My Story: Medical Care for Less
My husband is an executive in health care management and has a pretty comprehensive and objective view of the health care system. In our own family, we are self-insured with a high-deductible medical savings account which has negotiated rates with health care providers in our area. We see several benefits to this plan:
- We are not captive to a PPO, HMO or indemnity plan that dictates who our providers will be.
- We are able to negotiate charges on our own both within and outside the 'network'...because we are paying cash upfront as opposed to submitting to a slow-paying insurance co; many providers have reduced fees as much as 50% because we are standing there with checkbook in hand.
- We have complete control over our health information since no large insurance company is keeping records on us.
- We are proactive consumers of healthcare, fully understanding procedures, charges, and what we get for our money. We do not agree to any procedure, test, or 'standard charges' until we have done research. We have a full understanding of what we spend each year on healthcare, and strive to reduce or control that amount through research, price shopping, using nurse practicioners for most care, practicing excellent daily habits (good nutrition, exercise, and moderation).
Downside: We must be able to meet our own deductible ($5,000)...that means we are savers! This only works for the frugal, proactive consumer who is not afraid to treat healthcare as another service that should be high quality and customer-satisfaction driven.
Doctors are just people, not gods.....they are in business to make an income and care about the bottom line just as any of us should. Americans have convinced themselves that healthcare is something that should be taken care of for them.....it isn't so. Unless (or until) we have national health care, it behooves each of us to become involved consumers...even if the insurance company is paying the bills. Ultimately, we ALL pay the bills.
"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money please send it to MyStory@stretcher.com