A recent, very-large study has shown that many heart procedures such as stent insertion, angioplasty and heart bypass surgery are unnecessary and can actually cause harm. The study was government-funded and cost approximately $100 million dollars – WOW.
The most interesting part was that “medication only” results were the same as surgery results after several years, without the risk of hospitalization and operation complications. Better and more-effective prescription drugs have probably played a significant role in dramatically improving these outcomes.
A recent lawsuit in the U.S. contends that a “deliberate push for high profits prompted the hospital and doctors to perform inordinate numbers of highly profitable heart procedures, whether they were necessary or not.” At Medipac, we see this regularly – a patient is being prepped for surgery, but the rigorous tests indicate that this is a “bad” medical choice. Our doctors know what is right and what is wrong and we have interesting discussions with U.S. doctors every day.
The cold, hard reality of the travel medical insurance business is that we must protect our clients, especially in some overseas destinations. This is why Medipac employs doctors and nurses. We review all tests and data before proceeding to “put you under the knife,” as they say. The club which we use with these medical practitioners is that we are paying the bill and we will not pay unless surgery is medically necessary. This keeps them in line…most of the time.
When your doctor at bedside says that, in his or her opinion, you require this surgery (any kind, really), you must be cautious. Understand that they will stand to make $50,000 or $100,000 or even $500,000 by performing invasive surgery. The hospital will also make extra money, since you will be forced to stay there for at least a few extra days. You need an advocate! And Medipac is your best choice.
I have occasionally said that it makes no sense to buy travel medical insurance from a bank, or an auto club, or an insurance agent, or a grocery store. (I should perhaps add “website” to that list but you can buy Medipac online, as I am sure you are aware.) The others employ no doctors or even nurses. They may have one or two available on call, as they say, but medical emergencies are NOW things and you need fast answers and fast results. Most of the above entities farm out their assistance services and sometimes even their claim payment services. They may even have trouble finding out whether you are insured or not.
This article is about the language barrier between the many participants in a medical emergency. To be coherent and safe, you need to have our doctor talking to their doctor, not a claims clerk. You need instant access to your policy and coverage and this can take hours with some companies. Your assistance company has to authorize tests and procedures to ensure that they are a benefit of the policy. Who is going to tell them, and when? The CFO of a hospital wants to talk to someone who can authorize those tests and procedures. This can involve moving up the insurance company management ladder several steps. Let’s hope that the insurance company CFO is not at lunch or on vacation! These three entities − the insurance company, the assistance company and the claims payment company − are often in different cities, sometimes in different countries!
There is a language barrier here. There are many different skills involved and I am sure that all of the various employees do the best that they can, but they speak different languages. You need everything in one place with substantial expertise in all of these very specific areas. Only one company provides this and that is Medipac International. One company, doing one thing, working on one totally integrated computer system, in one place, with the best employees in the business. Oh…and six doctors and several high-end trauma and emergency care nurses.
Happy Holidays and we will be working, should you need us.