Years ago, the doctor was paid directly by his patient. While not a perfect arrangement, it worked very well for doctors and patients. If someone was ill and didn’t have the money to pay, the doctor would help them anyway and receive payment later or not at all. Patients were grateful and if they couldn’t pay, they would probably send other patients who could. Doctors’ incomes didn’t suffer too much and they had great satisfaction in helping their neighbor or a stranger in need. This is still the way it works at my office.
Taking money from an insurance company to treat a patient never seemed right to me. It seems simple and honest for me to receive payment directly from the patients I treat.
Some might object, “but I can’t afford to pay the doctor!” You might be surprised. Let me show you a few reasons why it is better to pay your doctor directly.
First of all, you should actually be a little uneasy when a doctor is paid by a third-party because that means his loyalties will be divided. The cold fact is that the doctor needs to accommodate those who pay him lest he go out of business or find himself unemployed. Therefore the doctor will ultimately do what the insurance company says, and the insurance company requires doctors to do all sorts of irrelevant and wasteful tasks that have nothing to do with your care.
Third parties can also complicate reasonable decisions. Imagine the scenario where a patient might have a simple, straight-forward problem like a tension headache. If they are paying their own bill, they will be relieved when I tell them, “this sounds like a simple tension headache. Try these few things and just let me know how things go. You do not need a lot of tests or an MRI….”
If they have insurance, they are more likely to ask about the “free” MRI “just to be sure”. And the doctor is more likely to order it. Most of the time tests like this are a waste of time and money.
In addition, imagine how much money your doctor actually spends on overhead to deal with insurance! He must purchase computers, software, printers, phone lines and pay for office space and staff in order to manage the insurance company. What a headache. Those costs are passed on to the patient one way or another.
Not using insurance can also make your visit safer. Insurance rules are burdensome and confusing. They can turn a simple encounter into a labyrinth of documentation, approvals, unnecessary testing and other distractions that can cause chaos at your doctor’s office and more mistakes are likely.
Your doctor’s visit should be private. Despite all you hear about HIPAA and patient privacy, the ironic fact is that the records in almost all doctor’s offices and hospitals are anything but private. If you have insurance, your name is attached to a lot of billing and diagnosis codes that can be seen by a lot of bureaucrats who work for your insurance company and the government. Your data is not private unless you come to my office or one like it. I do not send any information about you anywhere unless you tell me to or I am ordered by the courts.
You will be surprised how much farther your dollar will go and how much better your medical care will be when you pay directly. Look here and here for examples.
Have any questions? Just call 770-382-1984 or visit.