Sunday, October 7, 2007
Medicare Drug Plan - Profitable to Insurers
The New York Times has an article that is no surprise to physicians and pharmacists who care for patients. Guess what? The wonderful Medicare Drug Plan for seniors has turned into a cash cow for insurance companies that administer it. Duh! Since when do Insurers ever do anything with the government that doesn't fatten their pockets?
Audits, conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services found serious compliance problems in deceptive marketing practices, denial of claims and handling of appeals. Sales agents sold products that were not really available, formularies did not cover needed drugs and there was no way for a patient or doctor to appeal or even get someone to answer the phone. Claims were denied and people were told they were not enrolled even though they produced cancelled checks. Wellpoint, one of the nations largest insurers, has a backlog of 354,000 claims. Gee, they are in the insurance business and can't handle claims? Isn't that their only reason for existing?
These same insurance conglomerates, Wellpoint, United Healthcare, and Humana to name a few, also sell Medicare Advantage plans which offer a full range of coverage including hospital and doctor care. The investigators found the same abuses in these plans as well as the drug plans.
As long as we allow large corporations to make obscene profits on our Medicare tax dollars, we will have a health care system that fails in the United States. I have said it before...I want my tax dollar to be used for improving and sustaining health of people...all people. Stop this corporate privatization of Medicare. Stop allowing big Pharma and big Insurers to rape the coffers. We deserve better.
Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 9:13 AM