Frequently Asked Questions about HMOs (AKA Medicine Canadian style) with
thanks to the Easy Rider.

Q. What does HMO stand for? 

A. This is actually a variation of the phrase, "Hey, Moe!". It's roots
go back to a concept pioneered by Doctor Moe Howard, who discovered that
a patient could be made to forget about the pain in his foot if he was
poked hard enough in the eyes. Modern practice replaces the physical
finger poke with hi-tech equivalents such as voice mail the referral
slips, but the result remains the same. 

Q. Do all diagnostic procedures require pre-certification? 

A. No. Only those you need. 

Q. I just joined an HMO. How difficult will it be to choose the doctor I
want? 

A. Just slightly more difficult than choosing your parents. Your insurer
will provide you with a book listing all the doctors who were
participating in the plan at the time the information was gathered.
These doctors basically fall into two categories: those who are no
longer accepting new patients, and those who will see you but are no
longer part of the plan. But don't worry; the remaining doctor who is
still in the plan and accepting new patients has an office just a half
day's drive away!

Q. What are pre-existing conditions? 

A. This is a term used by the grammatically challenged when they want to
talk about existing conditions. Unfortunately, we appear to be pre-stuck
with it.

Q. Well, can I get coverage for my pre-existing conditions? 

A. Certainly, as long as they don't require any treatment. 

Q. What happens if I want to try alternative forms of medicine? 

A. You'll need to find alternative forms of payment. 

Q. My pharmacy plan only covers generic drugs, but I need the name
brand. I tried the generic medication, but it gave me a stomach ache.
What should I do? 

A. Poke yourself in the eye. 

Q. I have an 80/20 plan with a $200 deductible and a $2,000 yearly cap.
My insurer reimbursed the doctor for my out-patient surgery, but I'd
already paid my bill. What should I do? 

A. You have two choices. Your doctor can sign the reimbursement check
over to you, or you can ask him to invest the money for you in one of
those great offers that only doctors and dentists hear about, like
windmill farms or frog hatcheries. 

Q. What should I do if I get sick while traveling? 

A. Try sitting in a different part of the bus. 

Q. No, I mean what if I'm away from home and I get sick? 

A. You really shouldn't do that. You'll have a hard time seeing your
primary care physician. It's best to wait until you return, and then get
sick. 

Q. I think I need to see a specialist, but my doctor insists he can
handle my problem. Can a general practitioner really perform a heart
transplant right in his office?

A. Hard to say, but considering that all you're risking is the $10
co-payment, there's no harm giving him a shot at it. 

Q. What accounts for the largest portion of health care costs? 

A. Doctors trying to recoup their investment losses, like windmill farms
or frog hatcheries. 

Q. Will health care be any different in the next century? 

A. No, but if you call right now, you might get an appointment by then. 

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