Doctors Don't Understand the Cost of Healthcare
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  1. #1
    Registered User jettsmom's Avatar
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    Default Doctors Don't Understand the Cost of Healthcare

    I went to see the Gastro doctor (NP) yesterday since I was having some issues. I have Crohns. I got chewed out for not going in more often. That I needed to be seen every 6 months to monitor my condition. It's about $180 each time I go in. I have a high deductible plan. Then she ordered 14 pages of tests about 2 tests per page. I came home researched the costs and almost $1000 worth of tests and then back to the office for the results. I know I need some of these tests, but my PCP does them when I go in yearly for refills and at that point the tests are considered routine, so the insurance pays them. These were not routine tests being ordered. I got no refills, no meds, nothing. And she wasn't even a doctor. We do have an HSA that we use for medical things, but I felt all these tests were a bit much. I'm having issues and I have to wait two weeks for the test results before she'll prescribe anything. Sorry, I might end up in the ER by then. I'm actually feeling a bit better and things are calming down, but I was so irritated by her attitude.

    I made an appointment with a new PCP since mine retired. On the site it says he deals with chronic diseases, so I'm really hoping he will take care of me like my old doctor. He was so good. My insurance pays for one routine visit each year plus routine labs. I'm glad the insurance will at least do that, since it's required to be seen my a doctor to get your prescriptions refilled.

    I was just so irritated by this woman. I'm looking for a new GI doctor too, haven't ever really been happy there. Maybe the new PCP will have a suggestion.

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    Hugs and good luck with the new Dr.

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    Jett- I feel your pain. My doc ordered many tests as well. And wants to see me every 2 weeks... I ended up hitting my deductible fast and then onward to the co-insurance and out of pocket max. I got the bill for my last bloodwork a month ago. I paid a percentage of the $568 bill.... I'm now going today for more bloodwork and again in a month. My bloodwork bill usually totals $1000 or more!! I get blood drawn 4x/year or more!! The bill for the recent surgery will hit my out of pocket max. And the worst of it all is that I take home $12,000/yr and my out of pocket is $6350. Plus deductible. Plus premium. My cost for meds is $2000/yr. My doc went concierge and I pay $1200/yr to have him. Adding all of this up, my entire paycheck goes to all medical bills and pharmacy bills this year....

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    Registered User josantoro's Avatar
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    I agree, any time a doc prescribes a pill, ask them if they know how much it costs. Most have no idea, or a lowball idea. I think every doctor should A - know how much it costs, and B- ask the patient, "Will this cost be a hardship for you?" How many patients are non-compliant because of cost and never tell the doctor. Not good healthcare.

    And tests - they so often order a bunch of tests just because. There should be a reason for each test. If it comes back a certain way, will the treatment plan be changed? If not, why are we doing the test? Idle curiousity?

    We are very fortunate in that the large medical center/hospital/doctors offices here has a charity care plan, and will reduce your bill if you are low income. The doctors work for the MC so their bills are included.
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    Registered User Contrary Housewife's Avatar
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    The cost of pills can vary so much, it's crazy. Depends on what insurance you have. I have seen hundreds of dollars in price difference in my meds from different sources. Or our yearly plan will change slightly and pills that cost me $60 per month suddenly become $2, or pills that were $75 become $350. I don't get it. I don't know how anyone can keep up with the price of everything across multiple insurance companies and plans.

    The tests...I don't know what you're being tested for, but a blood test is usually a series of tests, white blood cells, red blood cells, blood glucose, electrolyte levels, liver function, inflammatory levels, etc. Each has a cost, all together they provide a picture of your health. It's like a puzzle, you can't see the big picture with just one piece, you need a bunch of them to get an idea of it. But yeah, if cost is an issue DO ask which ones are really necessary.
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    DH feels that my doc wants to see me too often and orders too many tests too often. I have the same tests run every 3 mths and sometimes a few more are added. I have chronic illness and take meds for them. I have turned down meds like statins as my plaque in my arteries was a "4" in one and zero in the rest. I had the test for that and although my cholesterol my be 220, I don't want any more meds.

    Doc told me that he gets financially penalized by insurance if I do not meet 3 requirements. I do not meet 2 of 3. But since I pay him $1200/yr in addition to what my insurance pays, he says he can afford the penalty. One of them is a mammogram, which I don't feel is necessary. I don't know why insurance can't let doctors practice their medicine. They rule over the doctors and tell patients what meds they can have or must pay out of pocket for. The list of meds on the express scripts that aren't covered anymore has grown and my meds are on it. I've had to write appeal letters to have insurance cover it. My doc has written letters but the insurance didn't care and said they wouldn't cover it.

