One Reason For High Medical Costs Is All The Paper

The discussion everywhere has been how to reign in or modify the health care system so that costs do not continue to spiral out of control.
One simple suggestion I have is to cut back on all the paperwork!
As I’ve blogged about before, my wife had our first child recently. It’s been four weeks already (and WOW, have they flown by). A few days after he was born, he had a quick visit to the emergency room because of some problems feeding and holding down food. Thank goodness those have been resolved.
But, since we’ve gotten home from the hospital, the amount of paperwork that we’ve gotten has been staggering. There honestly has not been a day gone by in the last three weeks that we’ve opened up the mailbox and found some sort of paperwork.
These have included:

  • Envelope upon envelope of Explanation of Benefit (EOB) forms from the insurance company. Occasionally, they will combine multiple explanations in one mailing, but it’s pretty rare. There are so many providers that have submitted claims, from the hospital for care of my wife to the hospital for the care of our newborn to the provider of the epidural to the OB/GYN office that took care of my wife. The part that annoys me is that they also put the EOB statements online. That’s not the annoying part, but what is is that in most cases, I’ve already logged on and have seen the EOB’s, so the paper copy is redundant, yet there’s no way to go ‘online only’.
  • Bills from all of the providers above. In most cases, they send a separate bill for every item, even though my wife and my son each have one account. In many cases, the balances don’t even add up to the combined totals, so I have to keep track of them to make sure we’re not overpaying or underpaying.
  • Coordination of benefits form – My insurance company decided that now would be a good time to confirm that my family does not have coverage through another insurance plan. So, they sent a five page questionire to me. The great thing about it is that for me to say ‘No’ (which was the answer) involved me checking one box and signing my name. A complete waste of paper, and something that I could have easily done online had this been an option (it’s not).
  • FSA reimbursement forms – We are using our Flexible Spending Account money to pay for most everything. The company that administers this requires a receipt for most purchases so that they can verify that the purchase qualifies. Thankfully, ADP has gotten themselves together to where they don’t send a paper copy of this request in the mail. They actually e-mail it. Still, they don’t allow me to scan in the receipts. I have to mail or fax them. So, I have to print out a copy of their claim form and head over to the fax machine. They’re the most electronic of the bunch, but it’s still one giant waste of paper as far as I’m concerned.

It gets worse.
Because the insurance company chose to have me fill out the coordination of benefits forms, they delayed payment on over half of the bills that came through. Yet they sent EOB forms to let us know that they were ‘Pending’!
Gee, thanks!
So, not only do I have a pile of papers letting me know that nothing has been done, once they re-process the claims, they’ll surely send brand new EOB forms for every single claim with the adjusted amounts.

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