HMO pays bill on time



Chester and Marlene Anderson were stunned last week to receive notification from their local quick care that bills incurred following their child’s bicycling accident had been paid promptly and in full by the Anderson’s health maintenance organization.

“When I saw the quick care’s return address on the envelope, I just assumed it was the first past due notice,” said Marlene Anderson. “After all, the accident only happened five weeks ago.

“When I opened it up and saw that it was stamped ‘paid’ my jaw dropped to the floor.”

“You could have knocked me over with a feather,” added Chester Anderson. “I’ve heard a lot of things about HMOs. But I’ve never heard of one paying for health care on time, and without an argument.”

The prompt settlement of the bill came as no less a surprise to officials with Financial Health Care, Inc., the HMO that has been receiving $400 from the Andersons every month for the last three years.

“We’re investigating the Anderson case, and hope to determine exactly what happened here,” said Seymour Proffitt with Financial Health Care’s investor relations department. “Obviously, this isn’t the way we normally do things, and we’re committed to finding out what went wrong.”

News of the health plan’s unusual transaction spread quickly through Wall Street, and some financial analysts downgraded the HMO from “buy” to “what the hell do they think they’re doing.”

Proffit confirmed that top company executives held a hurried conference call with analysts to assure the investment community that the Anderson case does not mark a shift in corporate policy and in no way signals the start of widespread payments to health care providers.

“This payment was an aberration, and we’re not ruling out the possibility of taking legal action against the Andersons to recoup our losses,” Proffitt said. “It’s important that the financial community and our shareholders understand that this HMO is in business to make money, not spend money on health care.”

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