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Doctor Curmudgeon®: Patient Entitlementiasis with Insurance

Doctor Curmudgeon®: Patient Entitlementiasis with Insurance
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Doctor Curmudgeon®

Doctor Curmudgeon® is a physician-satirist and often hides behind Diane Batshaw Eisman, M.D. FAAFP, a writer/physician.  This column originally appeared on SERMO, the leading global social network for doctors – the virtual doctors’ lounge and the home of medical crowdsourcing.


Doctor Curmudgeon® (click to view)

Doctor Curmudgeon®

Doctor Curmudgeon® is a physician-satirist and often hides behind Diane Batshaw Eisman, M.D. FAAFP, a writer/physician.  This column originally appeared on SERMO, the leading global social network for doctors – the virtual doctors’ lounge and the home of medical crowdsourcing.

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"I do remember my parents having insurance and I remember them paying what the insurance did not cover. It was so simple then."
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By Doctor Curmudgeon®

This week, the old Curmudgeon had a mental bloppo.

I seemed to remember that great gentleman, Ben Franklin, saying something about insurance not meant to cover every penny of everything. After fruitless hours of searching, I could not find that quote.

I did know that, in addition to being one of our Founding Fathers, he was the Father of mutual insurance.

I was hoping that, being a certified curmudgeon, I could channel him on that point, but he must have been busy as there was a huge waiting line.  I did meet a few other curmudgeons, but that’s for another column

Serendipity is an interesting muse because in the course of searching, I found an unrelated quote, which I feel compelled to post here:

 

“No man’s life, liberty or fortune is safe while our legislature is in session”

 

My door was partially open.  As I sat in my office, getting chocolate crumbs on my keyboard, I heard goings-on at the front desk.

Assistant (a smile and gentleness in her voice):  “Ms. Difficult, your co pay is twenty dollars.  Would you prefer to pay by cash or credit card?

Patient (with no smile and no gentleness in her voice):  “What? Twenty dollars?  I thought my insurance paid for everything?  I don’t have time for this.  I’m catching a plane for my vacation.”

There are many, many, many who believe that insurance must cover everything.  But, to insure is to cover against catastrophe, not every single dime or penny or pence or ha’penny.

Where did we lose this concept?

I do remember my parents having insurance and I remember them paying what the insurance did not cover.  It was so simple then.

If they were short of cash, they could always discuss this with the hospital or physician and make arrangements to pay it off and, quite often, get a decrease in the amount owed.

And along with that old fashioned concept of what insurance is meant to be, there are precepts that have disappeared:

 Don’t expect something for nothing.

 Take responsibility.

Have respect for others.

Honor those who have done their best for you.

We seem to live in the age of “Entitlementiasis.” (I do not recall where I first heard this; it is not original with the old Curmudgeon

The generation of “gimme, gimme” has metamorphosed into the age of “Entitlementiasis.”

And, I am sorely grieved by this.  As, I believe, dear old Ben Franklin would be, if I could only channel the man.

 

Doctor Curmudgeon® is a physician-satirist and often hides behind Diane Batshaw Eisman, M.D. FAAFP, a writer/physician.  This column originally appeared on SERMO, the leading global social network for doctors – the virtual doctors’ lounge and the home of medical crowdsourcing.

7 Comments

  1. I’d venture to guess there are certain docs who’d still take a fresh chicken or a few dozen eggs as part of the patient’s co-payment.

    Reply
  2. It is unbelievable the way entitlement has taken hold in healthcare! Good column,
    Dr C & good focus on an important difficult issue. Insurance companies have contributed to this–raising premiums while decreasing payment to healthcare professionals. How fortunate we are to practice medicine between entitled patients and greedy insurance companies. Is this where we take heed of “Physician, heal thyself”? Anyone have an efficacious protocol?

    Reply
  3. I absolutely agree–and this “entitlementitus” has permeated many aspects of our culture in addition to attitudes toward healthcare.

    Reply
  4. Insurance is supposed to protect you when you fall off your motorcycle. If you want insurance to pay for every dollar, you are going to have to pay a monster premium.

    Reply
  5. What ever happened to the phrase, “You get what you pay for!”

    It’s amazing to me that people want the “top” Dr’s…. But then argue a co payment.

    Keep up the great work- you are appreciated by many.

    Reply
    • Yes, Bonnie, people often cannot understand that a doctor is paid for his/her time

      Reply
  6. You are so right! The world is full of people who believe that “entitlements” are their right. As you stated…it has expanded beyond insurance to includes other concepts. No one takes responsibility for their own actions – why should they…it is easier to blame it on someone else! The masses do expect something for nothing and they are not even grateful when they get it! They complain that it does not meet their unrealistic expectations….Being polite, respectful and honoring those who do the best for you have become outdated modes of behavior. I think I too would like to channel Ben Franklin…he might be an extinct dinosaur …and he might have founded the concept of mutual insurance…but I do not believe he ever perceived how our changing society would take it for granted. Sad.

    Reply

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