I’ve had a couple of self-pay patients let me know about their own experiences, one of them a user of telemedicine services, another using a prescription drug discount card, and a third on how people who pay their own way without health insurance are often depicted by the media and politicians. I thought I’d pass them along.
The first is from Dustin in Ohio, who is actually a salesman for the Connect2Docs* telemedicine service:
“Well, I finally had to use the service. In the normal course of my work as an insurance consultant, I was in a prospective client’s home discussing their insurance options. They had a dog in their house, which was cordoned off in one part of the house by an in-house fence system.
Not thinking anything of it, and not observing anything out of the ordinary with the dog during my time with this couple, I stopped at the door on my way out to thank the couple for their time. I didn’t notice that I had gotten close to the fence, but their dog did. Before I realized what was happening, the dog had thrust his head through the fence and bit me in the leg. He ripped through my pants and drew blood with about half a dozen teeth. Fortunately, he didn’t get quite close enough to clamp down on my leg, and I was able to get away from his reach quickly.
The dog’s owner assured me that his dog had had the necessary vaccinations, I decided I didn’t want to leave my health in the hands of a stranger, nice and apologetic though he was.
This incident occurred at approximately 7:30pm on a Monday evening, and this particular week I had a mandatory training class from 9am-6pm every day, so going to my primary care physician wasn’t feasible. At 11:30pm the following evening, I logged onto my Ameridoc portal [note: Connect2Docs uses Ameridoc for the telemedicine portion of its bundle of services] via Connect2Docs and requested a diagnostic phone consultation.
At 11:50pm, I received a call from a physician who was able to prescribe an antibiotic to ensure that any bacterial infection would clear up. Not only that, but the physician also advised me on several ancillary issues, including checking to make sure my own vaccinations were current, as well as contacting the local animal control authorities, who will verify that the dog has actually had the vaccinations that the owner claimed.”
Another member of Connect2Docs, Jerry in Michigan, shared the following story:
My mom had been diagnosed with a case of shingles, which she had on her forehead. She was prescribed an anti-viral medication that she was to take for the next ten days. When I went to the local CVS pharmacy, I was told that the prescription was expensive and would be $167.00.
I presented my Connect2Docs pharmacy card to the pharmacy attendant and asked her to key in the info and see what discount I might receive. She agreed and came back to the counter a minute later, stating, “This card rocks!” I asked her what she meant and she said that I had received $100.00 off the price of the medication and would now only owe the $67.00. She couldn’t believe it! It was a great testimony to the power of the Connect2Docs pharmacy program and the savings it can provide.
As far as my brother-in-law, George in Alaska, is concerned, I know that he has some regular medication that he renews monthly and he is receiving a full 50% off this medicine by using his Connect2Docs card. He’s thrilled. With his savings on monthly meds, he completely pays for his monthly Connect2Docs membership and is still $10.00 to the positive!
Finally, Elizabeth in Missouri writes in to share her thoughts:
Discussions about health care often paint people who carry no health insurance as bums who are free loaders, gaming the system, and getting free health care at others’ expense. As a long-time, self-pay patient, I am offended by these generalizations.
For most of my adult life I have been self-employed and have chosen not to carry health insurance. I prefer to be self-pay. And, yes, I do actually pay for all of my medical care. In all these years I have paid all of my medical bills in full and in a timely manner, usually at the time of service.
The most common argument I hear is, “that may be fine for now, but what if you get cancer. You’ll be bankrupt and we’ll all be paying for you.” Actually, I have been treated for, not one, but two primary cancers: melanoma (2001) and thyroid cancer (2009). Both required surgery, hospital stays, and radiation treatment, which was rather expensive. Fortunately, I had been saving and investing all these years, so I was able to pay all these bills upon receipt without even dipping into my home equity line of credit.
I was really glad that I was not dependent on health insurance, when the only treatment option I was offered in my home town of St Louis, MO was the removal of my eye for my choroidal melanoma. I am so happy that I did not have to beg some insurance representative for the treatment of my choice. I simply took myself to Philadelphia to The Wills Eye Hospital, where my cancer was treated and my eye was saved.
Of course, I carry insurance on my car and my homes, but I will never have an insurance company involved in my health. I refuse to be cast in the roll of a suppliant pleading with an insurance agent for medical care.
…my senator, Claire McCaskill, a big Obamacare supporter, often refers to self-pay and others without health insurance coverage as “free-riders”. In fact, as a self-pay individual, I pay for my own health care plus, through my taxes, the care of Medicaid patients…
It’s always great to share these sorts of stories with my readers, they really demonstrate just how easy can be to get quality, affordable health care outside of the conventional third-party payer system.
One note, several of the self-pay patient stories I’ve featured here and in the past have involved Connect2Docs, a Site Sponsor here at The Self-Pay Patient. Lest anyone think I’m playing favorites (I’m not), the reason is pretty straightforward – they appear to be the one company that has made an effort to get patient stories to me. I’m happy to share any self-pay patient stories regardless of whether the provider involved is a Site Sponsor or not, just send them to me at email@example.com.