Since the Affordable Cares Act, casually referred to as Obamacare, passed in 2010 it seems that the topic of health insurance has become more popular in day-to-day conversation. With the rise of health care prices in the United States in the past decade, more and more people are suffering from inadequate medical treatment or avoiding seeking medical treatment at all. In 2017 The Commonwealth Fund released a research report on health care costs from 11 different countries. According to their data analysis the United States had the most expensive health care system in the world and ranked the lowest of the 11 countries for quality of care, access to care, and health outcomes. Part of this study involved a survey given to American citizens in regards to their health care and to no surprise ⅓ responded saying that they either didn’t take a prescribed medication, seek medical attention when sick or injured, or receive recommended care because it was too expensive.
So who is to blame for this? Most people’s first response is typically to blame doctors and medical providers for charging too much, but that is not the case. The hidden reality is that private and government insurance companies run the show, not medical providers, and certainly not patients in need of help. Commercial insurance companies have been turning health care into a profitable business since the 1950s by controlling both sides, selling insurance to patients to help pay for their medical care, while at the same time offering medical providers more money in reimbursement if they follow certain regulations.
Insurance companies are masters at marketing their financial assistance to potential patients. They offer these enticing benefits and financial assistance to patients and then set requirements about where these benefits can be used. At the same time they are marketing to different hospitals and private practices, showing how they will receive financial reimbursements and be able to treat more patients if they sign a contract with them to become an “in-network provider”.
So far this sounds great for everyone, so why is the quality of care for patients declining and the cost of insurance rising? Insurance companies create a fee schedule that outlines reimbursement rates and treatment requirements for in-network providers and as they alter the providers’ reimbursement rates and treatment requirements, the providers must adjust their treatments accordingly.
Some of the most common complaints about doctors or medical providers are that patients wait for an excessive amount of time to see their provider and when they finally enter the patient’s room they don’t appear to be truly listening to the patient or make eye contact with them while they are talking. Then they speed through explaining their treatment plan to the patient and then leave the room, not to be seen again by the patient. It feels as if they just waited hours for 15 minutes with their provider. This is not always the provider’s fault!
At this point you may be thinking to yourself “but what about the Affordable Cares Act? I thought that was supposed to fix the problems of our health care system!” Since it was signed into action in 2010 it has absolutely helped people receive health insurance who wouldn’t normally qualify for coverage by commercial insurance companies due to medical conditions or predispositions for illnesses or diseases. Insurance companies have been forced to accept “high risk” patients, often referred to as “expensive” patients by insurance companies. To supplement these extra expenses that they have to pay for these “high risk” patients, insurance companies raise the price of other clients’ plan deductibles and copay rates.
In recent years, more and more private practices are opting out of signing contracts with insurance companies. These Cash Only practices, also known as Cash-Pay practices, are maintaining their freedom to treat patients their way. Cash Only is a blanket term, simply meaning that patients pay out of pocket at the time of service. Most Cash Only providers accept multiple forms of payment, including cash, credit, debit, and HSA or FSA. Some even accept healthcare credit cards like CareCredit.
The key benefit here is that there is no third-party payer (insurance companies) involved to complicate a patient’s quality of care or a provider’s ability to treat their patient. Cash Only providers have complete freedom in: how much time they spend with their patients, the number of patients they see each day, how they want to treat their patients, and the rate they charge for their services. They have the freedom to do what they went to years of medical school for and are truly passionate about: caring for people and improving every patient’s life.
Just because Cash Only providers don’t accept insurance as a form of payment doesn’t mean you can’t use your insurance at all. There is a document called a Superbill that you can submit to your insurance company to potentially be partially or fully reimbursed for services you received at a Cash Only practice. If you are tech savvy there are online softwares that can be used to create a Superbill to send in to your insurance. Some Cash Only providers even offer the service to create the Superbill for you, so you can skip the hassle of doing it yourself.
Recharge Clinic offers this service to our patients, collecting all required information to create a detailed invoice, including information regarding the date and type of service provided, procedure and diagnostic codes, and the price of each service paid for by the patient. Once submitted, the amount of money reimbursed to the patient solely depends on the type of coverage they have through their insurance. Since Recharge Clinic has opted out of Medicare to avoid government regulations for treatment options and patient care, patients will receive no reimbursement for any services received if they try to submit a Superbill to their Medicare insurance payer.
If you’re willing to take the time to submit a Superbill, then you can receive all of the benefits that a Cash Only provider has to offer and still have the potential to put that price insurance premium that you pay each month to good use; including fast and convenient blood draws and lab work, appointments with a provider that has the time and freedom to care for you and your health goals, and the power to take care of your medical care.
Make the switch today to a Cash Only practice like Recharge Clinic for better health care! Regardless of your health insurance coverage status, seeing a Cash Only provider is the best decision you can make if you want to: build a trusting relationship with your medical care provider, address and treat the root causes of your concerns, and receive innovative and impactful treatments to achieve your lifelong health and wellness goals.