Last week I took a family member to see a doctor. At one point the doctor asked, “Do you have good insurance?” to which I replied, “Well, I don’t know what you call good insurance. Why do you ask?”
The doctor was about to prescribe a drug that would cost $500 without insurance, and probably slightly less if the insurance were mediocre. He wrote two prescriptions and said fill the one that was less expensive. I’d never had that type of financial discussion with a doctor, and I appreciated it.
Will practices and hospitals start marketing their cost-consciousness as a patient benefit? I’ve read about people going to Europe for hip replacement surgery because it was so much cheaper than surgery in the U.S. There is an interesting op-ed piece from a Duke professor of medicine on nytimes.com. Read what he thinks about a doctor’s role in financial discussions with patients.