The alternative seems to be no payer.
The report linked below focuses on a man whose artificial leg was approved in advance, but whose insurance company is stalling payment of about a third of the bill. The whole thing is about three webpages long and is worth the five minutes it takes to read; it’s a wonderful tale of buck passing, blame shifting, and delay.
If UNC has not invented the Carolina Four-Corner, the health insurance companies would have.
A nugget (emphasis added):
In Delaware, 111 complaints were filed from the beginning of last year through the end of last month for delays in payments by insurance companies. Like nearly every other state, Delaware has prompt payment regulations that require insurers to pay within 30 calendar days. But three insurers who do business in Delaware were found to have a pattern of payment delays that resulted in significant fines.
Dan Emmer of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey said the outstanding fee in Fine’s case was due to internal processing errors — although the company’s customer service representatives told Fine that the delay was due to the charge being a “high dollar amount.”
“We apologize to Mr. Fine for this delay and, as our records indicate, that he had to contact us 10 times about this matter and it has still not been resolved,” the company said in a statement. “It will be resolved as soon as possible.”