Book Review: Healthcare on a Budget
If you are confused about the healthcare system in the United States, you are not alone. Saving money in this healthcare system is important for all of us, but many of us do not know how. So I am writing a review about the book “Healthcare on a Budget” by Dr. Linda M. Petter.
This explains how the healthcare system works from a doctor’s perspective and provides inside secrets, solid money-savings tips and health advice. The best thing about this book is that you do not need any professional degree or experience to understand. The tips are simple and can be used by anyone.
Dr. Linda Petter, who is a family practice physician in the Seattle area, is passionate about empowering consumers with common sense health care advice and money-saving tips. In this book, she explains what is wrong with the US healthcare system, how it can be fixed, what the healthcare reform bill is about and how insurance companies work. This understanding helps build a foundation if you want to save money in the short run as well as the long run. This system does not have to be a black box that we as consumers take it for granted.
There are several useful tips to save money in this book. For example, you can easily save money by scheduling diagnostic tests and procedures such as X-rays, blood work and CT scans at a non-hospital facility. Hospitals won’t tell you this. Since it is convenient to get the test done at the same place, it is hard to reject the offer for tests at the hospital. However, if you knew that cost savings could be as high as 75%, would you consider getting the test done at a different location?
Another interesting tip I liked was about using the hospital emergency room wisely. You can easily save money by scheduling an appointment with a primary care doctor. You may have experienced this yourself if you have compared the cost of emergency rooms and primary care physician. The savings can be as high as 80%.
If you do not have insurance, you can also negotiate with your doctor. Doctors have more flexibility with prices if they understand your financial condition. Since most of us do not know that we can negotiate with our doctors, this is valuable information. Most doctors sincerely care about their patients, and they are willing to help them if they are in true financial need. For example, they are either willing to offer discounts or negotiate a payment arrangement if you do not have enough cash upfront.
Several free health clinics exist as well. To find those clinics, you can check the local newspaper and message boards for health fairs. Also, some medical and dental teaching schools are more than happy to offer free services because this gives student doctors an opportunity to practice and learn.
The chapter about insurance tips is very helpful as well. I am a big fan of Health Savings Account (HSA) myself and this book also recommends a high-deductible plan such as HSA. It is important to be an informed healthcare consumer because this can save you lots of money. The key with insurance plans is to understand what each plan covers. If there is a particular medical procedure that you want to go through, it is smart to check with insurance first just in case this procedure is not covered.
The book also provides several home remedy tips for common illnesses. Sometimes people get freaked out about minor illnesses and make unnecessary appointments with their doctors. Over-the-counter supplements such as echinacea, zinc and airborne may help cure some illnesses such as common cold. Eating healthy food, sleep and drinking lots of water can also boost the immune system and prevent illnesses.
“Healthcare on a Budget” is a useful book for anyone trying to get a basic understanding of the health care system to save money. Most healthcare consumers do not know what options they have if they are uninsured or do not have money. If you just got laid off, what is the best way to get medical treatment on a budget? The book provides answers and great health tips for a budget-conscious person.