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.