Posted Friday, November 13, 2009
Have you ever considered asking your doctor for a discount on a hip replacement? Or signing up for a drug trial to get free medicine? As more workers find themselves unemployed and losing their health insurance, Americans are finding the courage to ask hospitals and health care providers for a better deal. Friday on the Sound of Ideas, Regina Brett will talk to health care professionals who say it is possible for individuals to negotiate price even though some in the medical community view the practice with disdain. How to avoid paying retail for health care, Friday at 9 on 90.3.
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In January, I fell on the ice (first time in 16 years) and totally destroyed my right elbow. (I am 56 years old and extremely healthy!) Through my ortho doc, I was sent to an arm specialist from Geauga County. I had surgery a week later and I now have a totally rebuilt elbow with an implant in the elbow. Few weeks later, suture material had hardened and was pushing its way out of the incision site. When I received the initial paperwork/costs for the second surgery for the suture material removal, I was aghast. My portion of the first $18,000 surgery was gastronomical. But this second hit, was just too much. With the second surgery,I was the only one at the surgical suite that day who only took local anesthesia and walked out on my on accord. When I showed the surgeon what the second surgery was costing, I never received one bill after him seeing the charges from the insurance company. He was stunned, also. There are things your doctor can do for you!
I heard a caller this morning (at about 0950) who said he was saving money by shopping at a Canadian pharmacy, and suggested listeners find these pharmacies on line. Most “Canadian Pharmacy” web sites are NOT Canadian, they are phoney sites that are actually Chinese in origin. These scammers are quite sophisticated; the phoney pills are packaged, shaped and colored to pass as the real drug. These pills are shipped through Canada to complete the scam. What is actually in the pills varies from asprin to amphetomines to non-food chemicals such as talc. WCPN should correct that caller’s dangerous advice. It might be useful to cover the topic of shopping for health care again. Finding the best value in medications is certainly difficult, especially if one is working to figure out Medicare part D, as we are doing now for a senior family member.
The “Canadian” pharmacy scams are a thret to us (US patients) in several ways: 1. Directly because the pills are ineffective or dangerous in themselves. 2. The patient loses confidence in the physician/healthcare team when the phoney medications don’t work or cause harm. 3. The scammers are enriched and enabled to do other criminal acts.
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