Obamacare

Outsourcing Your Health Insurance Paperwork

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Tax preparation is a $140 billion industry, yet a surprising number of tax transactions still take place on dead tree. In a little more than a month most of us will be waiting by the mailbox for a bunch of paper W-2s and 1099s to come limping in. And the first day on a new job still involves most people arbitrarily guessing how many deductions to claim and then signing and submitting a piece of paper with that number written on it.

I pay my bills online, I buy groceries and Christmas presents online, I communicate online, I view pictures and video online. But along with taxes, there is another area of life that has remained surprisingly dead-tree bound, and it is—not coincidentally, I'm sure—also an areas where I find myself staring at forms that I have no idea how to deal with: Health insurance.

I'm sure I am paying more than I should on almost every medical transaction, simply because spending the time to exploit loopholes, fill out the proper forms, query totals and payment schedules doesn't seem worth it.

Today from Tyler Cowen, a link to a firm that I'm surprised isn't part of a larger, more widely used industry: Outsourcing health insurance paperwork. OffYourDesk.com promises to "handle every aspect of your health insurance claims, so you get the maximum reimbursement you deserve quickly, easily and pain-free." Neat.

Watch for this industry to go though the traditional lifecycle of firms that are bound up in processing government-relevant paperwork: Profusion, scandal, regulation and licensing, cost increases, permanence.

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  1. When my mother was sick with cancer, my father spent a good ten to fifteen hours a week doing nothing but healthcare paperwork and bills. The insurance companies and medicare trolls would constantly fuck things up. They would double bill. They would pay for something and then later claim that the payment was not allowed and demand their money back. You name. My father is a retired manager with a 150 IQ and a type A+++ personality and all the time in the world to fight with these people. And it still almost drove him mad. Someone who was older and had declining mental faculties or just didn’t have the time, organizational skills or bulldog mentality that my father has, would have been totally fucked. Even if you have insurance, when you get seriously ill, prepare to enter a bureaucratic nightmare.

  2. And libertartians are always saying that the government doesn’t create jobs…

    😛

    1. Jobs like these are the result of reduced productivity and economic loss in other areas, and thus no net gain in employment.

      1. You know what 😛 means, right?

  3. How much will their fees increase as Obamacare kicks in?

  4. Since my current deductible is so fucking high, I just tell the billing people to charge me “self pay” and fuck the insurance. It’s cheaper and is less paper work – unless they fuck something up. Fortunately, I can still use my HSA to pay for their services. I would like to see the rules for HSAs thrown out. It is an awesome idea but requires you to pay for a shitty policy.

  5. Actually, the IRS announced they’re not mailing out the 1040s anymore starting this year. I received a small postcard in the mail about it a month or two ago, and I’m guessing everyone else did as well.

  6. I predict that If this industry starts moving, the government will vice-tax it. If it keeps moving, they’ll regulate it. And if it stops moving, they’ll subsidize it. [HT, Ron Ron]

  7. Most of the IRS forms are available for download in PDF, the exceptions are the employer forms with magentic ink. I end up printing them out because I don’t want to pay for software.

    Many employers have substitute W-2 forms available online and in any case you aren’t required to wait for the forms to file your return as long as you can compute your tax.

    The witholding form has fairly clear instructions.

    I 100% self-insure and not only do I not have to do medical paperwork, I haven’t purchased any medical services in more than seven years.

  8. No alt-text on the picture?… in a KMW post!!?? Are you punishing us because we didn’t shell out enough in the pledge drive?

    My day, ruined.

  9. Good insights on outsourcing health insurance

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