Guess the copay

19Nov08

Whenever I go to the doctor, there is a fair amount of confusion about the copay due for the services. Often, they’ll just ask me how much it should be, leading me to memorize the more common ones. But memory is an imperfect thing, so sometimes they end up sending me a bill or a credit for the difference. When you aggregate this across millions of patients nationwide, a huge amount of money is being spent sending out bills, just because doctors can’t figure out the proper payment due at the time of service.

Looking back a few years ago, the copays for each service were printed on the back of the member card. I don’t know why they stopped doing that — perhaps people forgot to start carrying the new card when the rates changed. History aside, it seems like having this info out in the open would save everyone time and hassle. Even asking the patient to bring a copy of the plan summary when they go to the doctor would help a lot. As it stands today, the guessing game over copays is a costly nuisance, and I doubt things will change any time soon.



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