Medicare: Government Does It Right

I recently had occasion to go through two years of my 84-year-old mom's medical and insurance statements, to be sure that everything was kosher and that insurers were, in fact, paying all the bills they were supposed to be paying.

You've undoubtedly attempted similar, so you can imagine that it was a daunting task–trying to cross-reference all the providers' bills against the insurance statements.

All I can say is, thank god for Medicare.

The bills and statements from private providers and private insurers were nightmarish–mostly just dollar amounts (often lacking dates of service) attached to cryptic codes–often providers' internal codes unrelated to standard practice codes. If I'd been relying on these private statements alone, it would have taken me at least week to sort through all the statements–searching the web to track down those codes, and spending hours on hold with all the providers and insurers.

Happily, the Medicare statements made it easy. They are clear, well-laid out, and fully informative (in plain English)–exactly the kind of statements I insisted on when I was running a company. I was able to cross-check all the private statements against the Medicare statements to figure out what those private statements were actually referring to, then determine if private insurers had covered their share.

Thanks to the Medicare statements, I got the job done in a few hours.

Then, this fall it was time to choose a Medicare drug plan for my mom. Guess what? Medicare has the best insurance comparison engine, hands-down, anywhere on the web. You enter the prescriptions you currently take or expect to take, and it throws up an easily apprehensible list of insurers, sorted by your total costs per year and including quality ratings for the insurers. You click deeper for details on each, compare them, or jump to their sites for more info.

No private entity is offering anything even approaching this site. Market incentives?

So when somebody tells you that you can't trust governent to do anything right…well, you won't convince them because it's a faith-based belief…but you can take comfort in knowing that they're just plain wrong.

  1. December 15th, 2008 at 21:03 | #1

    Excellent, as always.
    While true dogmatists of anti-government bias won’t change their minds, those on the edge – who are, perhaps, greater in number – may benefit much from this post.
    Thanks for the evidence.
    Perhaps you’ve seen the article by Jane Bryant Quinn that draws a similar conclusion. http://masbury.wordpress.com/2007/08/26/jane-bryant-quinn-yes-we-can-all-be-insured/

  1. November 29th, 2012 at 09:35 | #1
  2. November 29th, 2012 at 09:56 | #2