As we start the New Year we are faced with the reality that healthcare rates continue to rise and the employers who just received their renewal rates for health premiums are increasing their deductibles and coinsurance for their employees. Gone are the days when employees had a $100 to $200 deductible with coinsurance ranging from $750 to $1,500. Today individual deductibles are at $500 to $1,000 (and even higher) with coinsurance at the $3,000 to $10,000 range. This is the new reality.
With this new reality, patients are going to have to be fully engaged in the pricing discussion with their provider. No longer is the discussion centered on should a certain treatment or medication be received. It now includes “what are you going to charge me for this service?” and “can I afford this treatment?”
Just walking in a plopping down an insurance ID card with a simple $10 copay for office visit has gone the way of Leisure Suits and 8-track tape players.
In the January 8th, edition of the New York Times there is an interesting article on how to negotiate with a provider for care. We will be seeing more of these articles in the coming months and employers will need to start arming their employees with tools and solutions to help them navigate the new reality. We offer such tools through our ConsumerScope web tool and iPhone application, and many more tools will be implemented in the coming months.
This country's current system of every provider being in a Preferred Provider Network (PPO) while rate increases keep going up by 20-40% per year is not sustainable. The “New Reality” is here. New solutions and ideas will need to be implemented or the system that will likely occur is one few will enjoy. Have you negotiated for care?
A Talk With the Doctor May Help Patients Afford Care: