Frequently-Asked Questions About Health Care By David Lubar
Q. What does HMO stand for?
A. This is actually a variation of the phrase, "Hey, Moe!" Its
roots go back to a concept pioneered by Doctor Moe Howard, who
discovered that a patient could be made to forget about the pain
in his foot if he was poked hard enough in the eyes. Modern
practice replaces the physical finger poke with hi-tech
equivalents such as voice mail and referral slips, but the
result remains the same.
Q. Do all diagnostic procedures require pre-certification?
A. No. Only those you need.
Q. I just joined a new HMO. How difficult will it be to choose the
doctor I want?
A. Just slightly more difficult than choosing your parents. Your
insurer will provide you with a book listing all the doctors who
were participating in the plan at the time the information was
gathered. These doctors basically fall into two categories --
those who are no longer accepting new patients, and those who
will see you but are no longer part of the plan. But don't
worry -- the remaining doctor who is still in the plan and
accepting new patients has an office just a half day's drive
Q. What are pre-existing conditions?
A. This is a phrase used by the grammatically challenged when they
want to talk about existing conditions. Unfortunately, we
appear to be pre-stuck with it.
Q. Well, can I get coverage for my pre-existing conditions?
A. Certainly, as long as they don't require any treatment.
Q. What happens if I want to try alternative forms of medicine?
A. You'll need to find alternative forms of payment.
Q. My pharmacy plan only covers generic drugs, but I need the name
brand. I tried the generic medication, but it gave me a stomach
ache. What should I do?
A. Poke yourself in the eye.
Q. I have an 80/20 plan with a $200 deductible and a $2,000 yearly
cap. My insurer reimbursed the doctor for my out-patient
surgery, but I'd already paid my bill. What should I do?
A. You have two choices. Your doctor can sign the reimbursement
check over to you, or you can ask him to invest the money for
you in one of those great offers that only doctors and dentists
hear about, like windmill farms or frog hatcheries.
Q. What should I do if I get sick while traveling?
A. Try sitting in a different part of the bus.
Q. No, I mean what if I'm away from home and I get sick?
A. You really shouldn't do that. You'll have a hard time seeing
your primary care physician. It's best to wait until you
return, and then get sick.
Q. I think I need to see a specialist, but my doctor insists he can
handle my problem. Can a general practitioner really perform a
heart transplant right in his office?
A. Hard to say, but considering that all you're risking is the $10
co-payment, there's no harm giving him a shot at it.
Q. What accounts for the largest portion of health care costs?
A. Doctors trying to recoup their investment losses.
Q. Will health care be any different in the next century?
A. No, but if you call right now, you might get an appointment by
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