Talk about confusing.
Although the insurance representative’s voice and manner were relaxed, by the time you finished the authorization phone call, you were confused. So confused, in fact, that you told the representative that you would be calling your father for advice and then calling the insurance company back. The representative assured that he was nor trying to get you to do anything that you did not want to do, he simply wanted to make sure that you understood the cost comparison between the hospital where the procedure was currently scheduled and the cost of the procedure at the provider that the insurance company was connected to.
The difference was significant. Nearly $2,000, in fact. The conversation started off easy enough. The representative said that he was calling to say that the MRI to your lower extremity, the lower right knee, was covered. That part was easy enough to understand, You had been playing phone tag for days about getting access to the convenient medical care to treat the clicking in your right knee. And now, less than 24 hours after you finally have the procedure scheduled, you have someone calling and telling you that the convenient medical treatment that you are receiving could be significantly cheaper if it was done at the location where the insurance provider had an agreement.
Given that you were only a 19-year old college student, you got the authorization number and asked if you could call your father and get advice.
You really did want to talk to your father, but most of all you really just needed to think through changing an appointment that you had worked the entire week to get scheduled.
Nothing is easy anymore when it comes to insurance.
Are You Trying to Figure Out the Best Scheduling Options for an Upcoming Medical Procedure?
If you thought pediatric after hours care was confusing, when was the latest time that you tried to schedule a medical scan like an MRI? Urgent medical needs that happen in the evening and on the weekend can be challenging to solve, but the process of getting diagnostic services coordinated is not easy either. Working with the doctor, who needs to order the procedure, and getting the lab process scheduled can seem like a balancing act. And just when you think that you have the appointment scheduled, the insurance company decides to call with other options. It seems as if these affordable other options would have been better to know about before any convenient medical treatments were scheduled.
Consider these facts and figures about the need for both convenient medical treatment and the increasing differences between what one medical facility and another charge for services:
- Walk-in Urgent care clinics continue to grow in popularity. In fact, there are approximately 9,300 walk-in, stand-alone urgent care centers in America. Approximately, 50 to 100 new clinics open every year, although the numbers fluctuate with corporate buy overs, expansions and consolidations.
- Finding convenient medical treatment is becoming an increasing option for the growing number of people who now have access to affordable health care.
- As the number of Americans with health insurance continues to grow it should come as no surprise that not only are more clinics and health care settings needed, there is also an increasing need for doctors and medical professionals to staff these health care platforms. In fact, America will likely need almost 52,000 additional primary care physicians by the year 2025. This prediction was reached by a team of researchers whose work is highlighted in an article titled Projecting U.S. PrimaryCare Physician Workforce Needs: 2010-2025.
- 50% of urgent care centers are owned by a physician or a group of physicians.
- 97% of all urgent care centers in 2014 operated seven days a week.
- 99% of all urgent care centers in 2014 were open at least four hours a day.
- 60% of all urgent care centers have a wait time of less than 15 minutes to see a physician or mid-level provider.
- 65% of all urgent care centers have a physician on-site at all times.
Health care options in this country continue to expand, so it is increasingly important that patients understand the costs of the convenient health services that are now available.