ACA Cancels New York Creatives’ Coverage

Anemona Hartocollis wrote in The New York Times, “Many in New York’s professional and cultural elite have long supported President Obama’s health care plan. But now, to their surprise, thousands of writers, opera singers, music teachers, photographers, doctors, lawyers and others are learning that their health insurance plans are being canceled and they may have to pay more to get comparable coverage, if they can find it.”

Touche. Get a lot of people to vote for something by promising universal benefits for all. Then fail to benefit not only the people you promised to help, but also the law’s supporters. This seems like solid politics.

New York developed an unusual, informal health insurance system where independent practitioners were able to get lower insurance rates through group plans. These were typically set up by their professional associations or chambers of commerce. These people were able to avoid the sky-high rates in New York’s individual insurance market, (historically among the most expensive in the country).

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Posted by: AtlasMD

December 11, 2013

1 Comment

NPR Visits ACA Prison Glitch. Gets Touche.

In the mood for some high brow hahas? Then you’ll want to read NPR’s “prison glitch” coverage. Have you experienced this malfunction yet? Wait, that would mean you were actually signing up on the Federal insurance exchange (jk). Either way, according to NPR, the Obama administration says it has patched hundreds of software bugs infecting the government’s health insurance website.

What’s the “prison glitch”? We’re glad you asked. Evidently, Martha Freeman of Pennsylvania encountered the bug while signing up for coverage for herself and her adult children. The insurance website asked for documentation of the children’s incarceration status. It’s worth noting that her kids have never been to prison.

Freeman figured she was “stuck in solitary,” says NPR, until she called a toll-free help line and found out she wasn’t alone. Others have been experiencing this bug, too.

We do have to hand it to NPR. Their tone is hilarious. “Stuck in solitary” is only the first of prison-themed puns in the article.

Posted by: AtlasMD

November 27, 2013

1 Comment

Touche. The Federal Health Exchange Website Mocked By Actual Insurance Company.

As low as this blow is, it seems almost destined. Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield has launched three ads that tell people to skip Healthcare.gov and visit their website instead. And what’s there reasoning? Because Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield’s site actually works.

Chris Matyszczyk of CNET reported on this advertising development (and included his own personal insurance woes). He writes, “Somehow, though, there’s always this nagging feeling with insurance companies — and, indeed, with the whole health industry — that the drive for a buck (with the frequent assistance of technology) is often at the expense of its customers’ mental, as well as financial, health.”

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The Latest Way Insurance Companies Are Trying To Pay Practices Less

The Latest Way Insurance Companies Are Trying To Pay Practices Less

Okay, so this is a departure from our red tape world. It looks like fee-for-service practices are noticing a new trend in payments from insurance companies and payers – they are actually paying for services rendered with credit cards or virtual credit cards.

A virtual credit card? Is that a real thing?
Yes it is. According to wiseGeek.com, “A virtual credit card, also known as a throwaway or temporary credit card, is a disposable payment card used for one-time purchases. It consists of a single-use credit card number generated by the credit card issuer. In most cases, virtual credit card numbers can only be used once, and will expire after about a month if not used.”

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ACA Hysteria: Don’t Believe All The Hype (But Worry Nonetheless)

ACA Hysteria: Don’t Believe All The Hype (But Worry Nonetheless)

Michael Hiltzik from The Los Angeles Times wrote last week, “Obamacare’s critics are going to town on the cancellation letters millions of Americans are receiving from their health insurers…” This of course because of “healthcare reform” mandating that insurance plans meet certain requirements or be dissolved come Jan. 1.

Being as the President himself assured everyone that if they liked their insurance they’d be able to keep it, there’s obvious cause for alarm. Evidently, some people are especially bummed that they won’t get to keep their health plans that cost as little as $50 a month. Great price, right?

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Red Tape Puts Insured Californians in a Bind

Fox News conducted a hard interview with a doctor in California. All things considered, we’re aware of the network’s general political leanings, and we’re not politicians at Atlas MD (we’re doctors). However, it’s very difficult to argue with the fact that paying subscribers have been kicked off of existing plans in California, and forced into Obamacare programs. Regardless of whether one plan is better than the other, one thing has been eliminated, and that’s the power of choice.

Had we been invited to the program we might have added that the insurance doesn’t guarantee quality care. Quality care is something that takes time and experience. The more fee-for-service doctors deal with insurance to get paid, the less medicine they actually practice. In a perfect world, there’d be MORE doctors, not more red tape. Ironically, as we add more bureaucratic influence, albeit well intentioned, we run the risk of running doctors out of medicine entirely.

Sadly, the government imagines medicine like this — insure everyone, problem solved. But what happens when all the doctors are occupied, and there’s no one to see all these insured patients?

Even The New York Times Is Suggesting Catastrophic Insurance Plans

In his new New York Times healthcare piece, “Driving a New Bargain on Health Care,” Tyler Cowen spells out the hard truth of Obamacare failings. Based on his prognosis, a lack of states extending Medicaid coverage will leave millions uninsured. This isn’t something that should excite anyone. However, it’s leading to wake up calls from top journalists. In his assessment Cowen offers a reaction to this shortcoming:

“At the same time, I’d recommend narrowing the scope of required insurance to focus on catastrophic expenses. If insurance picks up too many small expenses, it encourages abuse and overuse of scarce resources.”

As you know, we’ve been suggesting this for years now. When we as a nation can’t provide care for our own, that’s failing. But when we know something isn’t working (health insurance as health maintenance, for one) and we keep doing it, that’s even worse. So yes, while we’re nowhere near a solution, we’re moving towards a society that recognizes one thing: coverage is not care. It’s a point worth mentioning, because to many people, the idea that EVERYONE is insured sounds like utopia. For now, we’ll be the squeaky wheel reminding you that this isn’t really the case.

READ THE FULL NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE HERE

Congress’ Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Congress’ Actions Speak Louder Than Words

So we came across some share-worthy news today. Here’s a quote from CMT, referencing Congressional healthcare benefits:

“One of the most unusual perks may come from the Office of the Attending Physician of the United States Congress. For an annual fee of $503, House and Senate members can designate the official congressional physician to be their primary care doctor — meaning they never have to leave Capitol Hill, deal with crowded doctor’s offices or be subject to the same type of care from a doctor as the rest of us.”

This sounds kind of like their own personal doctor, that’s available 24/7, for a fixed yearly price (that’s about a third of what we charge hard working Americans), who provides primary care, same day, with no waits, who fields calls directly… which sounds a lot like what we offer at Atlas MD.

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LINKS: Rage Against The Healthcare Machine

h gilbert welchIn case you needed any more reasons to get incensed with healthcare’s exorbitant costs, The New York Times has you covered. First, you’ll want to read their piece about how ridiculously overpriced it is to have a baby in this country (“American Way Of Birth, Costliest In The World” via The New York Times).

According to the article, “Women with insurance pay out of pocket an average of $3,400, according to a survey by Childbirth Connection, one of the groups behind the maternity costs report. Two decades ago, women typically paid nothing other than a small fee if they opted for a private hospital room or television.”

And that’s just the start. Read more

Are There Too Many Flavors Of Concierge Medicine?

We found another article relaying the exodus of doctors to our side of the healthcare system. Here’s a passage worth checking out. It lays out valid insurance concerns in context with concierge medicine. (We inserted notes in parentheses.)

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