Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.
Finding out what’s in it: When you go for your annual physical — free under Obamace — the doctor cannot treat you for, or even answer questions about, any new ailments.
We are obligated by law to code specifically for the reason of the visit. An annual exam is one specific code; you can not mix this with another code, say, for rectal bleeding. This annual visit covers the exam and “discussion about the status of previously diagnosed stable conditions.” That’s the exact wording under that code — insurance will not cover any new ailment under that code. If you are here for that annual exam, you will not be covered if you want to discuss any new ailment or unstable condition. I cannot bait and switch to another code — that’s illegal. We, the physicians, are audited all the time and can lose our license for insurance fraud.
You, the patient, will then have to make a decision. Do you want your “free” yearly exam, or do you want to pay for a visit which is coded for a particular, new problem? You can have my “free” exam if you only discuss what Obamacare wants me to discuss.
In other words, this so-called “free annual physical” is a fraud. In fact, in order for it to be free, both the doctor and the patient have to purposely ignore any new problems that might have come up since the last physical. Or the doctor has to cheat and do work for which he will not be paid.
None of this should be surprising. You allow the government to stick its hands into everything you do, those hands are going to go places you never expected or would have permitted. Just ask anyone who has had to go through airport security.