A Letter to Healthcare Providers from a Consumer
I don't see my demands as unreasonable. I am merely asking the healthcare sector – a $2.8 trillion industry that consumes nearly 20% of the gross domestic product – to be as accountable and transparent with it products as any other retail industry.
Here's where I get unreasonable: Even if you deliver on transparency, quality, access and price, I may not pay you.
Maybe I am a deadbeat who never had any intention of paying you. It's more likely that I simply can't afford it. A $5,000 deductible might not seem like a lot of money to docs and healthcare executives with six-figure incomes. However, the median income in the United States in 2012 was about $51,000 and the $5,000 deductible that comes out of my pocket represents at least 10% of my gross pay.
I switched to the high-deductible plan for its lower premiums and as protection against a catastrophic illness or injury. I'm rolling the dice on everything else. So we'd better come to some E-Z credit terms on a payment plan. You've already provided the service, which takes away almost all of your leverage and gives me less incentive to pay. If the haggling gets nasty, you can send bill collectors after me, but they'll probably have to wait in line.
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