Shopping with Awareness
Shopping has been a time consuming project on my list these past few weeks. I am working on health related issues and putting new measures into practice with as much awareness as possible. I realize that folks in other countries besides the USA might find this information unnecessary and shocking, but it is what we must contend with here and at this point in time.
In order to comply with my new health insurance policy, I must have certain tests every year. If I do not comply between now and age 65 I will be dropped from my policy and thus not be eligible for Medicare at age 65. (I will still need to purchase a supplemental policy to go along with Medicare and those are not inexpensive either.)
I personally pay $524.00 (US) a month for a major medical policy with a $3,000.00 deductible which requires me to co-pay for each visit. I must see my Physician every year at least one time and I must have a mammogram every year. I pay full price for these services until I have covered the deductible.
There is no coverage for any alternative medical treatment, massage therapy or herbal supplements.
It has taken me 3 months to plan and take care of the first requirements for 2012. I have met and seen my Doctor, had lab work completed, and a mammogram.
Walking into the Doctor’s office cost me $600.00
Getting the lab work completed was $662.00 (My shopping paid off – see below)
And the Mammogram was $366.46
Who can afford all this? Well not many people can find $1,500.00 and there is a tendency for some to just suffer and save the whole deductible for the Emergency Room.
I instead decided to go shopping. I have no choice over the Physicians approved for my policy, so I interviewed several from the approved listed for my $600 and found a nice young woman who was highly recommended and willing to work with me.
Now I went shopping for Mammograms. There are only 2 imaging centers here and they both cost the same. One makes appointments; the other is a drop in center. The next closest center charged the same price but I would have needed to add gas money into the equation making this option too expensive. I chose the place with the appointments and did not have to sit and wait. (This is new because of the Affordable Health Care Act – Insurance companies cannot randomly set the price for required Mammograms any more)
The really big SHOPPING event was center stage. I started interviewing Labs to get estimates on the 3 lab tests that I needed to have. One group charged over $1,000 for one of the tests, the Hospital charged $600 for the same test, an independent Lab group charged $288.00, and the third independent lab group charged $60.00. For the last 2 labs listed, I did all the paperwork.
I chose the last lab. Not because it was the cheapest, but because I found out all the labs use the same facility to process the actual tests and produce the results. Because if I prepaid through my Naturopathic Physician all three of my tests came to a total of $131.00 and she will mail the results to my new Provider Doctor.
Now I will start the same process for getting the cyst removed off my spine. Remember it is $600.00 just to walk into the Doctor’s office. This last shopping experience took me 3 months to work out all the details. But it is good training as my partner is studying the Medicare plans. I can see clearly how they work and how much expense and energy is going to be needed to maintain our health. It is all good and good practice.
I am willing to be aware. One cannot just assume that it is going to work like company or government policies have worked in the past. I have met 3 people who are trying to get back into the work force just this week, because they are overwhelmed by the cost and time this kind of healthcare is taking and none of them have severe health problems. (Medicare does not cover alternative treatments at all)
As Comedian Jack Benny is quoted,“GROWING OLD IS NOT FOR SISSIES!”
Do you keep a copy of your own health records? Are you aware of all the steps necessary and all the places to look to get the best services? Is the Government in your State working for you or against you? When you do not feel well, who will assist you with this kind of shopping?
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