Uncategorized

UnitedHealth Customers Speak With their Feet, and it’s Time for Everyone to Listen by Miriam Bookey

Miriambookey_2

This week’s sobering news from UnitedHealth serves as a wake-up call to anyone in healthcare services. For better or worse, a consumer-driven health economy has put individual consumers in the driver’s seat when it comes to how, when and with whom they spend their healthcare dollars. They will leave in the hundreds of thousands if they’re not satisfied (315,000 from UnitedHealth, to be exact).

It’s clear that service providers are no longer working with passive ‘patients’ who ‘receive care.’ Instead, the patients are compelled to be active consumers, responsible for investigating their personal healthcare options, arranging their own care as well as that of children and aging parents, understanding what is or isn’t covered by health plans, utilizing HSAs, selecting responsive and responsible service providers, and taking the initiative to follow up with doctors and health plans after appointments.  It’s a big, complicated and thankless job. And it’s a world in which patients can and will leave their insurers and select care providers based on service, not on health plan.

Continued at the Health 2.0 Blog

Livongo’s Post Ad Banner 728*90

Categories: Uncategorized

Tagged as: ,

14
Leave a Reply

14 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
10 Comment authors
RodrigoHerbert Rubin, M.D.Benefits ProMichael P Kane, DCPeter Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Rodrigo
Guest

Here’s some interesting insight from a recent Washington Times editorial dealing specifically with consumers taking healthcare costs into their own hands … Health crisis Health care in America is in crisis (“Five myths of health care,” Commentary, March 21). Turn on the news, listen to the political candidates or simply speak with your friends and neighbors who are in need of or seeking medical treatment. The cost is high; the availability of service is sometimes inadequate and often unavailable to far too many who need it. While it is abundantly clear that Americans in general, and the presidential candidates in… Read more »

Herbert Rubin, M.D.
Guest

The choice has become health insurance or health care. Consumers/patients want the latter, and have finally seen the scam in the lying, corrupt health insurance business, devoted as it is to screwing patients and providers when most needed. Their stockholders and officers could care less. They have an army of lawyers.
Many good doctors, including me, have opted out of all insurance plans and programs. Insurance is no longer my problem. Visa, MasterCcard accepted.

Peter
Guest
Peter

Thanks for your detailed response Michael. I surely didn’t mean to imply the NC chiro situation and ambulance chasing paints all chiros. Certainly not mine. I was weaned on Chiro care by a parent that looked on doctors as the enemy. When I was allowed/able to think for myself I learned chiros can’t treat/cure all and too many of them think they can. They also seem to adopt off-beat, unproven treatments too quickly. I will see a chiro first if I think I won’t need blood tests or emergency drugs to get me over a problem, the no harm option.… Read more »

Michael P Kane, DC
Guest

Peter, I could not agree with you more especially with regard to the dirty politics and the ambulance chasing. What happened in NC is not reflective of the norm for chiropractic policy makers. It also is not exclusive to chiropractors. With regards to the ambulance chasing stuff and ickey marketing tactics I need to let the profession accept more responsibility. Yes, to some extent the profession has been ghetto-ized by the third party payors and some DC’s feel the need to act like we deserve it. Still, not an excuse. The bigger problem is that the positive PR apparatus for… Read more »

Peter
Guest
Peter

Michael, I see what you are saying, that when the deductible for MD visits is equal to or greater than that for Chiropractors, people will have little financial incentive to stick with the MD and can seek out alternate care that they feel will cure them. I guess it also goes to say that if primary care is covered the insured/uninsured can use that care as well, instead of less expensive or possibly unsuitable alternate care. I use Chiros as does my wife (insured) for treatment we feel is more appropriate to our condition. Our Chiro charges $30 per visit… Read more »

Benefits Pro
Guest
Benefits Pro

This loss had next to nothing to do with the consumerism movement. UHC said they lost business customers, not individual customers. That means that employers made the move on behalf of their employees. The employees (the ultimate consumer) are not in the driver seat in the current employer based model. They really are at the mercy of their employer for the plan they are in. They can complain and have an indirect effect but they really don’t vote with their feet. Also, when it is considered that UHC has over 20 million insureds a loss of 315,000 is hardly earth… Read more »

Michael P Kane, DC
Guest

It is a trend, Peter. A pretty strong one too. Those of us actually treating patients will attest to it. Patients in droves are ignoring the arbitrary and profit driven restrictions placed on them by their carriers and are accessing care through out-of-pocket means based almost solely on the quality, type and level of service they recieve by their provider. This is probably not reflected in the wonky studies because most of their data is culled from the carriers. A full third of my patients pay out of pocket and many of them have insurance, but choose not to use… Read more »

Peter
Guest
Peter

“we recognize that this is a health system that needs to work for everyone, not just for us.” “The company also said its employees will be given incentives for quality and patient advocacy first, and productivity second.” I wonder when/if BCBS will have this sort of visionary realization? Most of the article references doctors, so how many of the 315K “customers” they lost were docs and how many were patients? And were those patients part of group plans or individual plans? Don’t get too excited Michael, unless the “Amen” was truly god sent, I doubt we’ll see much of a… Read more »

jd
Guest
jd

Rob,
315K leaving in a year out of several (8?) million is big, but still well under 10%. Not everyone has a practical alternative to leave their employer-sponsored insurance, but some do. Larger employers often offer multiple insurers to choose from, so employees can switch at open enrollment. Also, some people can join their spouse’s insurance if they don’t like their own.

John Irvine
Guest

I think the appropriate response is: hmmmm ….
I’m not sure that I’ve ever heard a company blame it’s own customer service to quite this extent in a statement before. Let alone an insurer!

Rob
Guest
Rob

Interesting. Every time I’ve tried to find out the exclusions in an employer’s health plan, I’ve been told by HR that I’m not allowed to see that. It’s none of my business. It’s not policy. It’s confidential.
And it’s not like I can change plans.
So I’m not sure what you mean by that.
But. Maybe that’s changing.

BER
Guest

Hooray! It’s about time consumers start to become informed health care consumers. The reasons for our high medical costs in the US are many, but lack of active consumerism by those who utilize health care services is part of the equation.

stem cells bank
Guest

Very interesting post.

Michael P. Kane DC
Guest

Amen!