Q. What does HMO stand for?
A. This is actually a variation of the phrase, 'Hey, Moe!' Its roots go back to a concept pioneered by Dr. Moe Howard of "The Three Stoogies " who discovered that a patient could be made to forget about the pain in his foot if he was poked hard enough in the eyes.

Q. I just joined an HMO. How difficult will it be to choose the doctor I want?
A. Just slightly more difficult than choosing your parents. Your insurer will provide you with a book listing all the doctors who were participating in the plan. These doctors basically fall into two categories those who are no longer accepting new patients, and those who will see you but are no longer part of the plan. But don't worry, the remaining doctor who is stillin the plan and accepting new patients has an office just a half-day's drive away and that diploma from a small Caribbean Island is very fresh.

Q. Do all diagnostic procedures require pre-certification?
A. No. Only those you need.

Q. What are preexisting conditions?
A. This is a term used by the grammatically challenged when they want to talk about existing conditions. Unfortunately, we appear to be pre-stuck with 'pre and now' meaning the same.

Q. Can I get coverage for my preexisting conditions?
A. Certainly, as long as they don't require any treatment.

Q. What happens if I want to try alternative forms of medicine?
A. You'll need to find alternative forms of payment.

Q. My pharmacy plan only covers generic drugs, but I need the name brand. I tried the generic medication, but it gave me a stomach ache. What should I do?
A. Poke yourself in the eye.

Q. What if I'm away from home and I get sick?
A. You really shouldn't do that.

Q. I think I need to see a specialist, but my doctor insists he can handle my problem. Can a general practitioner really perform a heart transplant right in his office?
A. Hard to say, but considering that all you're risking is the $10 CO-payment, there is no harm giving him a shot at it.

Q. Will health care be any different in the next century?
A. No. But if you call right now, you might get an appointment by then.