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Old 11-03-2006, 02:47 PM
annapurna annapurna is offline
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: northern Utah
Posts: 37
Default Insurance companies definitely in it for the $$$


I could not agree with you more!!! It's great that someone studying the business world agrees with what I've always felt to be true. I no longer trust my insurance company to do ANYTHING in my best interest. I pay around $1000 per year for my company-sponsored HMO and feel happy when they pay for anything at all. Since it's an HMO, they won't pay for ANY medical care I receive outside of the state of Utah - period. Additionally, they have gotten more and more reluctant to pay for my pain management, diagnostic imaging, and physical therapy.

At the same time, I understand their need to make a profit. They do have responsibilities to their share-holders. On the flip side, we as patients need to have some recourse when an insurance company prevents us from getting the "surgery we need" as Mark put it.

While few of us have the financial wherewithal to simply self-fund all of our spine care needs, there are ways we can excercise some degree of independence from the insurance companies:

1) Take charge of your back and your life and assess how much of your own money you're willing to spend on your spine. As long as we refuse to even consider paying for things on our own, we are totally at the mercy of the insurance companies.

2) Vote for state and federal legislators who support the rights of medical practitioners to give substantial cash discounts (like 50% or more) to uninsured or underinsured patients.

3) Take FULL advantage of tax-deferred medical savings plans available to both employees and the self-employed or retired. The IRS has several new types available to meet many different health-care needs.

4) Save money in the currency you will need. Since the US dollar seems to be on a never-ending slide, it may make sense to save money in Euros if you know you are likely to be going to Europe for surgery in the future. This approach may also result in lower currency exchange fees when you actually pay.

5) Read and understand EVERYTHING in your country's tax code the pertains to medical tax deductions. You would be amazed at the number of things that are deductible including travel, lodging, braces, computerized medical records transcription, and some patient advocacy services. It all adds up!

6) If travel will be necessary, start saving up airline miles to reduce flight costs. This can make a big difference if overseas business-class travel is required.

These are the little strategies that have worked for me - I'm sure that there are more. Best to all.

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