FOX31 Investigates: No credit card, n...

FOX31 Investigates: No credit card, no doctor's appointment

There are 48 comments on the Fox 31 KDVR story from Feb 18, 2010, titled FOX31 Investigates: No credit card, no doctor's appointment. In it, Fox 31 KDVR reports that:

Jodi Holstein is in good health and pays thousands of dollars for health insurance, but that's not good enough for her Westminster doctor.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Fox 31 KDVR.

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Nancy Lathrop

Berthoud, CO

#1 Feb 18, 2010
It's incredible that this is actually a story. Paying for services up front is not unusual. If someone usually pays their bills on time, they will not have any objection to doing this. It's a good business practice.
Angela

Denver, CO

#2 Feb 18, 2010
I see the doctor's side of it but also they need to know that we as patients still want to be handled with care & most doctors are doing that anymore. My doctor who knew I lost my job, no insurance & was receiving free assistance from my health care due to its urgency wouldn't give me a copy of my medical records without making & paying for an appointment out of pocket to see her when I barely saw her for most of visits... Let's just say that Dr Margaret Eagen has lost her doctors touch. I had been with this doctor for bout 9 yrs. I had to have my current doctor do a medical request.
Mark

Denver, CO

#3 Feb 18, 2010
There is no reason for a doctor to do this with the majority of their patients. If the doctor charges the contracted rate that they have with the insurance company (like they are supposed to), and the patient pays the copay - there is nothing left to bill the patient. IF the doctor is charging for services that may not be covered, they should notify the patient ahead of time.
I understand that doctors spend alot of time and money trying to collect from insurance companies and then from the patient. IF it's in the open to start with, there is no need to blindside the patient at the door with a request for a credit card. By the same token, patients need to know their insurance policies inside / out.
claire

Denver, CO

#4 Feb 18, 2010
So you're demonizing doctors b/c they want to get paid? A medical practice is a business like any other and cash flow is key.

I found it interesting that the person interviewed said her family is healthy. That has nothing to do with whether your insurance will pay a claim. Many insurances don't cover preventive care at all or have high deductibles which the patient is responsible for.

When you take care of 1000's of patients, most pay but even if 10% don't that's a huge cost that doctors can't support. A patient who always pays on time should be happy for this policy b/c it means their doctor will likely stay in business and they will still receive health care.
sane1

Littleton, CO

#6 Feb 18, 2010
I also was being seen at West med. But after the billing department charged my credit card for services that the insurance company said was NOT my responsibility. And the nasty woman who bills told me I didn't see a bill because I signed up for email notifications. I dumped that worthless place and found a new provider. I love the nurses and some of the staff. But I'm glad my Dr Retired. Good Luck to you Dr. Ford
Judy

Littleton, CO

#7 Feb 18, 2010
Its amazing, you pay for your grocerys you dont get a bill for them. You pay for your gas right there you dont get a bill for that. Healthcare is a business. They have office staff and bills to pay just like everyone else. Dr Gore was very right in saying, the problem is between you and your insurance. The insurance is not ours, its yours.
Jeff L

Denver, CO

#8 Feb 18, 2010
I find it ironic that so many value money over people when in reality, no people equals no money.

Sometimes the only power we mere citizens have is the power to choose where we spend our money.

You have the freedom to run your business as you see fit and I am free to spend my money elsewhere!
Billing Office

Aurora, CO

#9 Feb 19, 2010
I work for a Family Practice and we too have had to change our collection policy this year. We now collect copays, deductibles, and coinsurance at the time of a patient's visit. We have found that the only patients that object to this practice are the ones that don't pay us after receiving their bills anyway!
Unfortunately in this day and age, more and more patients have high deductibles and coinsurances. At the end of last year we were amazed to find that our patient balance was higher than what the insurance companies owed us.
Most physicians are reluctant to turn their patients to collection so they spend years and a lot of money trying to collect from their patients.
a concerned citizen

United States

#10 Feb 19, 2010
a patient is responsible for all fees that insurance doesn't pay. Get on the phone with the billing department. They are willing to work with you on what you can pay. But if you drop your word with them, and don't pay, then next months bill will double. People that don't pay would rather go and spend that $40.00 on misc items. Around tax time, that's all I see people spending their money, on misc items, and I bet they all have doctor bills to pay, but chose not to. So, yes, doctors can do this, I don't blame them one bit. I had surgery 1 yr ago today, and now I can say, I've paid all my doctor bills, that my insurance didn't cover. Again, people chose not to pay their bills, now they will be forced to.
Weeb

