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Ouch!!! $119.00 for a Doctor’s Visit

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Normally whenever I start feeling sick, I take lots of vitamin C and drink green tea with honey. Usually, that knocks out whatever I was coming down with and I start feeling better.

Not this time.

As you know, I’ve been fighting something and it was time to get some help from a doctor. There is one place in the area open on Saturdays, so I gave them a call. Then they asked the dreaded question:

“What insurance do you have?”

My reply, “I do not have insurance.”

Their reply, “Oh. Hold on.”

I wait for a few minutes, fearing that because I don’t have health insurance they’ll decide not to see me. She returns to the phone.

“The doctor will see you today if you can pay today.”

I say, “That’s not a problem if you take credit.”

Yes, they took all the major credit cards so I was in luck.

Normally I do not complain that I do not have health insurance until I saw how much that bill was!! I couldn’t believe that the cost of a less than 10 minute visit (would have been less than 5 if I didn’t ask questions of the doctor) was that high. I guess since I don’t go to doctor’s very often I hadn’t realized how high the price had become. The last I remember, a doctor’s visit was around $50.00.

What did I end up having? A viral infection that has been going around as well as a serious ear infection in my left ear with my right ear not far behind. My hearing right now is greatly impaired and everything is very muffled. Drug given – penicillin which thankfully is very cheap. But the doctor hesitated before he wrote the prescription and asked if I had health insurance. My pills ended up costing $8.95 for 30 of them.

Which leads me to wonder…

Am I getting less care and/or less potent drugs because I do not have health insurance?

or…

Am I getting better & more simple care because the pull of drug companies and making more money isn’t coming into play?

It makes me wonder.


5 Comments

  • Reply Gay Finance Blogger |

    In exchange for my monthly premium for my Consumer Driven Health Care Plan (CDHP), my employer provides my partner and I $1,500 to spend as we choose on any health care expense. Once that $1,500 is gone, the next $1,500 is entirely mine to shoulder. After $3,000 is spent, insurance and I split the difference 25%/75%. Any funds that are left over from the original $1,500 are mine to roll-over to the next year.

    This type of plan, I beleive, makes me a better health care shopper, and maes sure I know the cost/benefit of the care I am getting.

    I think by asking questions as you did and taking the inexpensive generic, you not only saved yourself some cash, but better understand the illness you have.

    On an aside, if you worry about having a catastrophic illness costing many thousands, Sams Club offers some high deductible plans for healthy young people starting around $25-30 per month. It may be worth considering. One serious problem could set back all the hard work you have accomploshed “blogging away debt”

    Good luck.

  • Reply Tricia |

    Thank you for the info on the Sam’s Club program. As I was talking with the doctor, he told me there is a local program for low cost health insurance for families that I may qualify for. So I will be calling soon to inquire about that.

    Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  • Reply paul |

    Tricia,
    This is in reference to your June 2006 doctor visit.

    I have to wonder about these things… Ask yourself how much you’d pay to have your water heater fixed by a plumber (who hasn’t spent 8-12 years in expensive education beyond high school)… a 15 min visit at my mom’s home was nearly $200. How much does a lawyer charge for a 30min phone call? Mine charged $125…. Why is spending on something as important as your health seen by you as highway robbery?

    Just curious,…also, the real issue is that insurance companies LIMIT doctors from using more modern drugs so that they dont have to pay for them… Your doctor doesn’t make any more or less depending on what drug he/she prescribes. My guess is that he/she wants you to stay healthy (i.e. out of the clinic) and will give you what they feel is the best medication…he/she is likely overworked and though you may be exceedingly charming, they would gladly see less of you. Therefore, I must say you’re not seeing the whole picture…In addition, that money pays for the person who answers the phone, the nurse who takes your vital signs, the administrative tasks (filing your medical record, etc), and the guy cleaning the rooms…

    (I am glad your visit related to the miscarriage was more satisfying, however.)

    Paul Heinzelmann, MD

  • Reply Tricia |

    Paul – thanks for stopping by and offering a doctor’s perspective.

    I don’t feel that I said anything about highway robbery. Rather, the last time I paid for a doctor’s visit it was around $50. There was some sticker stock when the price of a visit more than doubled. I’d respond in the same fashion for anyone that provided me a service.

    At the time I wrote this, I was uninsured (I now am). When a doctor hesitates and asks if you have insurance before prescribing something – that makes you wonder why there was hesitation. I don’t know if he wanted to prescribe something different…but if he did, I would like to have been able to make the final decision if cost was indeed a factor.

    But, to be honest with you Paul, I have been burned by a doctor and that does create some negativity on my part (it wasn’t the one I saw with this particular visit). However, the visit I had with my miscarriage restored some faith.

So, what do you think ?