I’m without health insurance for the first time in my life, and while I don’t have any particular health concerns going on, I started worrying the other day about what I’ll do if something relatively minor, but pressing comes up; say a good case of strep throat, a weird foot fungus, those pesky panic attacks. I’m talking about the type of thing that requires a basic 15-min doctor’s visit with a prescription.
How much does a visit like that cost, on average, out of pocket? I’m just looking for a basic ballpark figure - I mean, would it be thousands of dollars, or a couple hundred? Would it be $50? $500? I have no clue, but I’d like to know just for my peace of mind…“oh, I could swing that if I really had to.”
Call your doctor and ask how much a routine office visit costs. (You don’t have to explain why, just ask how much. They ought to be used to answering such questions.) Here it’s thirty dollars just to get the doctor in the door, IIRC.
Obviously it varies wildly from doctor to doctor. I’ve been quoted as much as $300 for a quick 15-minute visit as you describe (and I’m sure it can go higher), but it needn’t be that much as a matter of course, even without insurance.
Zabali’s suggestion was prudent. What’s stopping you from calling a doctor and asking?
The statements I get from my insurance co. say that my general practitioner charges $80.00 for an office visit. My insurance pays $57.00, I pay my $15.00 co-pay, and because of his contract with my insurers, he writes off the balance. But when we were without insurance for a couple of years, I was much more likely to use those walk-in clinics, where it was about $40.00 for something routine. Also, if you make sure that whatever doc you’re dealing with knows you’re uninsured, you can talk him (or her) into giving you sample packs of whatever drug you need. If they don’t have sample packs, ask if there’s a cheap alternative to what they’re prescribing. I had a situation a couple of years ago where a doc prescribed Levaquin for an infection. My hubby went to pick it up, and when he saw the tab (almost $100.00!) he called the doc and said “I can’t afford this”. The doc called in a scrip for Sulfa based antibiotics instead and it was, like, $8.00.
I worked for a neurologist, and she normally would charge between $80-120/visit. If you were already a patient and had lost your insurance, she’d often do the visit for free or at a very reduced price. She also saw a lot more free cahrity patients than most doctors, because she thought it was her responsibility to the community as a doctor to treat people who couldn’t get treatment otherwise.
The thing is, often people need tests run, and that wasn’t charged by her. It was difficult trying to get people in touch with free MRI services, free labwork, etc. The local Catholic hospital had programs for the indigent, but most people who are indigent seemed to rather not having the tests than do the paperwork involved in qualifying for such programs. I spent a good bit of time chivvying people to get paperwork in for drug companies, and other programs so they could get the help they needed.
In the Netherlands, I pay 28 euros, (about 32 dollars) if for a visit-plus-prescription to my ordinary family physician. That’s based on a visit of 10 minutes or less; every additional 10 minutes is another 32 dollars.
I know that for a fact, because I have to pay the doc’s bill first, and then I can charge it to my insurance.
My experience has been that specialist could charge more for an office visit, but around here an office visit is in the $80 - $120 range. And that will not cover any lab tests or prescriptions or special treatments like shots, which could run into a few hundred dollars. Such are the costs of health care.
I would like to add something here-- a piece of advice, take it or leave it. If the original thread starter gets insurance again, and it’s a cheap plan (because it’s not covered by your employer, or whatever,) do NOT go by what the salesman tells you when he signs you up. READ THE FINE PRINT before you have any procedures done. I did NOT do this, and ended up paying almost $3000 for thyroid tests and an ultrasound. If I had known I would paying every cent of this, I would never have agreed to have it done. I will be at death’s door before anyone ever gets me into a doctor’s office again. (I guess it would be an emergency room then…)
I wouldn’t have posted this (it being perhaps off-topic for the thread) except for the fact that I’ve been in the same situation-- no insurance, and then desperately buying something cheap once I could have anything at all again. I would give a lot if someone had just warned me about this. (The specific company, btw, was Allied, through Midwest National Life!)
What are you current resources? What’s your income? Somebody who just doesn’t have insurance will be charged the full fee. If you explain (you may need to provide proof) that several financial disasters have left you unable to afford insurance, the fee will begin to slide.