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For-Profit USA Healthcare, HIPAA, and Too Many Details

So I’m changing back to the US, five months behind schedule.

When I left the US, I had to change to a healthcare provider that handles overseas/international coverage — why? Because the for-profit healthcare non-provider I had doesn’t cover international. I guess we don’t get hurt when we’re not in the US.

So I changed, triggering a “changed healthcare” and “stopped healthcare” event, which causes me to receive piles of mailbox spam: options for “continuing healthcare after stopping your healthcare”, “why did you leave us?” pamphlets, and “you’re uninsured, did you want us to take your insurance payments instead?”. My paper-based mailbox didn’t feel so popular until that moment in its poor life.

There I was, in the UK, life was fine. I needed some exploratory surgery, fine and dandy. The non-provider I had for international coverage did a remarkable job throwing time, delays, signatures, late requests for additional information, HIPAA information privacy, and a last-minute interrogation of my past medical history for 10 years to avoid paying. Of course, knowing I’m not in the country, they chose the slowest physical method of interaction — US Postal Service mail — knowing full well that being outside the country means I cannot check my mailbox. In my case, I have an option that is merely slower and expensive rather than prohibitive.

Nothing breeds trust, friendship, and good feelings like discovering a “terminate your case if not responded within 30 days” tucked into a mailbox you won’t see for 8 months. Thanks. You do your shareholders proud.

They still haven’t paid.

Now the change back is happening. I have to beg for coverage in another non-provider. “please, will you take money to avoid paying coverage?”

What’s my overage, in detail, and dollar amounts? Do I have dental? Since what date? How much? Deductible? Is it Group or Individual? Date coverage began? Ended (hint: It Hasn’t Ended). All of this information is only intended to find reasons to avoid paying — because that reduces liabilities, hence boosting overall profit.

Modern countries have healthcare. Modern countries don’t have these loopholes to attempt to avoid coverage. Some modern countries still use paper-based letters to communicate, but some have discovered this thing called “email” and “internet”. HIPAA/privacy? SSL.

The US landscape of lawsuits makes any company afraid to innovate.

Avoiding risk requires multiple people to confirm any sort of drug — so everything in the US is a prescription. That makes the $8 drug in UK (after VAT and conversion) cost $55 in US and take two weeks to schedule the consultation. This is all expensive.

I can see why US for-profit healthcare non-providers do their best to avoid providing healthcare: it’s a business. They may imply that are family-oriented, caring, moralistic, but they’re a business. Businesses are measured by stock, profit, loss.

Why is this ever-present, everyone-knows-about-it issue on my mind? I’m annoyed at having to research for hours for a four-page document that, inevitably, will be used against me in the attempt to avoid providing healthcare. If it’s to their benefit, they should pay me for collecting it. …but that’s like jury duty: a huge suck on daily efficiency that no one repays, and we cannot see why more efficient countries are booming during our liability-laden risk-averse, war-weary (thanks, Bush and Bush), cover-your-ass recession.