The state is trying to shut down a New York City doctor's ambitious plan to treat uninsured patients for around $1,000 a year.This doctor recognized an untapped market. He created a service that had significant demand. It was working. Then, the "government" noticed that it infringed on a law used to entice insurance companies to stay in the cesspool known as NY State. Costs are so out of control in the State (as well as injury embellishment and fraud) that insurance companies would do well to leave. However, with fixed rate costs, they were lured to the table.
Dr. John Muney offers his patients everything from mammograms to mole removal at his AMG Medical Group clinics, which operate in all five boroughs.
"I'm trying to help uninsured people here," he said.
His patients agree to pay $79 a month for a year in return for unlimited office visits with a $10 co-pay.
But his plan landed him in the crosshairs of the state Insurance Department, which ordered him to drop his fixed-rate plan - which it claims is equivalent to an insurance policy.
Muney insists it is not insurance because it doesn't cover anything that he can't do in his offices, like complicated surgery. He points out his offices do not operate 24/7 so they can't function like emergency rooms.
"I'm not doing an insurance business," he said. "I'm just providing my services at my place during certain hours."
He says he can afford to charge such a small amount because he doesn't have to process mountains of paperwork and spend hours on billing.
"If they leave me alone, I can serve thousands of patients," he said.
If Doctors, like this one, all of a sudden start providing fixed rate treatment, it negates the enticement to the insurance companies, somewhat. The true fix is to cease all the over regulation and taxing within the state. Tort reform and a revamping of the Workers' Compensation laws wouldn't hurt either. Then, insurance companies would want to stay on their own accord, and Dr. Muney could continue with his practice without some bureaucratic hack making noise from Albany.