Healthcare Cheatsheets

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:

  1. Keeping insurance network listings up to date. So you didn’t have to call to confirm that a doctor was still in network.
  2. Keeping track of the on call specialists at hospital emergency rooms and what insurance networks they belonged to.
  3. Providing checklists of what questions to ask for various types of visits. Because most of us will only need to know this once.