Do you discuss health care costs with your doctor?

Every time I go to the doctor, we end up having a conversation about the cost of health care. I can’t remember the last time it didn’t happen.

I’ve been trying to remember how it usually starts, but I don’t really think there’s a pattern. It just seems to come up.

Anyway, I bitch and whine about it and I think he must get sick of hearing it, especially if everyone does it. But maybe not everyone does.

Thus, this poll.

Every other year at my annual physical the EKG detects something* that requires a trip to a cardiologist. Fortunately I have great insurance; but I always mention to my Dr. that if I did not I would not get the follow up test. Last year was a nuclear stress test at $4,500.00 :eek:

*cardiologist tests never find anything :smiley:

I don’t think I’ve ever discussed the subject with my doctor. I pay the copay, get whatever service is necessary, and that’s that. The only things I can recall discussing with my doctor were health-related. Of course, I have good insurance, so that helps.

Never. I think we should all ask “what would that cost” when something is suggested. But, so far, I never have.

I’m in the Other category for two reasons:

  1. the unknown cost of healthcare is actually a primary reason I don’t go see the doctor very often. Even if I know what a single appt will cost, the doctor then wants labs and followups and tests, etc.
  2. when I do need something, I am more likely to ask when it’s an optional/elective kind of thing and less likely when it’s something I perceive as critical or time sensitive. So a flu shot? You bet I know the cost down to the penny before I go somewhere. X-rays when my sprained ankle wasn’t healing like I expected? I just went in and paid whatever they asked.

And just FYI: I’m on an insurance plan that pays for nothing until I get over a large deductible. Thanks to Obamacare, that deductible went from 2000/yr to 6500/yr so that I could keep the increase in premium down to 40%. My insurance has never paid a single cent for my care since I got an individual policy in 2006. So I’m very aware of what my costs are, and I see the insurance as a sort of catastrophic coverage, not as part of routine health care.

No. That’s why I have health insurance.

I have a very high deductible, and often the doctors don’t even know what something costs. Call a hospital and ask what an MRI costs and they don’t know. I usually find it cheaper to fly overseas for anything except routine dental care.

My brother just got a $65,000 bill for rabies shots for his family. That’s more than I earned last year. I am not sure how he plans to pay it, but he is a doctor so eventually he’ll be able to pay it.

Yes, I try to schedule major tests for the beginning of the year so I will hit my deductible earlier.

However I don’t really discuss the concept of why US healthcare is 50-100% more expensive than europe as a general debate topic with my physician. I just try to schedule expensive things to all hit under the same deductible window.

I have only discussed it recently as I am working on what Medicare options to go for when I retire. He gently pointed me towards the HMO that covers him, although he won’t kick me out if I don’t use it.

Up to now, my health insurance has been good enough, and my health also good enough, that I haven’t had much to worry about. I expect this may change as I get (even) older.

Anyway, I marked “Other.”

I never discuss it with my doctor because, living in Canada, medical care tends not to cost a lot.

Your physician knows nothing about the cost of health care. That’s the responsibility of the insurer.

Oddly enough, my doctor brought it up with me. But it was about the $50/year fee for their online patient communication tool, which allows me to see my lab results and email her and the other providers in a HIPAA compliant platform for minor concerns. She wanted to let me know that if I couldn’t afford it, they had a “scholarship” fund of sorts set up that I could apply for to get access for free. I assured her that $50 a year was not a big deal, and if it saved me from an office visit to get my lab results handed to me on paper, I was all for it.

She never mentioned the price tag of the ~$1500 labs that she ordered that weren’t covered by my insurance, however.


No. That’s why I don’t have health insurance. The joy of being a public patient. Mind you, with the medicare levy for my “free” health care I end up paying about $1,000 a visit to see my GP each 6 months.

Yes but mostly in terms of prescriptions and labs. Ages back I was given an Rx for something and several free samples. It worked great but come time to actually fill it the sticker shock almost caused cardiac complications. I had to sit down with my doc and say “OK, best is out of the question. Whadda you have on deck for second place? If my insurance covers it, give me Miss Congeniality”.

I’ve had doctors that don’t don’t know or care the cost of the meds they prescribe, so I wound up asking the doc for two prescriptions - one for the Nifty Drug Of The Month and one for the old classic in case the new drug was nonformulary.

Other than that, most of my health care cost conversations have been with billing departments, many of which are starting to ask for a pre-op deposit. For my spine surgery last year, they wanted a $500 deposit.

It’s just bewildering what the insurance companies will pay without a moment’s thought, and what they’ll challenge or deny. We didn’t hear a peep from my insurer last year over any of the roughly $110,000 in billings for my husband’s cancer treatment, or $120,000 for my spine surgery, but attempting to refill a $7.00 prescription two days too early did not go well.

I’m jealous of that. I saw a bill from a Canadian pal’s ER visit. He had been injured riding a bike and didn’t have his card on him.

The cost (for a broken leg)? $450 CD.

I almost fell out of the chair, then asked him to marry me.

I discuss this constantly, because I’ve worked in health insurance for 20+ years. Now I work in statistical data modeling of healthcare, blah blah blah. Still involves costs and how to reduce them.

Usually I’m lecturing them of the lack of need for more blood work (“I just had a blood test for a CBC last month. The rheumatologist ordered it. Look at the electronic health record.”) or radiology or other stuff that gets ordered reflexively.

The doctor might be happy when I go away…

The insurer doesn’t know either. They just know what they’ll pay for.

This. I pay $15 for an office visit, $50 for a specialist, and my medications cost me no more than $6.50 apiece. So, no, I don’t discuss costs with my doctor.

I always do-from both sides of the situation. I have too many patients with no health care so we have to discuss what to prioritize. It is insane how many doctors just prescribe medication without looking at the costs. So many times, there is a generic option available that is equivalent to a brand-name medication. I’m actually about to go to my vet and “inform” him that the insulin he prescribed for Natasha is $240 for the smallest bottle which is enough for 6 months but has to be discarded a month after opening it while an insulin pen which contains slightly less than 1/3 as much insulin is more expensive on a per ml basis but only runs $70 for each unit (which still needs to be discarded after a month). Then, again, my own insurance wanted $115 for 30 nexium pills at CVS which I was able to buy over the counter for $53 (minus an additional $15 in store credits) for 63 pills.