Medical Insurance- an eye opener!

Ok, we all know what a mess our health care system can be…a real challenge.  Each and every one of us who is fortunate enough to have medical insurance knows how lucky we are; most of us have real concerns over what would happen if we didn’t have coverage.  Even with coverage and co-pays, taking care of one’s health and paying for it can present daunting challenges.  And we all know how tough it must be each year for employers of  very small businesses to find a way to continue to offer a plan that doesn’t break the company’s bank and that of the employee.

I recently did some research to find some top doctors in several specialties in New York City and Brooklyn. I looked at the article in New York Magazine. Initially, my first concern was to see the proximity of location for each of the top docs.  I knew that some would not take a particular company’s insurance and would be considered out of plan.  That’s a given.  Imagine my surprise as I made phone calls when I was told, ” The doctor does not take insurance”. Wh.a.a.a.a.t.t? My head spun around!  And then I heard “The visit is $500.00”.  WH.a.a.a.a.a.it??? $500.00?  For an office visit?  Wh.a.a.a.t?  I was in complete disbelief.  So here’s what I learned, some of the top docs continue to take new clients, but because they practice in Manhattan on the Upper east side or the Upper west side and because the earnings of people in that geographic area are so large, they simply don’t have to see anyone who isn’t rich…they don’t need us or our money.  I was aghast, completely flabbergasted

So if you aren’t rich and you want a really good doctor, you might be screwed in Manhattan.  One alternative is to ask if there are any other doctors in the practice who DO accept insurance and then of course, do they take YOUR PLAN?  I did find a few who fit the bill, but  no available appointments  until at least July, some were August.  I spent upwards of 5 hours-maybe more- looking for three different types of specialists.  None of the top docs practiced anywhere except Manhattan and at least  half were at one hospital, New York Presbyterian (one of the top 25 hospitals in the entire country).  Good to know if you need to be in a great hospital, a moot point if you can’t pay cash for the doctor visits, huh?

So there you have it, for the masses, it’s pretty difficult to know if a doctor is good at all…at least in the New York City area.  That stinks if you have what could be a serious medical issue.  This is quite a new twist to me.  I really thought that if you have insurance you can have great care. That is probably because I live in another major metropolitan area (Philadelphia) and have had the opportunity to have great care and great physicians (several are top docs).

I am still blown away by the price gouging…a sad commentary, don’t you think?  How do we get out of this mess? How are people going to be able to find good health care at a reasonable price and have a reasonable process for making an appointment?  What is a reasonable process for making a doctor appointment?  My experience was not a reasonable process. It was very difficult.  It did not make sense; it would have been impossible for someone who did not have the time or patience and organizational skills to persist.  I can’t imagine how it will be 10years from now.  Just getting the address of the doctor’s office was excruciating.  I forget how many buildings I was told were at New York Presbyterian, it was 30 or more!  Something else to consider is that a large percentage (I think I’ve heard 50%)  of people losing their homes today are losing them due to healthcare costs…someone got sick and even thought there was medical coverage, it didn’t cover the costs.  Bankruptcies are right there in the same category, due to medical expenses.  This is huge!

This is MeddlingMom…I wish all of us great health and a great weekend!

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