While we were promised affordable and stable health care insurance coverage options under the "Affordable Care Act" (ACA) we have seen the exact opposite. Not only have health care premiums been going up but deductibles have been going up as well.
I have noticed that many patients that have purchased insurance through the health care exchanges have had trouble finding doctors that accept their insurance. When they do find someone that will take their insurance they often get hit with high visit charges due to pre-negotiated insurance rates. These additional charges often show up as a bill in the mail 2-3 months later.
As a result of this I often get asked about what other options are out there for patients.
One of the options that is gaining more popularity are medical co-ops. These are often Christian based. A few of the larger ones that I have seen include Medishare, Christian Health Ministries, and Samaritan Ministries. Under these co-ops members share medical costs above certain deductible limits depending on what plan is signed up for by the patient. These co-ops typically come at much more affordable rates than Obamacare plans and fulfill the requirements of the ACA. Often these plans are designed for covering more catastrophic illnesses which is the real point of insurance any way.
Combining a christian co-op that will cover expensive medical bills with seeing a doctor that charges low cash rates for routine medical care is perhaps the most affordable option for the majority of patients. For example, if you see a doctor like me for about $55/visit 2-3 times a year and then get coverage from a co-op for around $100/month than your total medical bill will in all likelihood be thousands of dollars less per year than an Obamacare insurance plan. These Obamacare insurance plans can run several hundred dollars per month with a high deductible to boot.
The same is also true of insurance that is obtained through your employer. Even though your employer may be covering some of the cost, the christian co-op options may still be much cheaper and have lower deductibles.
But what about surgeries?
There are cash-only surgical centers like the Surgery Center of Oklahoma that post their rates on line and typically the majority of their surgeries are only two to three thousand dollars which includes the facility expenses.
Finally, don't forget that you can typically negotiate with hospitals and doctors to reduce your medical bills. This can help you get significant discounts on bills accrued from an unexpected ER visit or hospital stay.
If you have questions about the above options don't hesistate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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