Three times this year my family has had to do the medical insurance search thing. First we began with the annual issue of seeing whether or not our current plan still worked for us or if there was anything that we wanted to change, add or remove from our policy through my husband’s employer. Following that was the moment my husband was bought out by another company after 15 years with his previous company and we had to choose a new health insurance plan. Only two weeks later, he was offered his dream job and we had to choose a new health insurance policy yet again. Thankfully, while it’s expensive to pay for it each month, it’s inexpensive for us to actually see the doctor. A low copay and out-of-pocket expenses make it worthwhile for us to pay a little more each month for our premium with four kids to care for.
Unfortunately, it’s not always affordable to see the doctor. There was a point in time when our insurance policy was so bad – immediately following the enactment of Obamacare – that we paid three times as much for our policy each month and had less than half the coverage that we previously have. Our deductible shot to more than 10 times what it had been, and we had to pay for everything out-of-pocket until our brand new $10,000 deductible was met before our coinsurance kicked it. It was pricey, and we immediately began looking for a better policy somewhere else. Thankfully, we found it and we are much happier now. However, we weren’t going to the doctor unless someone was pretty much dying.
That’s the sad truth for many American families these days. The cost of seeing the doctor is so high for families that they are skipping their appointments. It might sound like a good thing, since we all know that some people go to the doctor entirely too much for every single sneeze and cough; but it’s not always a good thing. Kids are sicker longer, adults are missing more and more work, and our lives are suffering because of the cost of skipping out on doctor appointments. I cannot stress to you enough that I can’t change the rising cost of healthcare, but I can stress to you that skipping out on the doctor regularly to save some money might be more expensive than just paying for the appointment.
Missing out on work
The most obvious reason you should not skip out on the doctor is the fact that you will miss out on work. Americans are using more and more of their sick days, personal days and vacation days to stay home and nurse illnesses that could have been easily treated with a simple prescription, and it’s costing everyone. It’s costing the employer you work for, which means they have less funds with which to offer raises every year. It’s costing you the time you want to use to see your kids in their Christmas plays or to visit family or to take off in case of an emergency. It’s pricey.
If you’re not seeing the doctor, you’re not catching things before they become a problem. Imagine being diagnosed with a serious health issue and finding out that if you had visited the doctor when you first noticed the issue, things might have been a bit less stressful to deal with. Now it’s too late for that, and you’re paying even more for treatment and for potential health issues than you would have if you’d gone to the doctor earlier.
Your overall quality of life
When you don’t see the doctor for the things that bother you, your overall quality of life is destined to decline. It’s not always the case for many, but not seeing the doctor for things such as postpartum depression, depression, anxiety, stress, chronic pain and more can cause your overall quality of life to change for the worse. You are unhappy, unable to find relief, and unable to do many of the things you are so accustomed to doing in your life.
Your family also suffers. When you are unable to treat the issues that plague you, you are unable to care for your family in the manner they need to be cared for; this means that they all suffer. The high cost of health insurance is ridiculous, and we do understand that you might not be able to afford it. However, we can offer you a piece of advice; ask the doctor ahead of time what the cost will be and offer cash upfront. Many offices are happy to have your cash and won’t hesitate to see you for a set fee upfront when you come into the office. Many are happy to flat out bypass your insurance for a basic examination, and it might be far more cost-effective for you.
Photo by Getty Images