Routine office-based healthcare is affordable; it does not need to be “covered” by a health insurance plan. Furthermore, despite so-called coverage, you pay for your routine care anyway with copays and deductibles as well as paying for pre-existing conditions and non-covered services. Does your car insurance cover the cost of a new tire? Of course not. If it did, your car insurance would be as costly as your health insurance plan. Learn to shop for routine office-based and outpatient care, ask for cash pay prices. Don’t be over-insured and overpay. Take control and save.
Most physicians and providers gladly accept cash paying patients because insurance-based pricing and rules have pushed their overhead to 70 percent or more. Call them ahead of time and ask for their cash pay rates.
Where to get cash pay routine healthcare needs
- Family practice doctors and internists.
- Urgent care centers – many healthcare consumers use their local urgent care center for as-needed, cash price routine care and testing needs as they know they will never meet their health insurance plan deductible.
- Direct Primary Care (DPC) – is primary care access using a subscription model. Participants/patients pay a monthly fee – typically about $100 – this usually gets you same-day access with the physician, longer visit times and text, email and video-chat benefits. Some providers may also charge a small additional per-visit fee. This membership covers most primary care services including blood tests. They do not file your insurance claim and payments can not be used towards deductibles or be listed as a tax deduction.
- Direct Specialty Care (DSC) – is not organized like DPC but most specialty care physicians would rather be paid in cash than wait 3 months for a discounted insurance payment.
- Laboratory testing can be self-ordered without need for a doctor’s prescription. Find them online and ask them for the cash price of the particular test you need. The results go back to you.
- The cost of CT scans and other imaging needs is easily found online. You will need a prescription for the imaging study (unlike for blood test) – some centers may have providers available to facilitate access.
- Test kits – self care test kits are available online or at most drug stores for a great variety of conditions. You can run some tests yourself while others need to be mailed back to the company for results.
- There are many over-the-counter medicines that you can take to help treat certain ailments. Some supermarkets provide a few medications free-of-charge but a prescription is required.
- Healthcare information – there are multiple reputable online sources where you can become empowered.
Where to get catastrophic healthcare coverage
Medical cost sharing plans can be a good option for those seeking coverage for unlikely costly or catastrophic healthcare events.
Written by HEALTHdrum