Top 5 Misconceptions About The U.S. Healthcare System
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Politics and Activism

Top 5 Misconceptions About The U.S. Healthcare System

You're probably guilty of some of these.

Top 5 Misconceptions About The U.S. Healthcare System

Healthcare literally keeps us all alive, but popular misconceptions still exist about the doctor-patient, insurance-patient, and government-insurance relationships that govern our interactions with healthcare providers.

5. Doctors control their own prices

If you do not have insurance, then that would be true, but insurance companies largely control the amount doctors get paid for every service.

4. Your insurance company reimburses your doctor directly.

Handing the receptionist your insurance card does not allow the doctor to just go ahead and charge your insurance company for the services provided to you. Instead, the doctor has to file a claim to the insurance company that they will often negotiate or reject outright. This whole process actually adds quite a bit of cost, because doctors have to hire staff specifically to code in insurance claims and argue with insurance companies when a claim is rejected. The cost of rejected claims also falls back on the doctor's office, because it's often too late to charge the patient.

3. Your doctor isn't spending enough time with you because he or she just doesn't care.

Standard appointment times for primary care physicians are approximately 20 to 30 minutes nowadays. That gives 5-10 minutes for the nurse's evaluation, 5 minutes for the doctor to go over your case and make sure he has all the proper background information, 5-10 minutes for the doctor to see you, and 5 minutes for the doctor to go back and write up the necessary prescriptions and order lab tests.

It's true that 20-30 minutes isn't much time, so, if you have a more serious concern, make sure to get an appointment dedicated to that concern. This gives the doctor a better understanding of how much time he or she will need to work with you.

2. Your doctor orders extra tests to make more money.

It's true that some bad doctors have been found to do this, but the reality is that the majority of physicians order only the tests they need to serve you best and to avoid lawsuits. Often times, more thorough testing actually indicates that you are getting a much better service, because your doctor has a much better idea of your overall health.

1. Anything about "Obamacare"

The Affordable Care Act has expanded health insurance coverage to millions of Americans through a combination of offering tax credits to subsidize the price of health insurance for lower incomes and requiring most U.S. citizens and permanent residents to receive some form of health insurance. The law also requires employers with over 200 employees to automatically enroll their employees in their health insurance plans, which the employees may opt out of.

In the end, it's important to understand that we currently live in a country where an entire industry has been formed to profit off of people's fears of getting sick and not having the money for treatment. The Affordable Care Act has expanded healthcare to more people than ever before, but the current system remains in place. UnitedHealth Group, America's largest health insurance company, has a market value of $106 billion and reported a net income of $5.6 billion last year.

Liberal politicians have put a number of proposals on the table to address this issue, but it is unlikely that the government will take on major insurance giants unless the public is informed and vocal on this issue in the coming election.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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