Heal Me, Hurt Me

Dear Mr. Woodiwiss, It has long been the goal of United Humanthema Healthcare to provide plan members with the maximum possible coverage for the lowest possible cost. Toward that end, UHH was firs

Dear Mr. Woodiwiss,

It has long been the goal of United Humanthema Healthcare to provide plan members with the maximum possible coverage for the lowest possible cost. Toward that end, UHH was first to establish the Communal Outpatient Organ Program (CO-OP), an arrangement by which several patients, rather than getting costly individual organ transplants, share a single organ on a rotating/alternating days basis.

Another way we're saving money is by convincing doctors to lower charges for in-office visits and tests, arguing, "If you don't play ball with us on rates, we'll have your balls on a plate." Yet despite our best efforts, the cost of care continues to soar.

Of course, the single biggest factor is the skyrocketing price of pharmaceuticals, with a one-year supply of a typical patented prescription drug now costing twice as much as smoking enough crack to completely forget about your failing health. But the bigger bucks don't stop there.

There's also waste and excess. Like the ordering of exorbitant MRIs to diagnose brain tumors even though the same determination can be made in the doctor's office for a fraction of the cost simply by inserting a long steel needle through the patient's nose, then methodically and thoroughly probing, up-down-left-right, inside the cranium.

Neither can we ignore the ongoing fiscal burden of nurses. Almost universally categorized by doctors as "stupid bitches," these "non-physicians" somehow continue to draw salaries, salaries ultimately and ironically paid by those most likely to suffer at the hands of their stupidity, bitchiness or both: you.

The unfortunate bottom line is this: UHH costs went up 20 percent across the board last year, leaving us no alternative but to raise premiums by an identical one-third margin.

For these and many other reasons, the senior management of UHH has become convinced by shareholders that we must institute several changes effective immediately and applicable to all plan levels and members. The changes are listed below. On the advice of our attorneys, we deeply regret and deny any inconvenience or diminishment of care.

Henceforth, claims will not only require claimants to complete and file all their own paperwork — they must complete and file it on homemade paper.

All amputations shall be reclassified as "elective weight loss" and will be reimbursed at the Wellness Care rate of 50 percent.

Injuries or illnesses involving superfluous, nonessential body parts, organs or glands are no longer covered. This includes but is not limited to: the pinkie finger and pinkie toe, the appendix, spleen, gall bladder, the left one (1) of anything there's two (2) of and up to ten (10) feet of colon.

Certain arcane, wholly irrelevant actions and undisclosed "offenses" committed by plan members at various healthcare "touch-points" (doctors offices, emergency rooms, ambulances, et cetera) may, at the discretion of UHH, result in non-payment of claims and/or cancellation of insurance. Examples: wearing an article of clothing with the logo of an arena football team; reading a book written by an actor; sporting muttonchops; saying "I could care less" instead of "I couldn't care less;" and sardine breath. More than 600 other secret "arcane exclusions" are currently on file and being enforced by UHH.

Should a subscriber expire in the course of a covered procedure, UHH shall have first dibs on whatever is in his wallet/her purse.

Plan participants who identify themselves as evangelical or born-again Christians must first seek medical relief and treatment from Jesus Christ the Savior, to whom they've turned over their lives. In the event of illness or injury, said subscribers will immediately notify their pre-selected, pre-specified PFP (Primary Faith Provider; $20 honorarium co-pay; see enclosed list of in-plan clergy) and shall, for a period of two (2) weeks, four (4) times per day, be required to pray to Jesus to be healed. Should symptoms persist beyond the initial two-week prayer period, beseechment to "take me home, Jesus" should begin, following the same two (2) week, four (4) times/day regimen. After the combined four (4) weeks of prayer, if you are not better or dead, you can't be that sick and should get on with your life.

Schizophrenics and multiple personality sufferers will receive a separate monthly bill for each distinct personality.

Persons with injuries that, upon examination by a paramedic or EMT, elicit a response of "Eww!", "Uh-oh!" or "Dear God!" shall be immediately pronounced dead and their policies revoked.

UHH subscribers who are obese, smoke cigarettes or consume more than two (2) alcoholic drinks per day shall be required to display on their person and their vehicle at all times a UHH-issued sign reading, "I'm the reason your UHH premiums are through the roof."

Please keep this document on file and refer to it as needed. For questions regarding any of the above changes, please feel free to call us at 1-800-NEW-CUTS (1-800-639-2887) and remain on hold until your curiosity expires.

As always, thank you for choosing United Humanthema Healthcare. We're hoping to make you as healthy as you make us.

Benny Prooner

CFO, United Humanthema Healthcare

CONTACT BOB WOODIWISS: bwoodiwiss(at)citybeat.com. His column appears here the last issue of each month. His book, Keys to Uncomfortable Living, a collection of humorous and satirical essays, is in bookstores now.

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