By: Elaina George, MD, Peachtree Ear, Nose and Throat Center and TrustDale Medical Expert
Here’s a common problem for consumers - how to get affordable, high quality healthcare. For those with insurance, premiums and out of pocket expenses have continued to rise. But, for those without health insurance or who have high deductibles, it is even more challenging.
People in these situations often go to hospital emergency rooms as their first choice for treatment when they get sick. They can usually expect long wait times, huge costs and in some cases minimal care. However, there are three treatment options that offer a more convenient and economical option while providing quality care.
1. Urgent Care Centers - Many of these centers are staffed by board certified emergency medicine physicians, so you get quality care. Another advantage is their overhead is lower than a hospital ER, so the savings can be passed to the patient.
2. Independent, Private Practice Physician – These practices are not owned by a hospital or healthcare corporation. Typically for an independent doctor’s office, the overhead is lower which means this type of practice is more willing to work with those who don’t have insurance – what’s known as a self-pay patient. You can often negotiate a payment up front that is either a flat fee or it features a sliding scale based on your income level.
3. Independent Diagnostic Centers - If you need radiology tests such as an x-ray or CT scan, try using a diagnostic center that is an independent facility, again, not owned by a hospital. The wait times at these centers are generally shorter and there are lower rates for those without insurance.
Each of these options offers up-front pricing and you can receive quality healthcare. Be sure to tell them you are a self-pay patient when you schedule. You may need to make several phone calls to get the best price, but essentially you’re making it a shoppers market where you ask for and receive transparent pricing before you are treated.
To recommend a health topic that you would like to learn more about, email Dr. George at: Good health@TrustDaleHealth.com