Thursday, June 05, 2008

My Wish For Today

No doctor's appointments. If you can imagine, we've had 4 doctor's visits so far this week! Two for Morgan, one for Ryan, one for me. Only my appointment was previously scheduled.

Not to mention, we're about to set a family record for the number of prescriptions filled in a week. All of Brendan's are due, which is always fun, but the rest of us all got some fun drugs, too! Nothing like dropping zillions of dollars at the local pharmacy.

And you know something? We get better service at the veterinarian's office. I like our pediatrician practice--the doctors are friendly, competent, well-reputed. They have not fussed at us (too much) about delaying certain vaccinations. They are up on the latest medical research, and have been very responsive to any concerns we may have had. The front office staff leave a bit to be desired on the customer service end of things, but I don't mind that too much usually.


It takes forever to get an appointment. And they can't (won't?) tell you how much appointments cost ahead of time, or treatments, or labs, or anything. Our vet presents me with a list of recommended tests, complete with actual prices, for me to look over before anything is done. Nobody at the pediatrician's (or allergist's or endocrinologist's or Urgent Care) can tell me how much an Intermediate Office Visit (Established Patient) is. I asked two people at the peds office, each of whom said, "Well, your insurance will pay for it anyway--all you need to know is your co-pay."

Nuh-uh. We have individual health coverage because Brendan has the nerve to be self-employed and thus we do not have employer-subsidized coverage. Our deductibles are $10,000 EACH. I am so not kidding. We each have $1,000 pharmacy deductibles, too. I'm not complaining--we chose this plan and it works for us. But the long and short of it is that we pay for most of our medical care, you know, with our money. So prices are important to me. And it's frustrating not to be able to get them before I commit to something.

Not that I wouldn't bring my kids in when they're sick. I just wanna know how much it's going to cost me, that's all. I really don't think it's too much to ask.

So I hope we can make it without any more unscheduled doctor's visits this week, although I do have a nice feeling of making good progress toward those deductibles. It's satisfying, in a perverted way.


Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

Hi, Jenn,

The reason they can't tell you what an office visit costs is because it costs differently depending on who you are and what insurance you have. Mind boggling I know, but this is the mess that the insurance industry has made for themselves and us with managed care (where insurance companies actually practice medicine).

In many places around the country, Insurance-Free clinics are popping up. They do exactly what the Vet does and give you an itemized estimate of costs that are the same for everybody. And those costs are generally lower because they do not need the excessive staff to take care of filing insurance. You get your bill and receipt and you file your own insurance.

It sounds like you do this anyway, so this is the kind of service for you!

Hooray for the free market!
Unfortunately, large corporations sometimes get pretty lazy in the competition arena, and they will try to regulate the up-and-coming and more efficient medical clinics out of existence. Why compete when you can regulate?

Mark my words.

Monica said...

"So prices are important to me. And it's frustrating not to be able to get them before I commit to something."

I agree -- a huge pain in the arse. I've experienced similar problems. Thankfully, one of my old doctors used to give a 20% for paying that day, in cash.