    I must cover my own medical/pharmacy costs as DH pays house bills and certainly can't afford my medical stuff. So, I work to just pay for this. Once doc gets my bloodwork from today, he will call me to come in and see the results. I just saw him a month ago. I wish I could get the results from insurance first. Doc said last month that my bloodwork is good except for one thing.... So, we keep visiting to tweak this or that to get this one thing into normal range. It's getting hard on me, really. Financially and mentally.

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    Gah. Sorry to hear about your frustrations, rujerro.

    My Dr. has been ordering blood tests for me recently but at least she has called to give me the results, rather than have me come in. Then again, I only recently been going to the Dr. on a regular basis. I haven't done that in the past because most of the time I haven't had regular insurance to cover it. (The downside of working as a temp or for small companies.) So most of the blood work is to get a basic baseline. This last round of blood tests was just for thyroid and not for a whole range. Right now, we're looking to get that dealt with to see how that affects my BP and cholesterol (and weight). If the BP goes down when the weight does (and it seems to be heading in that direction), I will likely be able to get off the BP meds.

    I regularly get the generic versions, even when I worked for a pharma company, because the prices were lower. I realize that brand name drugs are based on the amount of money needed for R&D, though.

    One good thing is, I seem to be losing weight with doing regular exercise - mostly walking - so here's hoping the thyroid meds help with that as well.

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    Registered User Contrary Housewife's Avatar
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    I have chronic, incurable conditions, too, so I understand the desire to not want any more tests or medications. My choices are not broad. I get quarterly tests, a test with each infusion (8 weeks apart) plus annual tests by my primary. I feel like a sieve at times. But my health can --and has -- changed dramatically in a very short period of time, so I put up with it. And my ins pays 100% of a normal mammogram, so I get one every 2 years, which is the current recommendation. I've got 2 friends who just finished chemo treatments, and one who passed away several years ago, and breast cancer in the family, skipping them is not an option for me.

    I don't know if if is possible for you, but when I wanted to see my test results I asked the lab for them. They used to mail a copy to me along with one to the doctor, but now they are all online and I can see them by logging in to the hospital site.
    Stop trying to organize all of your family’s crap. If organization worked for you, you’d have rocked it by now. It’s time to ditch stuff and de-crapify your world.

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    Contrary- Oh yes. I get my lab results online. However, it's not until a week after doc gets them. By then, I've already seen him and he gives me a copy. You know, he said he would call me when the results come in and schedule my visit. But maybe I can just ask if I can be emailed the copy and then see if I need to come in? I guess it's worth a shot.

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    Registered User RABBIT's Avatar
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    I worry and stress so much over this topic. Since 10 years ago we have to pay for our own health ins. Last year with paying our premiums, medical bills and dental bills it cost us 48% of our income. This year with DH having shoulder surgery it probably will be about the same although he was off for 2 months with no pay. I need to see a specialist but just can not afford to this year, have to wait till next year, we are still paying off dh's medical bills.

    For those of you paying high prescription costs, it pays to look into Good RX. When we pick up a prescription we check if it's cheaper through our ins. or Good RX. Most of the time it's cheaper through our ins. but sometimes we use it.
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    Rabbit- I hear you loud and clear. I ran a quick calculation and I totaled up the cost of surgery, pharmacy and concierge fee for this year and came up with 54% of my net income going towards medical bills.

    Now, I'm just guessing my out-of-pocket costs at $4000 for surgery, but my max is $6350. If the surgery hits that, then my total cost is 74% of my net income.

    I'm basically working to pay for my medical problems and meds. DH can't help pay as he pays to keep the house going and doesn't have anything left over.

    I was talking with a colleague about how I really need the $ and am thinking about going into management again. That means 40+ hours/wk. He said that since I've had health issues this year, I should just focus on my health and forget working all those hours. Yes, in theory, that would be ideal. I'm not sure, however, if I can keep this up. I mean, I have chronic issues that will never go away and auto-immune problems beget more auto-immune problems. So, as I get older, I have accepted the fact that more surgeries lie ahead. I just worry about affording it all. Or going without. I put off this surgery as long as possible but once the diagnosis of osteoporosis and kidney calcification came in, I had no choice but to get surgery.

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