A large part of the American healthcare industry has an integrity problem. Okay, don’t choke on your coffee.
What integrity problem? Well, while I respect and am often inspired by the frontline professionals committed to taking care of sick and injured people, the industry is largely controlled and managed by huge, faceless—and many times heartless—insurance companies. If you see the messaging spewed forth on various media platforms, most of these companies talk a big game about how much they care for people yet when push comes to shove, they fight those very people when it might mean the company will be inconvenienced.
For example, I have an acquaintance who unfortunately got a cancer diagnosis. They asked their doctor about proton therapy—a newer treatment that shows great promise without the challenges of chemo and other, more traditional treatments. The doctor said it would possibly be a great option and supported seeing a specialist who would be a better judge. However, when the insurance provider was brought into the picture, they said they did not cover it. Why? Well, like most new therapies, it is expensive, more expensive than traditional treatments which, of course, is a problem for the insurance provider. The challenge for my friend, however, is that the less-expensive treatments carry the regrettable promise of a much longer treatment time and more suffering -suffering that is largely unnecessary given the new treatment.
This gets to the crux of my issue. If the health insurance provider was really interested in the care of the patient, wouldn’t the treatment that shows the best chance of giving the patient a better life be what they support? Sounds logical, but it would seem they are more interested in profit than people, that’s the unfortunate truth.
(Sidebar: Of course, we can argue about the insurance company’s need to make money and that they service a large patient pool, however, if the insurance company CEO and other senior execs who make 10s or 100s of millions of dollars in salary were compensated more reasonably, and the bureaucracy needed to keep things confusing so the profits keep coming was made to be more efficient, that largesse could be funneled back into caring for patients so that these profit-vs.-people decisions would not be so prevalent, but I digress. End of rant…sorry.)
So, what is my point? Look at your business. Is it talking a big game about taking care of customers and then walking away whenever inconvenience comes along? Is your business hiding behind policies, rules, or profit margins instead of standing up, having some integrity, and doing the right thing even if it means losing a little?
What price integrity? It’s a great question for not only health insurance companies but maybe even you and your company.
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