When I dislocated my pinkie finger nearly three years ago, I had a little taste of the American Healthcare System. It was gross. A teammate walked me from Central Park to the emergency room at Mount Sinai–St. Luke’s Hospital. There, the attending physician…
- ordered a sets of x-rays to determine whether my finger was broken. It was not.
- yanked my finger back into place, which immediately straightened the digit and made it stop looking purple.
- ordered another set of x-rays to make sure he didn’t break anything. He didn’t.
- bandaged my cut.
- administered an intravenous antibiotic to prevent any infection due to my open wound.
- prescribed an oral antibiotic for even more protection against infection.
The bill for this treatment was over $6,000.
Once my health insurance reviewed the charges, the hospital immediately reduced the bill to about $2,500. (Imagine if I didn’t have healthcare insurance. Thanks, Obama!) The insurance covered most of it, and I was stuck with the co-pay and the deductible, which amounted to about $600. I eventually paid the bill over time through a hospital collection service’s website. I remember the website looking atrociously dated, but it was at least functional enough that I could save a few postage stamps and pay with my AMEX card.
Earlier today, I was helping a relative pay for an ambulance bill, and the website for paying the ambulance bill demonstrated to me that the hospital collection industry is due for an upstart competitor to enter this field. As of today, their website has four critical problems:
First, go to
myambulancepayments.com/. Did you get a 404 error page? I did.
Silly, me! I neglected to prepend
www to the URL. I should do that because this website predates the convention of not requiring
www to connect to a website. I think that has been standard practice since about 1998.
Second, there’s a warning from Safari that my connection to the website is not secure.
It appears that their SSL certificate expired a few days ago, on February 5, 2016. Did they forget to pay their certificate authority? Ironic, isn’t?
I know what you’re thinking: “who uses Safari?” Perhaps I should fall in line and use Chrome.
Oh, my! That Chrome-generated error page looks even more alarmist that the Safari error page.
Third, though I’m advanced enough to recognize the risks and not enter any personal information, such as my name, address, or credit card information, I proceeded to site.
But, wait… why am I here in the first place???
Fourth, in my Safari installation, which doesn’t have Flash installed and doesn’t load any such content, I noticed some missing Flash content and a plea to install it.
Since Chrome still supports Flash, though maybe not for long, I see that the all-important Flash content is some propagandastic animation, reminding you that you should pay up because they saved your life.
Get in and pay up, or else…