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Letter: Who’s insured first? That’s what I’m trying to tell you

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Note: The statements, views, and opinions contained in this letter to the editor are those of the author and are not endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect, the opinions of The Republic.

From: Doug Wilson, M.D.


To the editor:

Here we are after three months of the new health law. While I’m all for anything that can combine affordability and care, I have to admit that sometimes it gets a little confusing trying to plow through the plethora of plans. Take last Monday for example.

Me: Who is the insurance company for the first patient?

Secretary Kim: Who.

M: The first patient’s insurance.

K: Who.

M: The guy’s insurance plan.

K: Who.

M: What are you asking me for? I’m asking you.

K: And I’m telling you. Who.

M: What’s their name?

K: No, what’s the name of the insurance company for our second patient?

M: I don’t know.

K: That’s for our third patient.

M: I didn’t ask about the third patient; I’m still trying to find out about the first one.

K: Who.

M: What’s their name?

K: No, what’s the name for the second patient.

M: I don’t know.

K: That’s the third patient’s.

Me (trying very hard to remain calm): OK, let’s work through this logically. We see this first patient. He seems like a nice man. He has an infection. We treat him and he leaves happy. Now at the end of the day, we send the bill to who?

K: Now that’s the first thing you’ve said right yet.

Me (nearly choking on my coffee): We send it to who?

K: Of course. We wouldn’t be in business very long if we didn’t.

M: To who?

K: Why wouldn’t we? He’s paid his premiums.

M: But what’s their name?

K: No, What’s the name for our second patient.

M: I don’t know.

Both of us at the same time: THIRD PATIENT.

Realizing I was getting nowhere, I tried to change the subject: Have you sent in the application for us to be on the new Medicaid plan?

K: Tomorrow?

M: You’re too busy? We need to do it right away. I’ve already forgotten their name.

K: Tomorrow.

M: Why not today?

K: Today is the new Anthem-based plan. We’re already on their provider list.

M: Why did you bring up Anthem?

K: Did you say Why? Why is the new Humana-Medicare supplement.

M: Why?

K: Yes, Why.

M (not knowing what else to say): Just because?

K: Oh, no. Because is the St. Francis plan. We can’t participate in that. The hospital is out of network.

Me (trying to salvage what was left of my sanity): Let me see if I’ve got this straight. Our first patient’s bill goes to Who. What is for the second patient. I don’t know — that’s for the third. We have signed up for Today and Tomorrow, and also Why, but not Because, for as everyone knows, it is a St. Francis plan and so we cannot participate. And you know what (throwing my chart down), I don’t give a darn.

My wife, walking into the room: What did you say?

Me: I said, ‘I don’t give a darn.’

Wife: Oh, that’s the new plan I signed us up for last week.

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