Have a Productive and Affordable Annual Wellness Visit
Even the most reluctant doctor goers know they should at the very least get an annual wellness check-up.
So here’s a guide to a productive and affordable annual wellness visit.
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1. Consider different primary care models and choose the best model for you
Dr. Nundy recently reminded me of the importance of the primary care model matching the patient’s needs and preferences.
Models like Direct Primary Care are built upon a monthly subscription, which allows physicians to better forecast revenues and spend more time with each patient.
Increasing time with patients can improve the relationship, quality, and outcomes.
2. Ask for cash prices
Whether you're a self-pay patient or your plan doesn't offer 100% reimbursement for preventative services - you have the right to shop around for an affordable primary care physician.
An online search for primary care physicians in your area and a few phone calls should give you a better understanding of your options.
When you call the provider ask for their annual visit cash price and for the doctor's NPI#.
3. Read all financial responsibility agreements and don't sign anything that is overreaching
These agreements can trap patients into agreeing to accept whatever price the carrier negotiates, pay whatever they're balance billed, and pay for all services performed.
"You can revise your contracts with all medical providers. We need to be having these conversations about fairness in medical billing... Reward the clinicians who are fair with your business. Shun the price gougers."
4. Avoid in-office testing & labs
Brian Gearhart points out patients are routinely overcharged for in-office diagnostic testing.
He shared a script patients can use to let their doctor know they will have their tests done elsewhere and avoid being overcharged.
“You know Doc our company insurance has something about where we have to get diagnostic work done. Give me the order and I’ll find out where I have to go to get it done so it’s covered.”
This can easily be modified for self-pay or insured patient.
Dan Weissmann offered guidance on how to avoid over-paying for tests and an alternative framing of the question in a recent post.
“When your doc says, “I’d like you to get an XYZ test,” here’s what to ask:
What’s the CPT code for that test, doc?"
And that’s a wrap! Hope this guide and resources are useful as you prepare for your annual wellness visit.
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