Simplification Gone Wrong!

I just got back from my yearly physical – mostly blood work – and had the same conversation with the gal at the front desk that I had a few weeks ago at my Neurologists.

I have a new insurance card – it doesn’t show the co-pays.

Some bright boy at my insurance company decided that they would save money by printing up cards that didn’t have the co-pays – because co-pays change – and by doing this they are saving me money. I even got a nice letter with my new card telling what a benifit this would be to me. Now I have Providence insurance, I go to a Providence clinic where everyone is directly employed by… you guessed it Providence. So… how is this saving money?

Think about this for a moment.

  1. The front desk staff must spend time looking up co-pays if they are unknown or the patient doesn’t know.
  2. If staff or patient gets it wrong – think of all the lovely mail that will be generated not billing you until you finally get a bill.

So is this better?

I don’t think so. I think that one department had a Six Sigma moment – they had a directive to simplify and cut costs. I’m sure those cards are expensive when you take all of them into account – but in simplifying one part of the business they’ve increased costs in another.

How often do we get new cards anyway?  

I was getting them once a year – for each reenrollment – and surprise surprise in the three years I’ve been on Providence the co-pay has never changed. New cards are being generated all the time as people change jobs, employers switch providers, individuals change healthcare options, have children, get married, are divorced… there is a constant flux of reasons why this happens – so why not just update the cards when it’s needed? There’s a thought… I would have the same card I had three years ago.  

A decision in a vacuum is never a good decision.

Too often we take a microcosm and think that it is a macrocosm. The card printing department made a decision that affected so many more people. None of us operate in a closed system – what we do, how we run our businesses and our lives impacts the world around us.

I’ve watched – twice now – as millions of dollars and thousands of man hours have been poured into software development that it turned out no one wanted. No one talked to the end user. In this case – the end user is not me. The end user is the person behind the counter who is charging me my co-pay. Did anyone ask them if they felt this was a good idea? That it would save them time and money? I doubt it.

I’ll get off my soapbox now – but let me know if you’ve seen the same thing. The “bright” idea that cost more than it saved or the project in a black box that failed to deliver.

~ Tess


1 Comment

Filed under Health

One response to “Simplification Gone Wrong!

  1. Will

    Leave it to some headquarters weenie to decide how things can be done “better”. Usually, these guys have never seen the life in the real world and have no idea how the company actually operates. All they know is their own little world and althogh they have good intentions, quite often they end disrupting the lives of countless others. Maybe someday the dog will once again wag the tail…

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