How to Prepare and Pay for Doctor Visits
Going to the doctor may seem very simple, however we can assure you that its not. Today Leslie and Ryan talk about billing, the actual visit, and how you should be prepared when going to a new doctor for the first time.
Audio Only Version
Set the table:
Doctors visits in the US are more complicated than they need to be, at least the paying for them is which is why we ended up with lots of doctor options. Not exactly a bad thing, options, but not straightforward either.
Segment 1: A little background
The threshold reason US healthcare is a mess: health insurance is tied to employment.
The market is designed for large groups, for example, employees of Mega Corp. Gap fillers, think vets or the unemployed, also designed for large groups.
Causes confusion: in- or out-of-network coverage, transferability if changing jobs
Segment 2: Finding a doc
Get referral and then check if in network, or find a concierge service, or find and out of pocket doc
Call to make the appointment. (Part of your first visit is test driving the office).
Ask about parking and factor that into travel time.
May have lots of med history forms to fill out or may need to transfer from your previous doc. All of this is a one-time pain.
Need to provide insurance info, if applicable.
Ask about payment procedures. If insurance, usually a small co-pay, often paid at checkin.
Segment 3: The appointment and after
The first visit is kind of an interview. A long term relationship is the goal.
Be timely. They may not be, and you might be able to live with that — individual time given to all patients — or it might be a deal breaker.
Be honest and forthcoming. If you don’t tell the doc, they can’t give you fully informed advice. Don’t be put off telling them something because they seem direct. Many docs are a “just the facts, ma’am” sort. Their abruptness is not a sign of disinterest. If they are routinely dismissive of symptoms without explanation, then consider another doc.
Post visit billing. Not usually a problem for routine visits. For non-routine, usually doc submits bill to insurance, and insurance covers a portion after you meet your deductible. You will get billed later, after the insurance coverage does its thing.
The post billing becomes big and confusing with hospital visits.
Its the term for the adults still caring for children at home when their own parents care needs rise. It can be complicated, messy and a little uncomfortable. We are here to help navigate.
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