Robert wrote:Josh wrote:$350k salaries? No human being needs to make that much money, especially if they want to pretend they are "helping people".
They make those amounts because there is little competition. I can get an MRI off site of a hospital for the same price as an x-ray at a hospital. The more we ask for prices and seek out better deals, the more the market will adjust. We do not need government to do that. We have to take responsibility and do it. Don't go to the doctor thinking they know it all and you have to do what they say. Have a conversation. Ask for less expensive treatment options. They know their industry. A good doctor will jump right in and help you keep costs down. One that doesn't, well find a better doctor.
Robert, I worked as a consultant in the field of care management & payor systems for years, and frankly you don't know what you're talking about, and I do. There used to be some flexibility to shop around for better prices. These days, there is quite little, particularly for uninsured patients. Most providers will not even tell an uninsured patient what the cost is of a procedure upfront.
This is less true in an area heavy with plain people who has providers who cater to cash payments, but most people don't live in such areas. I can think of a few provider networks who will not provide upfront pricing at all in my area at all. If you are below the poverty line, some of them will allow you to pay Medicare's prices plus a percentage (around 20% I think), and the state of Ohio has an assistance programme or Medicaid eligibility for very poor people, but that doesn't apply for a single person once you make over $12,000 a year, which is not exactly "wealthy".
One provider network here (which operates the largest ER) will not, under any circumstance, let a cash pay patient pay UCR. Their financial counselling office offers two options: try to get Medicaid to pay for it, or else they actually have a referral service to bankruptcy petition filers. They also have a staff of in house attorneys and they sue uninsured patients at the six-month mark like clockwork.
As far as "find a better doctor", it's challenging to even find a doctor taking new patients, particularly if you want to shop on price.
We were self pay for over 10 years and always found a way to get treatment and the things we needed. We were fortune not to have major medical expenses, but my wife had a chronic illness all that time. I knew we had the odds on our side. Things can happen, but the odds that a major issue develops are less then the odds that it would not. We had faith that God would help us through whatever we faced, and were never disappointed.
So what do you do when something happens and you need to go to the ER? Tell the ambulance driver, "Hold on, make sure you take me to the place with the cheapest appendectomies!"?