Paying for Care
The enormous cost of health care is an increasingly important issue for our country and for us individually. Even those of us who are fortunate to have good medical insurace are seeing larger co-pays and deductibles. There is finally a national conversation about what we want to afford and what we can afford. It seems to me that the proverbial rubber meets the road whenever we think about one individual's needs. Although many of us might agree that the cost of certain treatments or care is huge and not necessary or even helpful, we might feel quite differently if the patient in question were ourselves or someone whom we love.
This is a good short article from The New York Times; I am including the introduction and then a link. Do read it:
A Talk With the Doctor May Help Patients Afford Care
By WALECIA KONRAD
READERS of this column have been advised more than once to negotiate prices with health care providers for things like an M.R.I. scan, surgery and office visits. With patients paying more out of pocket for their health care than ever before - in the form of higher co-payments and coinsurance, high deductibles and uncovered and out-of-network treatments - negotiating with doctors and other providers has become commonplace.
But how exactly should you approach these nerve-racking discussions? Do you bring it up when you book the appointment? In the examining room? And just what do you say?
Dr. Jeffrey Kullgren, an internist and clinical scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, specializes in research on the impact of consumer-driven health care. Here are his answers, condensed and edited, to some common questions about negotiations with a health care provider.