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November 19, 2003 01:18 AM
Broken: HMO customer service
David Pogue, in a recent New York Times e-mail column, talked about a broken process that I've long suspected: HMOs deliberately slowing down paperwork to encourage people not to pursue getting their reimbursements:
...she would submit the proper forms for payment to the H.M.O. After a couple of months, she'd get back -- nothing. As we learned later, H.M.O.'s have figured out that a certain percentage of doctors never follow up; for the H.M.O., that's pure profit.Then, on November 6, David Pogue published some reader mail - several readers sent horror stories of their own.
P.S. For international readers, HMO stands for "health maintenance organization," a company that manages healthcare, and costs, for customers. In the U.S. they have a reputation for caring more about cutting costs, and making a profit, than the health of their customers.
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