After delaying the payment of pre approved claims made in the last quarter of 2012, this insurance giant quietly stiffed those waiting for payment, and implemented it’s own plan to be not only insures, but also the sole vendor for all hearing aid claims made under it’s policies.
Under their new plan, all United insureds with a hearing aid benefit have quietly had that benefit changed, so that the only qualifying vendor is their very own, Health Innovations, the hearing aid supply company that United purchased two years ago in their bid to enter the hearing aid market.
Now, those insured sold a hearing aid benefit are instructed to forward their deductible, along with an audiogram (Which they are told they can get for free from their local hearing aid dispenser.) to Health Innovations, who will then mail the consumer their hearing aids back. Simple as that.
Nevermind that dispensing hearing aids in the state of Florida without a license to do so is a third degree felony. Never mind that, or a total lack of patient contact, or post fitting services are included in this purchase.
With $109 to $110 billion in annual revenue, this legally coddled and protected financial giant simply looked at the hearing aid industry, saw how it was roughly twenty times larger than the entire hearing aid industry combined, and decided that the Golden rule simply means those with the Gold make the rules.
With less than ten months to go before full implementation, is this the level of care we should expect under Obama Care?
When the insurance giants can dictate not only premiums, but covered items, procedures, pay rates, pick the providers, use exclusively their own vendors, and declare unilaterally that the rules of dispensing, practice protocols and licensing acts associated with hearing aid dispensing simply don’t apply to them, what’s the point of licensing or established standards of care?
Clearly, from United’s point of view, none. With their one hundred and ten billion in annual revenue, clearly they’ve got the most gold, so they make the rules, or rather break them as they see fit.
Given that each aid dispensed in this state, when done by an unlicensed, out of state entity constitutes not only a violation of our practice act, but a third degree felony, where are our regulators?
Don’t their activities define the very nature of an ongoing criminal enterprise?
Or, should we conclude that our watchdogs have been turned into lapdogs through the effective provenance of the Insurance industry’s lobbying efforts?
Should we conclude that all of those sections of our practice act being violated by this Health Insurance Giant simply constitute the new normal, where those of us locally are required to cleave to one set of rules and practice standards that then may be totally ignored by the Insurance industry at their sole discretion?
I will not argue that there are things that need changing, nor that some of our regulations have evolved over the years to better protect the licensees than the public. I am all for a redefining and deregulation of our delivery system to better serve both economy and consumer’s needs. Changes are needed to make the hearing aid delivery system more transparent, economical and consumer friendly.
However, to allow a unilateral, de facto elimination of all established and recognized standards of care by a for profit health insurance company, however huge, totally distorts the entire hearing aid marketplace, misleads consumers and strips them of even the barest of care.
That United Health Care, Health-Innovations and their affiliates can so boldly thumb their noses at all of our regulators provides yet another example of my assertion that we do indeed have the very best government that money can buy.
Those with the Gold, simply make their own rules. Or, in this case simply ignore them, dictate benefits, premiums, reimbursement rates etc., and do it all with the blessing of AARP, and under the watchful eyes of all those regulator lapdogs, er ah watchdogs.
Is this the new face of healthcare in America?