However you may feel about the current state of health care and whether the ACA should or should not be modified or replaced, it’s a virtual certainty that you’re paying more for your coverage, and carrying a higher share of your medical costs, than you were just a few years ago. The trend has been towards high-deductible plans where the insured pays virtually all medical costs out of pocket until their deductible is reached. Although these plans are often supplemented by health savings accounts (HSAs), consumers can find themselves paying thousands of dollars in health care costs before their coverage kicks in.
Compounding the difficulty is the fact that doctors and other providers will often prescribe medicine or treatment without any apparent consideration of the financial impact on the patient. Many patients accept their doctors’ advice without a full understanding of what it entails, or what other options might exist.
What can you do? Here are some questions to ask your doctor. You might not use all of them every time, but asking the right ones may uncover other options for your treatment.
- Why is this treatment necessary?
- How much will this treatment cost?
- Is there an alternative treatment that is equally effective but less costly?
- What is the current procedural terminology (CPT) code for this treatment so I can price-shop the procedure?
- What else can I do to improve my condition?
- Why are you suggesting this specific medicine and this specific dosage?
- Is this prescription in my insurer’s approved list (formulary)?
- Is there a generic or over-the-counter (OTC) version of the medicine as an alternative?
Your health is more important than money, of course. But doctors and other providers are often pressed for time and may not consider or explain all the available options. Engaging in a dialogue with these questions as a starting point will increase your chances for an outcome that’s good for both your health and your budget.
Questions about health care coverage? Contact Consolidated Insurance.