2017 June

New Healthcare Services

New healthcare services that are user-friendly and cost effective for when you’re in pain.

Judging whether a medical issue is “emergency room worthy” isn’t always easy. A bad tummy ache could be gas or something more urgent such as appendicitis. Your pain level is usually a pretty good indicator of whether it’s something that needs immediate medical attention or a home remedy. If your pain level is off the charts, it’s best to go to your local emergency room and get checked out. It may cost a pretty penny or two but it’s better to be safe than sorry. If your pain level is tolerable, you’ve got some time to triage your situation.

Now there are several new healthcare services available to you that are user-friendly and cost-effective.

Telehealth

Rather than calling your mom for advice or searching the web for answers, you can now chat with a licensed physician on demand via phone, teleconference or a mobile app about your medical issue and get professional advice on what to do next. The cost runs about $50 per appointment and may be covered by your insurance.

If you’re new to working out, a weekend warrior or an athlete, having on demand access to a Sports Medicine physician is not a bad idea. Chances are you will have more aches and pains than the average person. It’s good to know what’s causing the issue and whether it’s something that needs medical attention, modification or just recovery time. Injury prevention is key to improving performance and your health.

Home Visit

Physicians are making house calls again. If you or someone you love has a medical condition that makes it difficult to leave the house than a home visit might be just the ticket. Home health visits for people who are older, handicapped and/or really sick are usually covered by Medicare and/or Medicaid.

Cheer up if you’re too young and healthy to qualify for home health! There are also concierge services offering house calls for anyone feeling too sick to get out of bed [think bad cough or flu] or too busy to squeeze in a check up or annual flu shot. The cost runs about $99 which is about the same as an office visit and may be covered by your insurance.

Urgent Care

Urgent care centers are popping up in every neighborhood and are a great resource to help you rule out more serious medical issues or confirm a potential diagnosis. Rapid tests, exams and x-rays are performed on the spot to help diagnosis contagious things like strep throat and pink eye, evaluate tummy and chest pain and test for and splint broken bones. From there, healthcare professionals will direct you for any needed follow up care. The base cost starts at $250 and goes up with each test, exam, x-ray and/or service performed.

Now you know when and how to use the new healthcare services and roughly how much they will cost. The exact prices depends on who owns and operates the services, geographical location and whether or not discounts are offered by insurers and to patients who pay at time of service.

 

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About the Author: Shannon Smith is a healthcare strategist with over fifteen years of experience helping companies achieve greater success. She is also the founder and CEO of Hello Workout.

Join us on Hello Workout for help covering the weekly minimum requirements for good health, telehealth appointments with Sports Medicine experts and other tips to help you achieve more success in work and life.

Save on Healthcare

Shopping for healthcare takes a little research and know how but there is real money to be saved.

No one likes to pay more than they have to for anything.

Did you know you can buy car parts on Amazon? I didn’t until someone broke one of my tail lights and it looked like an easy DIY [Do It Yourself] project. I was able to find the exact part and as a Prime member got it shipped to me FREE. It was so easy that I couldn’t help but do a little more shopping.

Why am I telling you about shopping for car parts?

No one ever pegged me as someone who would buy car parts or attempt a DIY project on my car. Like many people, I have a trusted relationship with my mechanic and whatever repairs he recommends, I approve and pay him to do.

Similarly many Americans put their full trust in their doctors and approve their recommendations regardless of cost. However, that could change. My DIY project wasn’t as easy as it looked on YouTube. After breaking 3 finger nails and 2 screw drivers, I gave up and made an appointment with my mechanic. While there I decided to have a few more minor repairs done. This time I was speechless when I saw the quote. My mechanic quoted me 4 times [4x] the cost for the parts. How do I know? I remembered seeing the parts on Amazon.

A 4x markup is comparable to the markup routinely charged on high dollar supplies and implants in healthcare. The difference is healthcare consumers only pay a small portion of the marked up cost after the insurance discount and payment. I didn’t say anything to my mechanic at the time, but it made me realize that pricing transparency is a game changer.

Amazon for healthcare

Amazon has already announced plans to start selling prescription drugs. It’s going to take some work before they are ready to fill their first prescription but when they do, it could be a big cost saver for many Americans. There is currently no way to compare the cost of drugs at different pharmacies or covered by different health plans. Amazon could make it as easy as shopping for car parts by providing a marketplace for pharmaceutical companies.

Amazon already sells medical supplies.

Imagine how surprised my mechanic was when I drove into his garage with a trunk filled with parts. I had also purchased new lenses and seals to replace my cloudy headlight covers and was surprised when my mechanic refused to do the work. What I didn’t understand when purchasing the lenses was that changing only the lens would impair the integrity of the light and cause bigger problems later. He recommended a body shop if I absolutely wanted to do it. His refusal to do the repair requested may have been upsetting for some, but for me it spoke to his integrity as a trusted advisor. I returned the lenses and seals.

