The delays caused by getting and using health insurance are resulting in wide reaching consequences. Although, not all patients or providers might be able to experience these consequences during their daily interactions. However, during our research, we found some astounding insurance delays numbers that seriously need to be reconsidered by everyone involved in healthcare, really we mean everyone, from the president to the country doctor.
Doctors, Doctors Everywhere… But Not A One In Network
Finding a doctor is hard, even when you have no restrictions or insurance delays. Finding someone you are comfortable telling your most intimate and embarrassing medical secrets to is almost a Herculean task. Finding that same doctor within your insurance network can be a downright nightmare.
Americans spend, on average, 9 hours researching their insurance before they purchase. Moreover, it takes them approximately 6 visits before they finally declare a provider “their doctor”. With the average visit time, that is an average of 21 hours.
Insurance Delays & Getting the Time
A recent study found that the average time to make an appointment with a provider was 23 minutes. If Americans spend as much time, and make just 6 appointments every year, that is over 2 hours a year. Those with chronic conditions that must be seen monthly spend 4 hours. Patients with very serious conditions that require weekly visits will spend 20 hours a year JUST making appointments.
Waiting Room Woes
During an average standard visit to your doctor, you spend approximately 2 hours from start to finish. Of that time, only 10 to 20 minutes is actually spent with the doctor and the majority of that wait time is spent in the waiting room after your actual appointment time.
While it is often easy to blame your doctor for chronic lateness, the truth is that insurance is more likely the cause of this wait. Because of the co-pay, high deductibles, out of pocket costs and co-insurance cost, many of your fellow patients will only make an appointment for ailments they consider serious. However, once they are in the doctor’s office they will bring up an average of 6 other complaints that they want to address since they have to make the payment anyway.
This forces the doctor to make a choice between making everyone else late or ignoring what might be serious symptoms. Any good doctor always makes the choice to treat the patient and takes on the added stress of annoyed patients as the day goes on and the insurance delay goes longer.
Emergency Room Risks
Due to climbing deductibles, many patients are consciously making the decision to allow their ailments to reach emergency level instead of making regular doctors visits. This practice has led to 4 to 6-hour insurance delays and waits in emergency rooms for less serious conditions. Even some life-threatening illnesses have waits of an hour or more.
Moreover, according to an ABC news story, emergency rooms are so overcrowded in some places, deaths have actually occurred in the waiting room. This is because of the time it takes to see patients, deal with insurance issues, and move critical patients to more appropriate parts of the hospital.
An HBI World
Health Beyond Insurance wants to create a world where co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles do not create situations that put people at risk of worse ailments or even death. Insurance delays cause long waits and high costs and are a distressing symptom of a broken system that will never change so long as it keeps making money for those that perpetuate the system.
We have set up our system to combat these long waits and high costs. Our healthcare portal is completely free, to self-pay patients and providers. The search engine makes it easier than ever to find a doctor that specializes in your needs, without restrictions of any kind. A private, safe & secure patient-provider messaging system offered on HBI portal is as easy to use as email while still ensuring complete privacy and security between the patients and providers.