Is our Health Insurance System Efficient?

Today health insurance paper work costs doctors on average $83K a year.  That is absurdly large, and seems rather unnecessary.  This cost represents the time and labor it takes for physician’s employees to communicate with insurance companies concerning plans, claims, billing and coverage.

A study published in the journal of Health Affairs was comparing US and Canadian doctors, as well as Canada’s single payer system to the US’s multi-insurance company system.  The problem with the US’s system is that not everyone is speaking the same language; each carrier has different coding, and deals and no one can keep up with them all.

With the new digital systems a common language is created because everyone needs to be able to be placed in the same system.  Today there are third-party entities that come into play showing that insurance claim may not even be at the insurance office. This very much complicates the process.

The published study found that Canadian doctors spend a quarter of the time completing the necessary paper work.  On average an American doctor will spend 21 hours a week dealing with paper work, while a Canadian doctor will only spend 2 hours a week.  One of the main places American’s spend our time is on obtaining authorizations and on billing.  With a single payer system doctors are only filling out one type of paper work.

How will this study affect American’s health insurance system?  Are we being efficient?