Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Get Some Health Insurance

All too often I have patients who come to the office with major health issues and don't have any health insurance. Unfortunately, I need further testing done in order to determine what is really wrong with them. Most hospitals give discounts to patients if they can come up with cash and are quoted a price of up to 60% off. Even with that kind of discount, some tests can run you several hundred dollars.

I have many patients who are seen under our sliding fee program. This helps get them in the door, so to speak, but not much further! Patients will go to the internet to find medical information on WebMD and try to find a picture of different moles and come in for me to remove them.They are often horrified to find out the cost of the lab fees to evaluate a skin sample when I remove a mole. I have had patients beg me to just throw it away because they cannot afford the cost. I explain that I remove something it's because I feel that it's possibly malignant and that I don't do just cosmetic work. I would be liable if it turned out to be cancerous and didn't know whether or not I got the entire area cleared.

It's aggravating when I see people carrying around very expensive "toys" or cigarettes in their pockets and then turn around and say that they cannot afford low cost health insurance. This is really important when you are in the gap right before Medicare age. Too often those patients are the ones that develop diabetes or hypertension and need some testing done.Yes, it can be expensive, but have they really tried to see if it's affordable? I tell them to go to their local library or a friend's house if they don't have internet and research it for themselves. Make better choices and trade out the bad habits like smoking and excessive sweets. Those habits are expensive in their own rights. Over time, you can save some money and who knows maybe stay around to see those grandkids.


  1. We have the same issue in my clinic. Actually, we have been told that we need to see less "self pay" AKA sliding scale fee patients because our payor mix is so bad. I only see medicaid patients, but my partners see adults. We are in the suburbs, and a lot of those uninsured are people who lost their jobs and their insurance. It is really a conundrum! My IM partner has a new leukemic....56 years old, and uninsured.

  2. Anonymous9:52 PM

    These are the times. Do you have any free clinic's in your area? Or those that offer a self pay discount alternative? Insurance can be expensive. Having a nurse practitioner who cares is priceless.

  3. Having no health insurance now-a-days is an unmitigated disaster.With the rising prices of medical treatments everyone should have a basic health insurance.
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  4. Having a health insurance cover in place is indeed essential. You may hate to pay that monthly premium but if you're ever in need of it, you're sure glad it is there.

  5. Hmm, that situation can be disappointing! We shouldn't look at healthcare and insurance as objects of luxury because these are needs that grow in importance over time. In the first place, if we look at these two things as needs, we can afford to set aside some money to avail them.