Cash Discounts? if You Want to Pay Less at the Doctor, Ask About Cash Discounts

There are serious problems with health care in America. The cost of medical insurance continues to increase 10%, 20% or even 30% each year. This is a much higher percentage increase than most American’s annual salary increase. For the past several years health insurance was one of the few items in the family budget that saw steep increases every year. Today, this is not true. Families are seeing increases in groceries, gasoline, mortgage payments, credit card interest rates and heating oil. Couple a stretched family budget with a poor economy and the future looks worse than the past. There are predictions that unemployment rates will rise. Another prediction is that more families will not be able to afford health insurance.

Studies indicate that people without insurance do not go to the doctor for checkups or for ailments that are not debilitating. Those with chronic diseases like diabetes that go without regular checkups usually end up in the emergency room. Often, people who go without regular medical care see treatable conditions progress into irreversible health problems like a heart attack or a stroke.

Perhaps a better description of our health care system would be a disease care system. There are government funded safety nets for those sick enough to go to the emergency room but in most cases there is not funding for wellness care or chronic disease management. This situation will only get worse as more Americans lose their jobs and their health insurance.

It is not just patients that are frustrated with our current system. Doctors are burdened by the excessive paperwork required by medical insurance companies. Most doctors today have one or more employees dedicated to processing insurance forms and following up with insurance carriers that do not pay in a timely manner. The set fees for Medicare and Medicaid patients are often far below actual costs for the service rendered. Politicians have been talking about reforming our health care system for decades and little has changed except the rising costs.

Doctors are also frustrated by laws that prevent them from charging patients without insurance less than Medicare and Medicaid set fees. Most doctors sincerely want to help their patients with little means by reducing fees so they will get regular medical care.

In the last few years, doctors in many cities across America have opted to discontinue accepting medical insurance and to change their practice to a cash only business. While some doctors do this on their own, in most cases a group of doctors work together and come up with a medical care plan. While these plans are not insurance, since they are a structured plan they are legal.

Doctor after doctor that has made this conversion to a cash only business has reported that they actually make more money. They are able to eliminate the staff personnel that handled insurance claims. They get paid as services are performed instead of waiting up to several months for payment. They no longer have to argue with the insurance company about needed treatment or tests. They are able to totally focus on treating their patients. Doctors report operating a cash only business is much less stressful and allows them to be more responsive to their patients needs.

Patients also like the Patients also like the cash only system. Since routine office visits are priced similar to an insurance co-pay more people without insurance are able to afford medical treatment. Some people choose to carry catastrophic medical insurance only and use the cash doctors for checkups and routine care. Since routine office visits are priced similar to an insurance co-pay more people without insurance are able to afford medical treatment. Some people choose to carry catastrophic medical insurance only and use the cash doctors for checkups and routine care.

If you are one of the growing numbers of Americans without medical insurance or if the cost of your insurance takes too big of a bite out of your budget, do some checking and see if your community has cash only doctors. If so, ask questions and find out exactly how they structure their fees. You may just find an affordable alternative to maintaining good health.

Loren Thomas

  • Why is a tip still expected by a professional hair stylist when they're getting 50%+ of the total bill?Your hair stylist does not get minimum wage or less – like the wait staff, bartender, car valet. Most hair dresser gets 50% or more of what YOU just spent in the salon + bonuses,.And if you bought some products (they insist you need, like shampoo etc, ) they get even more. Ladies, honestly, that $200+ bill you just plunked down for your cut & color, while your stylist attended 2 clients as your color came up, just made $300+ for their pocket. Why are we tipping them? If they are a professional they should not be tipped. You don’t tip your doctor, your tax guy, or your mechanic – why should we tip the professional hair dresser? I am not taking about the discount hair salon chains with the low cost cuts – I am talking about the salon who wants you to have "an experience" because of all their "ambiance". I say it is time to stop this tip & hope you ‘ll "experience" the ambiance of a bit more cash to tip the person at minimum wage – they need it, not your professional stylist.

  • AMEN!!!!!! It’s getting to where you need a small personal loan to get a f—king haircut. I totally agree. I don’t tip nothing more than a 4 dollar tip. Call me cheap or whatever, but I refuse to pay someone with NO EDUCATION $100 more an hour just because you will call me cheap. by the time the hour ends some of them are making $75 to $100 an hour. That’s bull sh–t.References :

  • I read this and laughed. It is true and it’s funny. Getting your haircut and styled or whatever…costs alot…why tip?References :

  • If that is how you feel, I hope I never see you in my salon. I went to school for 2 years to learn how to do hair, and we don’t make as much as you seem to think we do. We do not get any sort of hourly pay at all. The only income we have is given to us by our customers. If we are lucky enough to make $500 a week, $125 goes towards booth rent, and about $200 goes towards products (back bar, color, developer, perms, etc.) So we only really get to bring home maybe $200 a week. A tip is not required anywhere you go. It is to show that you appreciate the work that has been done, to show that you like your hair, or you appreciate the prompt service that the waiter/waitress gave you. You need to open up your mind.References : independent, professional hair stylist- 5 years

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