...Of infinity. I had to add the "Part I" because this is in no way a comprehensive discussion-it is more of a starting place. I don't even pretend to know all the intricate workings of health insurance companies and if I did I wouldn't attempt to type them up one-handed on my iPod while 20 pounds of handsome sleeps on my writing arm.
I read an article this morning about a hospital in California bringing down its rate of cesarean sections due to pressure from an insurance company. (While c-sections are a life-saving option for some mothers and/or children, they are also more dangerous, more expensive and more difficult to recover from. Limiting c-sections to those women who truly need them benefits moms, babies, doctors, hospitals, insurance companies...we'll just go whole-hog here and say it is good for everybody.)
Well there may be a few lucky ducks who haven't been to a doctor's office or pharmacy or dentist or hospital in the last few years but the rest of us are all pretty aware just how much say insurance companies have on the care you receive. (While they can't tell you exactly what to do, they all use the power of the dollar to "guide" your decisions.)
Sounds like a bad thing, right? Not necessarily. The insurance company in this article actually used that power to IMPROVE patient care while reducing costs. This is why I loved the article--it illustrates how insurance companies and healthcare providers can work together for the greater good while still respecting the bottom line.
Our healthcare system may not be great but it is getting better. We all just need a little bit of patients.
(Did you see what I did there? He he.)