Consumer Medicine is Broken

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How can you expect the patient to make good health care purchasing decisions if they can't find out the price of a service?

My patient has a $2500 deductible before insurance will pay anything. She is young and mainly needs preventive care so she is paying out of pocket for everything until she hits $2500 (which certainly didn't happen this year).

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She was charged $308 for a blood test for Vit D level. Yes $308 for one test. (Vit D found to be abnormally low so supplements prescribed by me)

$308 is no small hunk of change for a working girl. In fact it is an outrageous charge for a simple blood test. She needs a follow up test to see if her levels are improving and she has been calling around to other labs to price compare.

SHE CANNOT GET A PRICE QUOTE! I am serious. The labs are annoyed at the question and said they need a "client number" and a "request from a physician" and they will not give her a price estimate so she can be a "good consumer of health care".

This is outrageous!

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