I was checking out this article in Vox Magazine, its about a family who was charged $25,000 for an MRI from her local hospital in California, where comparable procedures cost just over a thousand dollars. The article goes on to address the cost for the same procedure in other countries where patients would pay about 75% less. It should be immediately obvious how important healthcare cost comparison is.
As a society we’ve become pretty comfortable with the notion of comparing costs for things that we’re going to buy. When is the last time that you bought a car, or even a book without shopping around on google? Probably almost never. Well healthcare should be no different. Comparing healthcare costs is a must. We have a number of articles (here and here) talking about why you should care about your healthcare cost and how to reduce it. But let’s use this article to narrow in on some cost comparison websites. I want you to be able really put this stuff into action.(more…)
One of the greatest tools available in the healthcare world is the Flex account, or FSA (Flexible Spending Account). Essentially a tax-free account for your health expenses, you can contribute money to it each year and use it to pay for most health expenses (again, tax free). It’s not one of those premium accounts that is reserved for the finest medical plans, available to only the wealthy. No, it’s available to anybody and everybody. And that’s exactly who should take advantage, because who likes paying taxes?(more…)
Do you feel like you have access to cheap medication? Let’s talk about medications and prescriptions. A lot of people need prescriptions pretty regularly. I mean a serious amount. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) estimates that about 50% of Americans have used a medication in the past 30 days alone. That’s a seriously significant chunk of people that visit the pharmacy. So let’s think about how many of us shop around for our prescriptions. I’m going to guess a very very slim margin are going to give any thought to price. Certainly not before filling the prescription at the pharmacy.(more…)
As we’ve looked at in the past, a lot of companies have transitioned to a high deductible health plan. We know that it’s a smart move if you want improve employee healthcare and help to keep costs sustainable. But is it enough to let them figure it out for themselves? Is it enough to hand them the keys to your multi-million dollar plan and expect for them to arrive safely every time? You know where I’m going with this one – no, it’s not.(more…)
Telemedecine is something that we’re constantly talking about. Not because it’s the end-all be-all of healthcare, or because it can replace your doctor, but because it’s simply underutilized. Telemedicine can remove a ton of the roadblocks and challenges that people experience that often prevent them from seeing the doctor in a timely manner. Things like having to get time off work or waiting to get your children in after school are pretty much non-existent.
It is often said that the relationship between the doctor and the patient is the foundation of the American medical system. Consider your typical Americana small town circa 1950’s. One stoplight on Main Street, everybody knows everybody, and high school football is the main attraction. You know what I mean. In this scenario, I can tell you exactly who the 3 most important people in town are. The mayor, the priest, and the doctor. Why? Because these are the people that are the most trusted and are the cornerstone figures in people’s lives.
They say that the best things in life are free. And when it comes to healthcare, that’s no exception. If you haven’t heard, preventive care is free – as in, covered by your insurance. And since we’ve already used one adage, let’s use another: There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Well this time there is. Preventive care really is free, because your insurance company doesn’t want you to get sicker and have extortionately high claims. Makes sense, right? In terms of healthcare, what’s good for your insurance company is often good for you – not being sick. As always, it’s good to check with your insurance company before you get anything done to make sure that everything is within your network and is specifically covered.
Think about your health insurance for a moment. Would you be able to tell me exactly where your insurance ends and your actual healthcare begins? Believe it or not (and you may be a part of this group,) most Americans don’t really understand the difference between healthcare and health insurance. Most people would group them together and assume that it’s all part of one big package. Let’s take a look at why the two can be confusingly intertwined:
Believe it or not, one of our biggest hurdles in making impactful change is getting people to understand why they should care about their healthcare and about their care process. Realistically, we know what our goals are: save money and get better care. This is the case for both those paying for (employers and individuals) and those receiving (the patients) the care. The issue at hand is this: most people don’t want to engage. And you know what? That’s ok, and it’s not their fault. Healthcare is complicated and, frankly, not designed with the user in mind. And we shouldn’t feel unprepared just because we aren’t a doctor ourselves.(more…)