I have reached these same conclusions myself when reading about health care costs. A friend thought he might be having a heart attack, so he drove himself to the emergency room at his nearby hospital. Instead of listening to his heart or doing a simple ECG and blood test, for a few hundred dollars, they did the above and charged him $22,000! Yes, that is no typo– TWENTY TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS!
I was in a dentist’s office once and he wanted to charge me $340 for some procedure. When I told him I was paying out of my own pocket, he immediately reduced it to $70.
How many of us shop around for medical care? How many of us question the charges paid by the insurance companies? I have often said that if WE have to pay our medical/dental bills out of our own pockets, then get reimbursed by our insurance companies, then we would be acutely aware of the ridiculous charges and overcharges by health care providers, and this awareness would help restore competitiveness to the industry. But, instead, we do the equivalent of calling a contractor and saying, “I need my kitchen remodeled”, and never asking the price for the job. Well, I don’t know if you readers are rolling in dough, but I have watch my spending, so prices are of paramount importance to me.
My health insurance just changed such that medications are no longer provided. One medication I had been using cost $270. I wasn’t aware of this before, when the insurance paid for this all. I searched online and learned that I could get the SAME exact medication for $89 from an out-of-network pharmacy, and that there was a generic substitute I could use that only cost $19. I had been throwing away $250 each time I ordered the previous medication without questioning it.
I am going to make asking about prices for health care procedures a regular occurrence in my life. This doesn’t mean I have to take the lowest bidder or have a tonsillectomy performed behind someone’s garage, but knowing how much they charge for what empowers us to reduce unnecessary costs. And, it IS OK to ask whether or not each charge is really necessary, before agreeing to it, unless it is an emergency, of course.
No one is going to look after your own interests as well as yourself. Not the government, not the insurance companies, not even your doctors. Take charge of your lives– learn nutrition, learn about costs of medicines and procedures. Question anything that does not make sense to you. Question high prices. Ask about alternatives. Look out for your OWN interests! When we all begin to do that, we will see health care costs dropping. And, one need not limit it to health care– ask the same sorts of questions about home repairs, automobile repairs, prices in general. I once approached a manager at a supermarket and asked him to discount a product if I bought several at once. He did. Just for the asking.
If you have so much money that saving it is not important to you, please send me your excess– I can sure use it and promise to do so efficently.