Member Feedback: Electronic Health Records Could Prevent

CARP received a call from a senior who was reading in Zoomer Magazine about the current state and future of electonic medical records.

He suggested that now would be a good time to get the government to lean on the insurance companies who offer out of country travel health insurance to seniors.

He said that Seniors fill out a very extensive medical history form before being issued travel insurance, and if they make any errors, or ommissions on that form, Insurance companies have the out not to honour the policy.

He thought that it was too great an obligation to put in the hands of a senior, who more than likely has a very long medical history, and even more likely to forget every occurance in that history.

He cited the example of a friend who spent a night in the hospitial for routine observation after a colonoscopy in Belleviile, when the doctor suggested he stay in the hosptial due to some small bleeding from the proceedure. 9 months later, when he went to Florida, and took out travel health coverage he forgot to answer yes when they form asked if he had stayed over night in a hospital in the last year. Because of that omission, he was stuck with a $35,000 US health bill, for an unrealated illness, after his claim was denied by his travel insurer for omitting the night in the hospital.

He said that since insurance companies can easily access health records when it comes time to check out a claim, and with the increasing availability of electronic medical records, the onus should be on the insurer to pre-approve the senior for coverage, rather than accepting payment for a policy that may or may not be honoured, depending on what the insurer is able to find upon a thorough, almost forensic examination of the claimants medical records vis a vis the application form.

All the more reason to press ahead with electronic health records, instant access to all of one’s medical records could help prevent this type of “gotcha” insurance practice that allows insurance companies to take payment for a claim they won’t honour because of genuine human error.

Keywords: records, seniors, healthcare