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Unnecessarily complex

One of the biggest fears about Obamacare is that it will make health insurance more bureaucratic. 

I'll leave that debate to others, but let's make one thing clear: Health insurance is already unnecessarily bureaucratic.

Studies have shown that Americans spend billions and billions of dollars each year on health-care bureaucracy.

I learned about that firsthand.

In July, I underwent emergency surgery to correct a problem in my intestines. Before the surgery, of course, I received anesthetics. 

My insurance company agreed to cover the surgery, but not the anesthetics. 

Say what?

I looked at my insurance policy, and it clearly labeled anesthetics as covered. 

So I called the insurance company. After some discussion with a representative, I was put on hold for a while, then was told the company stood by its decision. I called the next week, and a woman told me that the anesthetics should, in fact, be covered. 

A couple of months later, though, I received another statement from the insurance company that itemized the $2,700 cost of the anesthetics. I had to pay it. 

I called the company and was told I had to pay because the person who administered the anesthetics wasn't in-network.

The hospital was in-network, but not this person, apparently. I should have asked the person whether she was in-network, the company's representative told me.

That advice lacked logic. Getting wheeled into the surgery room is one of life's most frightening experiences. Yet, even though I got pre-surgical clearance with my insurance company, I was supposed to have had the wits about me to ask whether the person administering the anesthetics was in-network.

A few days later, I called the insurance company yet again. This time, I was told the anesthetics would be covered. And they were, according to a later insurance statement. 

The insurance company's representatives must have spent at least a couple of hours with me on the phone. What a waste of time and money for our health-care system.

Many doctor's offices have a single person whose sole job is dealing with my objection. Is that an unnecessary expense for society? I think so. 

Wouldn't you rather have the health-care system focus on, you know, health care?

Simplicity could save a lot of money. 

David Giuliani is a news editor for Sauk Valley Media. You can reach him at dgiuliani@saukvalley or 800-798-4085, ext. 525. 

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