Wednesday, November 3, 2021

An Open Letter to the Medical Insurance Industry

Dear Medical Insurance Folks,

Do you guys remember a couple years ago when I took all three of our boys in for their annual “wellness visits?” Those visits that are supposed to be free under your plan in an attempt to make us think that you care about us getting regular check-ups and staying healthy?

Remember when the doctor noticed a wart on Son Number Two’s foot and offered to freeze it off real quick? I was there, so I remember. He grabbed a spray can of freon (or something else really cold) out of the cabinet on the wall and sprayed the wart. The entire process, including asking if he wanted it done, took less than fifteen seconds.

Do you guys remember that the visit then became a “surgery” in your insanely whacked out system, and you charged me $450 for his free annual wellness visit, instead of the customary zero dollars?

Yeah, that was fun. Good times.

I thought your system was broken back then, but Monday you proved to me that I hadn’t seen anything yet.

Monday was annual wellness visit day, and their doctor confirmed medically what my wife and I had suspected – their feet are huge! He was also able to confirm that Son Number One has a very mild case of regular old teenage acne. While he was checking him out, he wrote him a prescription for some acne cream that is a little stronger than the over-the-counter stuff, hoping to just completely clear him up.

When he examined Son Number Two, he noted that he had an even milder case of teenage acne than his older brother, but asked me if I wanted him to prescribe the same thing.

“Sure,” I said, naively, not believing that even your malfunctioning system could screw something as simple as this up. Ha! I went to the pharmacy later that day to get my dose of reality slapped across my face.

“I have two prescriptions to pick up for my sons. They are both the same thing.”

“OK, yes, we have them right here. This one will be $10, and this one is $147.53.”

I am not making this up.


“Yeah, that’s weird,” said the pharmacist, frowning at the computer screen. “They are the same exact thing. What happened there? Do you have individual deductibles?”

“Yes, but neither of them have racked anything up this year. We haven’t been to the doctor at all.”

“Weird! Let me run it again… nope, came up the same.”

“OK, well, I think I’ll just take the $10 one and they can just share.”

The nice pharmacist promised that she would keep looking into why the prices were so whacked out, but she hasn’t gotten back to me yet. Do you know why I think that is? Because she can’t figure out your insane system either.

Two boys on the exact same insurance plan get prescribed the exact same medicine on the exact same office visit, and Son Number One’s bill is $10, and Number Two’s is $150. How on God’s green earth can you look me in the eye and tell me this system is working?

The only possible explanation I can come up with is you think the acne cream is some sort of follow-up treatment for his wart “surgery.”

Your system is completely and utterly broken.

I’d ask you to fix it, but I have a strong hunch that “broken” is exactly the way you want it.

Kindly bite me,



Copyright © 2021 Marc Schmatjen


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