The ideoplex household visited the emergency room last month. Healthcare costs are supposed to come down with the new high deductible health plans - we’re supposed to do a better job of comparison shopping once we have skin in the game. Based upon our experience, I think people are going to need some help.
The emergency room is the worst possible place for comparison shopping. You’re already under stress. You ping-pong between waiting to hear from the doctors and trying to understand what the doctors are talking about. It wasn’t easy to stay in-network, much less think about comparison shopping. We had access to wifi, but just about all the pages had disclaimers that you needed to confirm network coverage. And of course, I had go outside to get decent cell coverage.
I’m a believer in cheatsheets and checklists. Do standard thinking in advance, so you can focus on what’s actually different. I would think that there is money to be made by:
- Keeping insurance network listings up to date. So you didn’t have to call to confirm that a doctor was still in network.
- Keeping track of the on call specialists at hospital emergency rooms and what insurance networks they belonged to.
- Providing checklists of what questions to ask for various types of visits. Because most of us will only need to know this once.