(PRWEB) January 04, 2013
In the Houston concierge medicine community, the River Oaks Doctors Group is a group of physicians providing medical services to patients daily. Today, the practice is announcing new tips for assessing healthcare options for 2013. These tips are intended to help people take a fresh look at healthcare options and determine the best fit for their family.
Tip #1 is in evaluating self-insurance. The benefit of self-insurance is that there is no out of pocket expense unless there is an illness. The downside is how risky this option is since one serious health condition can wipe out a fortune of savings. Consider the risk potential for a family and whether or not this type of coverage is reasonable.
Tip #2 is to make an honest assessment of the health plan at work. These health plans are the most common for people not yet eligible for Medicare. For a family, that means one spouse likely works at a company where a group insurance plan is available. This way the entire family can have health coverage. Health plans can vary widely by company. The trend seems to be less coverage and more out of pocket expense as companies attempt to manage health care costs. The other pattern is deeply discounted reimbursement fees for doctors. It is not uncommon to see a $1,000 bill discounted by 60-70% once it runs through the group insurance plan. This is great for the consumer on costs, but not on the quality side. Deep discounts force doctors to spend less time with patients, as they must see more patients to meet overhead costs. Many Americans experience a 5-7 minute office visit. It really begs the question how good can a diagnosis be with so little time spent with a patient. Consider the balance between quality and cost when evaluating company health plans.
Tip #3 is to consider concierge medicine as an alternative. In concierge medicine the family pays the physician directly for service and then must file a claim with the insurance company directly. In a recent NY Times article a family paid a doctor $650 in cash to come to their house and work with their four month old daughter who had trouble sleeping. The physician solved the family’s problem after making a house call and spending a significant amount of time observing the daughter and making some minor changes in the mother’s diet. One advantage is that concierge medicine focuses on quality and developing a lasting relationship with a patient. According to Anu Davis, a Houston Endocrinologist, the best aspect of concierge medicine is being able to spend more time with patients to provide a higher quality of care. In assessing concierge medicine, a family should look at out of network coverage and deductibles since insurance claims will fall into this classification.
Tip #4 is to understand the details of Medicare and Medicaid and do not hesitate to call the 1-800 number with questions. These programs are susceptible to changes at anytime which make Americans feel vulnerable and can make it a challenge to keep up with its requirements and coverage. Reading through the Medicare and Medicaid publications each year helps families keep abreast of changes. Making calls and getting questions answered before getting a medical service is wise since if the incorrect medical provider is used it can result in a claim being denied.