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Harvard Health Blog
Are you getting the most out of your high-deductible health plan?
Robert H. Shmerling, MD,
Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Who gets to negotiate a price when the in-network price has already been negotiated between the provider and the insurance company?
I swear, just READING this was bad for my health. To address the statistics in the bullet list, in order:
* Part of the reason buy high deductible plans is because they are the cheapest; when you’re living paycheck to paycheck of COURSE you can’t save for medical expenses.
* Doctors typically have no notion of how much patients get billed. To some extent that’s because it’s not their job–they want to recommend the best treatment, not the most cost effective one.
* Comparing cost of healthcare providers? I live in a rural area. There are basically two neurologists I could see without driving for hours. That’s assuming you have the luxury of comparing and don’t just need care right away.
* Trying to negotiate the price? LOL, good luck with that. I’ve been told flat out by the head of hospital billing “Look, that’s just how much it costs. We can’t change it.”
Deductibles are out of control but the real problem, which is rarely addressed, is cost (what you get charged). Our diagnostic ultrasound prices are already close to 75% of our hospital competitors. In addition, our ultrasound company in California takes 20% off our prices for cash pay patients who don’t want to use or don’t have insurance. Patients should always call and ask for the cash pay rate if your deductible has not been met yet. Our average diagnostic ultrasound cash rate is $250 and we tell anyone who calls, how about that for low prices and total transparency. Good luck finding a congressperson to talk about lowering the actual prices and cost of healthcare.
Thanks for your article I want to ask, I have bone pain, should I choose which health insurance type? HDHP or insurance that has a high premium?
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