My son recently experienced pains on his sides, at the bottom of his ribs. The doctor examined him and took x-rays which revealed his bowels were backed up. After several weeks of taking some over the counter medication, and gradually decreasing the dosage, the symptoms had all but disappeared. Then, suddenly they returned, only worse. After a few days of upping the dosage again with no relief of symptoms, we took him back to the doctor.
Convinced the same problem had surfaced again, the doctor was on the verge of suggesting even stronger medication. He suggested that we could take x-rays to compare with the previous visit. Knowing that the x-rays would likely cost us quite a bit of money, he left the decision up to me. Without hesitation I told him to write the order for the x-rays.
Taking a fresh set of x-rays turned out to be the right choice.
The new x-rays showed that his bowels were no longer backed up, but they were completely filled with gas causing his abdominal pains. The doctor instructed us to buy extra strength Gas-X, and to take the maximum dosage until my son felt better.
Two days later, my son was 100% pain free.
2015 is the first year that I’ve had a Health Savings Account, and had I known how much it would simplify how I dealt with medical issues I would have gone that route years ago.
In the case of my son’s most recent doctor visit, I knew the cost of the x-rays would be applied to my deductible, and that I would be responsible for 100% of the cost. I also know from past experience that the x-rays would cost somewhere around $200. The doctor seemed quite certain that we were facing another flare up of the original problem and was ready to prescribe a more aggressive medication to deal with it. That course of action wouldn’t have solved anything, and likely would have left my son in pain. But since I knew I had thousands of dollars in my Health Savings Account, I decided to have the x-rays done to verify the diagnosis.
Because I had ample funds in my health savings account, I chose to verify the diagnosis.
On the other hand, under the insurance I had for years previously, whenever I took a family member to the doctor I would wonder how much it was going to cost. I would generally know what was covered, but if services were not covered it’s almost impossible to get an accurate estimate as to what the bill will be. Plus, when you’re in the middle of an office visit, halting the process to go talk to the billing department just isn’t feasible.
When you don’t know how much medical care is going to cost out of pocket, making decisions can become more about cost than what is best medically for the patient.
In a perfect world, a person wouldn’t have to worry about the cost of a procedure. The only thing on the mind of the doctor and patient would be what the best course of action is medically. Given that will likely never happen, my health savings account is the next best thing.
Brought to you courtesy of Brock
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