Saturday, April 12, 2014

United Healthcare Strikes Again!

As I said in a previous post,*  United Healthcare is the worst in the rogue's gallery of modern health insurers. Last week, I got another confirmation of this fact. One of my patients came in for his history and physical exam and had not gotten his blood drawn in advance. Why? Because United Healthcare will not pay for labs that associated with a history and physical unless they are drawn on the very same day as the visit.

When my patients come in for a History and Physical, I try to have them get their labs drawn before they come in. That way, we can have a face-to-face talk about what diet might lower their cholesterol or why they might be anemic, or whatever. I can also get any follow-up labs drawn on that day. It makes everyone's life easier, and, sometimes, it even saves the insurer money. Some lab results might require a face-to-face discussion instead of a phone call, and, if I don't have the labs on the day of the physical, the patient will have to come in for another visit, which means another bill to insurance.

I don't know why United Healthcare does this. Probably, some deranged actuary has convinced them that it makes financial sense, even though none of their rivals appear to think so. I don't believe that United Healthcare is consciously vindictive, but they sure do good impression of it.

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