In conversations with two of my patients recently, a similar theme has come up that I wanted to share with you because I believe it is a result of America’s current healthcare crisis and the dysfunctional economics of our third-party payer insurance based healthcare.
The first comment I heard from a patient during one of our sessions was:
“No one good takes my insurance anymore. I realized that if I want people to actually spend time with me for a comprehensive session and get deeply involved in my case, I have to pay out-of-pocket for that type of high-quality healthcare. I don’t even know why I have insurance anymore except that the government requires it.”
I have to say I feel the same frustration. I shared about that in my recent blog on navigating the healthcare system.
My Personal Experience
When I see someone who does take my insurance, I’m subject to extended time spent in their overcrowded waiting room.
I feel herded through their office like cattle and then I only get a very few precious minutes with the provider who rarely even touches me to examine me.
Instead, the provider is focused on asking me questions unrelated to the reason for my visit and filling out the claim forms that my insurance company requires in order to get paid for the visit.
That’s why most of the providers that I see to address my complex health needs as a person living with chronic and episodic health issues require me to pay out-of-pocket.
I can completely empathize with the frustration and exasperation that my patient was expressing because I find myself in the same boat when using insurance based healthcare.
The second comment I received came up in a session today in regard to insurance based healthcare was when one of my patients said:
“Well, who should I see then? When I go see the doctor who takes my insurance, he only pops in for about five minutes after his assistant has examined me to give me some kind of a pep talk. When I come here to see you, you spend almost two hours during our session. But you don’t take my insurance.”
I said, “And that’s why I don’t take your health insurance – because I actually want to spend time with you. I don’t want to have to rush through our visit to get to my next patient.”
At our final session this week, I was educating the second patient on signs of BPPV recurrence which would indicate the need for further care with me. I suggested he either return to a vestibular PT who takes his insurance based healthcare or call me should that occur.
He responded, “I just want to work with you. You actually spend time with me.”
A Common Theme
I share these two examples because I see a common theme here. Both of my patients reported frustration and confusion about who they should actually see for their health needs.
I completely understand!
They both reported – and I have also experienced – that they feel that insurance based healthcare providers who are accepting their insurance do not spend enough time with them to fully meet their needs — or perform a comprehensive evaluation and treatment for their complex health condition.
At the same time, it gets very expensive to pay out-of-pocket for providers who will spend enough time. So it’s a conundrum!
What’s in the future…
I’m honestly not sure what the future of healthcare in America will bring, but I do believe that the dysfunctional economics of the third-party payer system – or the insurance based healthcare system – are ultimately the issue.
If doctors and healthcare providers who accept health insurance had it their way, I believe they would choose to spend more time with each patient.
To read more about my perspective on the consequences of a third-party payer healthcare system, click here.
This blog is provided for informational purposes only. The content and any comments by Dr. Kim Bell, DPT are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The details of any case mentioned in this post represent a typical patient that Dr. Bell might see and do not describe the circumstances of a specific individual.