We consumers of medical care aren’t the only ones who have been short changed by major U.S. health insurers. According to an AP story in today’s NY Times , physicians have been cheated out of fees they earned for treating patients insured through such companies, which include Cigna and Aetna.
This has prompted the American Medical Association to join several other state medical associations in suing the health insureres “over a database…that was rigged to underpay doctors on out-of-network claims for more than a decade,” according to the AP.
The report notes that UnitedHealth has already paid $350 million in a separate suit involving the A.M.A.
So, let’s recap. Major U.S. health insurance companies cheat the people they insure, and cheat the physicians they employ to treat their insureds. Is there anyone left for them to swindle? Could this have contributed to the healthcare “crisis” in our country? Will the Obama team scrutinize this sleazy industry to the same degree they are scrutinizing Wall Street? At this time when the new administration is evaluating how to improve and reform healthcare, let’s hope that the health insurers’ fraudulent practices, which hurt both the consumers of healthcare and the providers of it, receive a prompt and careful look.