THE NEW HEALTH CARE
By MARGOT SANGER-KATZ
FEBRUARY 6, 2015
Imagine you’re a Medicare patient, and you go to your doctor for an ultrasound of your heart one month. Medicare pays your doctor’s office $189, and you pay about 20 percent of that bill as a co-payment.
Then, the next month, your doctor’s practice has been bought by the local hospital. You go to the same building and get the same test from the same doctor, but suddenly the price has shot up to $453, as has your share of the bill.
Patients around the country are getting that unpleasant surprise, as more and more doctors’ offices are being bought by hospitals. Medicare, the government health insurance program for those 65 and over or the disabled, pays one price to independent doctors and
another to doctors who work for large health systems — even if they are performing the exact same service in the exact same place.
At the Medical Clinics of Big Sky we understand that health care in our community is undergoing dramatic change. We believe that expanding provider choice and making advanced diagnostic capabilities available to patients is can be a very positive event. However, with the unending increases health insurance premiums coupled with corresponding increases in patient deductibles, communities should expect that expanded choice and more services will also result in changes in the costs of their individual care.
This blog is intended to create a forum for patients and community members to discuss and evaluate this evolving situation.