Screwing patients, doctors on lab tests

From the Associated Press today, I learn that my own health care provider, United HealthCare, is turning the screws on doctors who don’t steer patients who have this insurance to use lab tests at centers run by Lab, Inc.

Most everyone around here uses Quest Diagnosis for the simple reason there are about 50 Quest clinics within 30 miles of West Hartford. There are just four Lab clinics, the closest on Woodland Street in Hartford.

Now I have nothing for or against either clinic, and I hate all health insurance companies because they are all greedy and mean, but this is terrible. Sick people should be able to go to the nearest mainstream clinic and use its services without suffering financial harm. And to threaten to fine doctors, too, is just one more ridiculous measure from an industry that abuses people at every turn.

The one good thing about this idiocy is that it will do its little part toward pushing the whole system toward a cheaper, better national health care plan that everyone would have.

This insane patchwork of competing insurance companies raking off billions from an already overly expensive system has got to come to an end. And cheating sick people and doctors is a great way to speed its demise.

But, come on, United HealthCare, do the right thing. Treat your customers and providers with dignity and respect.

Meanwhile, I hope the state insurance regulators or camera-happy Dick Blumenthal will step in.



Filed under Health, Insurance, Medical care, News, Politics

6 responses to “Screwing patients, doctors on lab tests

  1. effusion

    Legislators there and in many states should stand up to the powerful corporate health insurance lobbies and do what is best for the public. Industry representatives should not get to form legislation and regulations to their liking.

    Thanks for speaking up. That kind of avaricous power play has become commonplace, but should not be acceptable.

  2. I’m sick to death of insurance companies interjecting themselves in what ought to be a sacred relationship between patient and doctor. I’d much rather have the government playing that role because at least it’s accountable to someone.

  3. By the way, if United Healthcare or any insurance rep wants to weigh in and explain why I’m all wet, I’d love to hear your side. I recognize that the AP doesn’t necessarily have all the relevant facts.

  4. I just read the company’s cloying FAQs concerning this decision. Here it is, for those who can stomach PR:

  5. Thomas

    I have also started a blog chronicling my wife and my experiences with the HMO nightmare. We actually were doing better on our medications before bushes(spelled correctly) hair brained prescription plan. Now we actually have to pay a 20% co-pay on medications that we use to get for free. Silly isn’t it. This for the most advanced capitalist country in the world with our economy and abilities we should have the best health care in the world and at an affordable rate. No one should have to go out and we should not have to choose between food and health care.

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