Can you see that scenario playing out if healthcare consumers start buying their own supplies and implants? Using the Amazon filters to narrow the options that are right for your make and model of car is easy enough but the process is still lacking the intelligence and judgement that you get from a highly trained professional. Let’s try not to imagine a medical DIY project guided by a YouTube video for now.

Amazon-like services available now

Pharmacy:

There are online pharmacies available now. If you do plan to purchase your prescription drugs make sure you buy from one of the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites [VIPPS] otherwise you might not get a quality drug. To save money now, talk with your doctors about generics and bio-similar drugs that can save you money and ensure you get the right medication. You may also be able to qualify for patient assistance from a pharmaceutical company.

Healthcare Services:

There are also web-sites that can give you “fair prices” for healthcare services including surgery. Fair prices are generated from historical claims data collected from participating companies, providers and payers.

Healthcare Bluebook is one of the sites available to consumers FREE and a good place to start your shopping. If you use the site, be sure to enter your Zip Code to get the prices for healthcare services offered near you and click on the Details to learn what’s included in the price. For surgery, the fair price on Healthcare Bluebook includes the fees for the facility [hospital or Ambulatory Surgery Center], surgeon and anesthesiologist plus all the supplies and implants. When the fees of different service providers are included in one price, it’s referred to as a bundle.

If you call a hospital or an ASC for a quote, ask them for a bundled price too. Chances are they have one that could save you money and make it easier for you to get your arms around the total cost and the billing.

Labs:

You can also order many of your own lab tests through HealthcheckUSA.com or Quest Diagnostics to check your cholesterol, diabetes, colon cancer, prostate etc. without a physician order. The rates are comparable to cash rates which are often significantly less than the full price because the labs get their money from you at time of service.

Subscribe for Healthcare Gal posts to get your arms around healthcare in America and/or Follow Healthcare Gal on Facebook.

About the Author: Shannon Smith is a healthcare strategist with over fifteen years of experience helping companies achieve greater success. She is also the founder and CEO of Hello Workout.

Join us on Hello Workout for help covering the weekly minimum requirements for good health, advice from professionals and other tips to help you achieve more success in work and life.

 

 

 

TrumpCare?

Success of TrumpCare depends largely on whether or not Americans have sufficient disposable income to purchase enough insurance and needed healthcare.

As many of you know, the healthcare industry is going through more changes. Americans like the parts of ObamaCare that gave them more protections for pre-existing conditions and extended coverage for their adult children. What they didn’t like was the cost of comprehensive coverage. Some Americans paid more for richer benefits that they may or may not have needed, while others benefitted from subsidized insurance that enabled them to get needed healthcare. Unfortunately, repealing ObamaCare also means repealing the subsidies that were largely funded with new tax dollars [3.8% investment tax] levied on wealthy Americans.

Going forward cost and coverage are the two variables that you need to keep in mind when choosing health insurance. More insurance options that trade off coverage for a lower cost are likely under TrumpCare. Less healthcare coverage is not bad but Americans will need to read the fine print closely to understand what they are buying. In choosing a policy, everyone will need to consider their savings, disposable income and health status.

If you’ve never had health issues, it might be hard to imagine scenarios when you would need healthcare insurance. It’s like purchasing a new car. You don’t expect repair bills beyond scheduled maintenance unless you have an accident. Unfortunately, accidents do happen. Imagine catching your pointy toe shoe in your pant leg and doing a high diving off the curb onto the street. Speaking from experience, there is a good chance that you’ll crack and/or break a bone or two. One accident like that can get you well on your way to meeting your Out-of-Pocket Maximum for the year. As you would expect, the repair bills for your car become more frequent and get bigger each year – same with your healthcare costs. Brand [genetics], mileage [lifestyle] and adherence to scheduled maintenance [check ups] affect the total cost of the annual repair bills.

You will also likely be paying more out-of-pocket for healthcare. To help you pay for health insurance, TrumpCare will likely provide tax credits for health insurance purchased rather than subsidies and help you save for qualified medical expenses by increasing the annual saving limit for healthcare savings accounts [HSA] so that you can save more tax free. To help Americans spend wisely, the cost of healthcare services are becoming more transparent and the billing easier for the average consumer to understand.

Some Americans value paying more for the peace of mind of having richer benefits or what some think of as “prepaid healthcare” while others skimp on coverage choosing a high deductible or catastrophic policy and pay more out of pocket. Whatever you choose to buy is fine as long as it gives you enough insurance coverage. Just don’t buy the cheapest insurance policy and expect it to cover everything. If you do, you might want to sharpen your “Go Fund Me” campaign skills.

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About the Author: Shannon Smith is a healthcare strategist with over fifteen years of experience helping companies achieve greater success. She is also the founder and CEO of Hello Workout.

Join us on Hello Workout for help covering the weekly minimum requirements for good health, advice from professionals and other tips to help you achieve more success in work and life.