Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Let's Literally Kill People With Surprise Ambulance Fees!

Warning: A trip to the hospital in an ambulance
might bankrupt you, because insurance and profits  
It's become the American Way: If you don't think you're making enough money, just sneak in a bunch of exorbitant fees that catch you by surprise.

The airline industry is a leader in that, with fees for every little service that used to be included in the air fare. Hotels do it.

Then, hospitals and doctors started doing it. Somebody who is not in the patient's insurance network  steps into the operating room or whatever just briefly. Then they would present a huge bill to the patient for the minimal amount of work they do.

Ambulance companies are doing it, too, in one of the worst stories I've heard about this type of practice

According to Consumerist, many people who get trips to the hospital in ambulances often get huge bills from these ambulance companies.

Apparently, you're suppose to know ahead of time which ambulance is covered by your insurance, and you are somehow supposed to know, when you're in the throes of a heart attack or something, which ambulance company to call, which employees need to be working on that ambulance and even the route that ambulance will take.

You call an ambulance in an emergency. By definition, during an emergency you can't spend hours researching who works at which ambulance service and which ambulance is covered by your insurance and which one isn't.

So you take your chances and call an ambulance. But maybe you won't.

This is the most Darwinian, evil of business practices. If you take it to its logical conclusion, people who don't have much money and are in an emergency will be afraid to call an ambulance and just die. People who have money will call the ambulance, and if they are presented with a big bill, they'll just groan, then pay it.

In nature, it's the survival of the fittest. In our current system, it's survival of the richest. If you're poor, whether it's your fault or not, you deserve to die. If you're rich, whether you've earned all that money or not, you deserve to live.

I get it. The cost of ambulances and paramedics and all that must be paid for by somebody. You'd think there would be some way to pool insurance plans across competitors or something that you pay only your deductible under your insurance plan no matter which ambulance takes you to the hospital.

That way, you pay your fair share through the deductable and your normal insurance premiums, and the ambulance companies get paid, like they need to.  But I guess it's more profitable to just find loopholes and force people to pay huge out of network fees.

I can't afford our current system, and neither can a lot of other people, but we're stuck. There's money to be made, profits to gather, and if a few people die and/or go bankrupt, oh well.

I guess if I ever need to go to a hospital, I'll need to take my chances and hope somebody gives me a ride, and gets me there in time.

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