What happens after you are in a car accident and are rushed by ambulance to a hospital for treatment?
There are 80,000 car wrecks each year in Dallas and Tarrant Counties — about 90 every hour — so this happens a lot here.
But the largest health insurance company in Texas, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, recently announced that its HMO members may have to pay for these super expensive ER bills themselves.
If BCBS concludes that the patient’s medical problem was not that serious to justify emergency attention, he or she will be stuck with payments that often exceed $10,000. No criteria or appeal process have been announced.
This draconian new policy begins on June 4th.
How is this fair?
How does someone know when his pain is so serious that it should be immediately treated or whether he should take a chance and just go home? Is he supposed to know enough medicine that he can diagnose himself and determine if he needs diagnostic testing to rule out a brain injury, herniated disc or heart attack?
This recording of a woman who called 911 in France complaining of pain and who soon died of a heart attack after being brushed off by a dispatcher is shocking — and could become the norm.
The new policy will affect 500,000 of the 5,000,000 Texans who have BCBS.
And a lot more of us, once the other health insurance companies start doing this with their HMOs and PPOs.