By Bill Peckham
Blogging has been slow lately; if it wasn't for Peter DSEN would have been real quiet since the raft trip in July. I'm just busy or tired ... and sometimes I just feel like it's all been said. Thus, why not just repost form DSEN's early days. Maybe that'll kick start some fresh writing.
As I read through the DSEN archives looking for inspiration I'm going to repost articles from the blog's early days. The days before it had many visitors and Anna and I were first mezmorized by the recent visitor map. Before DSEN was ever linked to outside of links (often ones I posted) from the CKD discussion boards
This post is from February 2008. Happily the link still works (that probably isn't always true). I've edited HTML as is my wont but I left the numbers unchanged so think 2008 (that being the case AB feel free to edit):
The Taipei Times reports that holiday dialysis reimbursement procedures have been tightened in Chinese Taipei.
Payment for health services is capped at ... NT$4,100 for dialysis, the bureau [of the National Heath Insurance] said.
4,100 New Taiwanese dollars at todays exchange rate would be a bit over $127US.
A couple things strike me about this.One, I would not be surprised if ethnic Chinese from Chinese Taipei get a break on treatment charges when they visit the People's Republic of China even if the countries are at odds politically. So the $127 could be intended to fully reimburse ( while I'm sure visitors from the West are charged western prices).
Two, $127US is about what Medicare actually pays per treatment (+/- due to case mix, geographic wage adjustment & remembering Medicare pays 80% of the allowed charges). So while an American dialyzor with Medicare as their insurer gets zero reimbursement for dialysis costs incurred outside the US (and outside of Medicare certified clinics), dialyzors in the Republic of China receive $127 if they have the original receipts.
$127 would not go far in today's dialysis world unless it was towards a subsidized treatment but $127 would help and Medicare doesn't save money if the dialyzor just stays home and vacations in the US. How many more dialyzors would take a dreamed of trip if they had just a little help from their insurer? And how many countries could be persuaded to accept the Medicare stipend instead of their full retail rate?
You never know unless you ask - has anyone ever asked?
If only the United States had the political space to address this issue.