Health Insurance and Doctor's Visits - Our Policy
One of the great myths about health care in America is that access to the system depends on getting health insurance. In reality, it is becoming clear that health insurance is not only a hollow benefit but having it may actually lead to worse health care. It is a hollow benefit because due to the rising costs of premiums - most individuals and companies can now only afford policies with high deductibles. Since most health care ‘charges’ are unreasonably high and inflated, those charges are transferred back to patients to pay out of pocket, once the insurance limits its coverage; which is becoming more limited over time.
And, indeed, with doctors focusing on maximizing reimbursements, most office visit time these days is spent performing various medical testing, much of which is completely unnecessary. These tests get done because ‘someone else is paying for them’. That’s the fundamental theme of health insurance and why this dysfunctional system has no truth or transparency. One must question whether most health care services reflect quality when studies get reported that the average time spent face-to-face with doctors during typical office visits is merely 8 minutes.
What makes our office unique is that we have discounted all our offices’ services to reflect reasonable fees that are far cheaper than typical doctor charges. Yet, ironically, they are still better than what most insurances reimburse doctors. As a result, we can maintain low charges and fees for office visits, without the need to sell unnecessary medical testing. Having said that, the typical reaction is, ‘well that’s OK for my primary care doctor, but what if I need to see a specialist or get an MRI, etc.’ The answer is that I have become quite adept over the past 26 years in helping patients navigate through the healthcare maze. Indeed, when we arrange such referrals, we are much more successful at achieving substantial discounts than when patients attempt to find their own way. The only health insurance that might be useful is ‘catastrophic’. However, the real benefit of having a caring and capable primary care internist is the ability to keep one as far away from hospitals and ERs in the first place.
It is clear that the only reason why health insurance companies can generate over $15 billion dollars/year profits, a number that far overshadows middlemen in any other business, is that fear, lack of understanding, and repeated ‘brainwashing’ advertisements keep driving people to believe that it’s all about having health insurance. Yet, far more important for one’s health is having a genuine and capable internist at your disposal. This option is rarely considered, but ought to be the starting point for health. And indeed, we serve as an example of such care that not only reflects the highest quality but is also entirely affordable to the average citizen.