Touria Prayag's Blog

Gaming the system? 13 February 2014

Posted in Uncategorized by touriaprayag on January 23, 2015

The mercantile spirit seems to have seeped so
deep into our country’s pores that we have
begun accepting it as part of our lives, allowing
it to eat into our well-being. Worse, we at times
actively participate in it.
The polemic surrounding the doctors and
insurance companies is a case in point. It is
not our intention to paint all professionals with
the same brush. However, some of our doctors
were perhaps absent when their colleagues
took the Hippocratic Oath and we all know
what the odds are on them one day having an
attack of conscience. And lawyers are no better.
When you go to see a lawyer – which usually
happens in times of distress – his/her main
concern seems to be the number of digits on
your cheque rather than your complaint or
alleged offence. At times, some lawyers even
ask you if you need a receipt before they decide
how much to charge you. Read: a receipt costs
15% more. VAT wasn’t introduced by lawyers
so you can’t expect them to be responsible for
it. Also, if the Mauritius Revenue Authority
has to scrape a piece of your lawyer’s fees, it
has to come out of your own pocket.
Now with the doctors, the polemic is even
more saddening as we go to them when our
health is failing us or even when our lives are
at stake. And it is normally the agony in which
this takes place that some of our doctors thrive
on to make of their profession a lucrative and
unethical business. Some of the clinics may
be party to the business but so are we as
patients. Those of us who accept that the
doctor charges more when we are insured than
if we were not. Those of us who do not care
what the bill of the clinic looks like as long as
we are not forking anything out of our pockets.
And those of us who do not sanction the
doctors who are reputed for having turned into
business practitioners should all plead guilty.
Many of us are too shortsighted to realise that
whatever we are signing for comes out of our
pockets directly or indirectly. Insurance
companies are not a charity – oh far from it!
So, if we have been encouraging the practice
of doctors who dig deep into our insurance
companies’ coffers, we have indirectly been
working towards increasing our own insurance
premium and that of our compatriots.
Insurance companies have a list of 13 clinics and
over 100 doctors – general practitioners and
specialists in all fi elds from paediatrics to
dentistry – on their approved list of doctors and
private hospitals. These – we presume – are
doctors and clinics that are prepared to play the
game of honesty and transparency by having
their fees regulated. As patients, we might
perhaps benefi t by encouraging them. As for the
doctors threatening not to accept insurance cards
as payment, they had better begin by explaining
to us why they are not on that list. Whether their
fees are paid in cash – without a receipt at times
– or through our insurance, they still come out
of our pockets. So, the doctors are not fi ghting
the insurance companies; they are fi ghting us
– the ones directly or indirectly footing the bill!
weekly@lasentinelle.mu

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