According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are over 50 million Americans without health insurance, and that number is going to rise significantly in 2019 as the federal mandate to have health insurance is eliminated.
We hear story after story about the broken health care system. Here is just one experience that was shared with us.
A few months ago, our cat bit my husband while he was trying to give her a pill. He made the mistake of not seeing a doctor right away, and by the time his hand started to swell up, the doctor’s office was closed for the weekend. We knew it couldn’t wait until Monday, so we went to the emergency room, where it took us nearly five hours just to see a doctor and get a prescription for an antibiotic – which we then had to find an all-night pharmacy to fill. And on top of everything else, we had to pay a $700 copay to our insurance for the ER visit and a simple antibiotic was $48
Online Doctor Visits -vs- Urgent Care Centers -vs- Hospital Emergency Rooms
Normally, when you have a health problem, you go to see your doctor. However, this isn’t always possible if you have a problem that needs treatment right away, such as the husband’s cat bite. Most doctor’s offices are heavily booked, and they usually can’t give you a same-day appointment, even for an emergency. On evenings and weekends, 93% of Americans say they have no access to their primary care doctors at all, according to debt.org. We have a plan for your health care that might surprise you just how affordable and convenient non-life threatening medical treatment can be.
PLAN A - Online Doctor Visits In the last few years online doctor visits are increasing rapidly in popularity and affordability. Most conditions that you would normally make an in person visit with your doctor can be handled via a telephone or video call. It works just like an in person visit but you never leave your home, office or school to make the visit. After the doctor gives you a diagnosis, they can provide a treatment plan -including prescriptions if needed. The scripts are sent right to your pharmacy of choice and in some cases can be delivered right to your home. The cost typically ranges from $35-$99 per visit and in some cases there are monthly unlimited use plans that are much cheaper.
PLAN B - Urgent Care Centers Urgent care centers were created in the 1990s to fill the gap in care when you either do not have insurance or need medical treatment after hours. Like many emergency rooms, they’re open every day, and you don’t need an appointment to get care there. The average cost for an Urgent Care visit is about $153.
PLAN C - EMERGENCY ROOM The reason so many people use the emergency room for non-emergency care is that, by law, hospital ERs aren’t allowed to turn patients away – whether they can pay or not. As a result, many people who don’t have health insurance rely on the ER as their main source of health care. To make up for all these nonpaying patients, ERs charge higher rates to everyone else.
This makes the emergency room one of the most expensive place to get care. According to the health insurer Cigna, the average non-emergency visit to a hospital ER costs $1,757. By contrast, the average visit to an urgent care center costs $153.
So let's break this down. Here are some estimates from Medica, a health insurance company, of how the cost of treating specific illnesses in the ER compares to the cost of treating them in urgent care and online doctor visits:
- Allergies: $733 in ER, $200 in urgent care, $35 online Doctor Visit
- Bronchitis: $1,074 in ER, $242 in urgent care, $35 online Doctor Visit
- Earache: $779 in ER, $229 in urgent care, $35 online Doctor Visit
- Pinkeye: $621 in ER, $184 in urgent care, $35 online Doctor Visit
- Strep Throat: $1,043 in ER, $231 in urgent care, $35 online Doctor Visit
- Urinary Tract Infection: $1,264 in ER, $247 in urgent care, $35 online Doctor Visit
In summary, let me share a company that does online doctor visits, Health Alliance Network. Health Alliance Network offers immediate access to a doctor with a family health care plan for $35 a month. This plan includes coverage for the entire family and there are no co-pays or deductibles, nothing else to pay. Not only is it affordable, it is convenient when that 3 year old has a fever at 2:37am. To find out more about this and other affordable health care plans visit Health Alliance Network. This company also offers a completely free prescription benefit that allows you to get many medications free or at a significantly lower cost then you would even if you were using your health insurance.