400 lab bill for cholesterol tests. Why? Because when the tests were done, they were not linked to a history and physical. Why? Just because.
And then there was the time a patient was bitten by a feral animal. She went to the emergency room and got the first shot of a rabies series. Then she came to me to get the second and third without having to pay the $150 co-pay for an ER visit each time. But United Healthcare won't pay for a rabies vaccination ($600) outside of an emergency room. Does this save them money? No. An office visit is cheaper for them than an ER visit. Is this efficient for the system? No. It clogs up an already crowded ER. Why do they have this policy? Beats me.
I thought that if I just explained it to someone at United Healthcare, they would fix it. I'm so naive! I found out that if you wait on hold for an hour, you can talk to someone who can put you on hold until you hang up.
I'm no accountant, but this seems like a bad deal.