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10:16 PM / Wednesday July 6, 2022

28 Jun 2019

When the cost does not match the care

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June 28, 2019 Category: Local Posted by:

Health insurance is a luxury for many Americans these days, and for those who can “afford” it, you almost need a second job to pay for those benefits.

The portion that the average employee pays has gotten so out of hand, with monthly payments ranging from the sublime $34 per pay period to hundreds, that many are opting to have no insurance at all, WITH a full time job.

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What is even worse for those who are able to pay those premiums, the deductibles are often so exorbitant, people pray that they stay well and take over-the-counter medicine instead of going to the hospital, until they cannot stand the pain anymore.

A few months back, my husband was in the emergency room; and when the intake person noted his deductible was $40, the staff began mumbling that theirs was $200. Even the people who work in healthcare cannot afford to get sick.

How insane is this?

So, what I can’t understand are the people who are employed in various doctors’ offices, and sometimes the doctors themselves.

When a patient calls to make an appointment or to get test results, basic courtesy on those calls is woefully missing.

The receptionists are abrupt, brusque and they behave as if they are doing the patients a favor by even answering the phones, then often end the calls without even waiting for a goodbye.

Far too many doctors make us wait months to be seen, only to be given a paltry 10 minutes if the patient is  lucky, and patients walk away feeling unheard and violated — that our health was just not important enough to the one who took the Hippocratic Oath to “do no harm.”

This boils down to patients getting sicker, being told it’s “in their heads,” and a “we are sorry, we did all we could do,” should they succumb to the very thing they complained about ad nauseum.

So what can we do?

On a large scale, we must do our research on who is running for office, vote for candidates who understand the seriousness of healthcare and have a plan, and remove the ones who are simply talking heads when elections happen.

At the lower scale, we are not completely helpless, even though it may feel that way at times.

If we take charge of our health by firing a doctor who continues to mismanage our care, we should go one step further by filing a formal complaint with the state’s medical board. It is where doctors are sanctioned and disciplined. We must draw attention to the really bad ones. It is not unheard of that doctors can lose their license, or be suspended from practicing. Simply complaining amongst ourselves achieves nothing.

If you don’t know how to file a medical complaint, Google it. It’s all there at your fingertips.

When visiting a doctor, write down all your questions and if you feel rushed and dismissed, remind them gently that you are feeling unheard and take note to see if they slow down.

File complaints against the rude receptionists too; they are supposed to be providing a service. File those complaints with the doctors, and if you get no results, write a review of their entire practice online. People read those reviews and will opt to go elsewhere. No one likes to lose business.

Share the names of excellent physicians with each other as that helps immensely. I have found a great eye doctor, dentist and specialists this way.

Our health cannot be replicated on a 3D printer. We only get one heart, and we cannot grow new organs – at least the last time I checked.

Most importantly, choose wisely what you consume and do some sort of physical activity three times a week, even if it’s walking up and down your stairs for 30 minutes. Any activity helps and does not require a gym membership.

Know your family history –  do not ignore it. Find a free clinic if health insurance is out of your range.

Right about now, though, we all need to pray this madness we call a healthcare system changes before we all collapse under the weight of its ridiculous cost and mediocre service.

We simply cannot afford that.

Disclaimer: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, The Philadelphia Sunday SUN, the author’s organization, committee or other group or individual. 

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