Denver, CO

#11 Feb 19, 2010
Maybe it's time to look for another insurance company.
PDBoy

United States

#12 Feb 19, 2010
They're all a pack of quacks. That's why I don't go see them.
Judy

Littleton, CO

#13 Feb 19, 2010
Billing Office wrote:
I work for a Family Practice and we too have had to change our collection policy this year. We now collect copays, deductibles, and coinsurance at the time of a patient's visit. We have found that the only patients that object to this practice are the ones that don't pay us after receiving their bills anyway!
Unfortunately in this day and age, more and more patients have high deductibles and coinsurances. At the end of last year we were amazed to find that our patient balance was higher than what the insurance companies owed us.
Most physicians are reluctant to turn their patients to collection so they spend years and a lot of money trying to collect from their patients.
billing office,
According to others we are nuts. I will be happy to be a nut with you.
Sally

Littleton, CO

#14 Feb 19, 2010
sane1 wrote:
I also was being seen at West med. But after the billing department charged my credit card for services that the insurance company said was NOT my responsibility. And the nasty woman who bills told me I didn't see a bill because I signed up for email notifications. I dumped that worthless place and found a new provider. I love the nurses and some of the staff. But I'm glad my Dr Retired. Good Luck to you Dr. Ford
I have been a patient here for years and the billing office was very easy to work with. According to the policy they have to notify you some way. They have not run my card with out permission, and I have no problem paying for my doctors time.
happy

Pueblo, CO

#15 Feb 19, 2010
It would be hard with HSA's to know what the actual cost would be, since they mediate fees and people use the spending acct's and have to account for them at tax time. For those folks, I would say find another provider. But I have no problem with co-pays being paid and the docs having a credit card on file, if they explain that when they get paid, they will notify you and charge the card for the difference. But wouldn't it be great if a doc didn't accept any insurances, and just charged a reasonable rate for services at the time of the service? He'd make bundles, and most people would save bundles. You can't do it with the system we have now, but wouldn't it be great if you just needed major med and paid your own way as you needed it?
Bob

Englewood, CO

#16 Feb 19, 2010
I think the issue for me would being asked for the card at the appointment. If it was a change in policy, the office should have sent out a letter explaining it so patients had a chance to decide whether to continue there or find another doctor.
KTC

Westcliffe, CO

#17 Feb 19, 2010
Just wait til Obummer Care gets passed, you will have to leave your first born before getting medical help! America pays more for health care than any nation in the world, I think it's called GREED?
KIm-Thornton

Thomasville, NC

#18 Feb 19, 2010
I see Dr Kirk, and they did the same thing with me
mark

Indianapolis, IN

#19 Feb 19, 2010
you cannot honestly compare medical care to the grocery store or a gas pump! It's not even close. When you step up to the cashier at the grocery store, you know exactly what is in the basket and you've got an idea of the cost. At the doctors office you have no clue. An office visit for a physical may be $250, but the doctor has a contract to only charge $150. They can't charge you for the extra $100. They can only charge the copay. If they run test, then it gets tricky. Unlike the grocery store where you can take things out of the basket if you don't like the price - that isn't an option with your doctor's office. Once they run the test and the insurance pays, they can come to you for the balance of the charges. There are some other things involved with it, but basically you are screwed. Read your policy, understand the policy. Get the doctors to understand the terms of the policy and their contract with your insurance company. You'll save yourself alot of headache.
sfw

Denver, CO

#20 Feb 19, 2010
The problem here is that most people see healthcare as a right.

"I'm sick/hurt - you have what can fix me, you need to do it!"

Sorry Charlie, It doesn't work that way!
Everything that a doctor uses costs them $$, not to mention the training they go through and THEIR insurances. Doctors are bombarded with costs to them that they have to pay or they'd be out of business.
People don't realize how much is actually covered by their insurance. You see a bill that say the Ins. CO. paid $150 - that's small potatoes, but when when the bill says YOU owe $150 - that's big potatoes!

I'm not saying they are justified in their inflexibility to work with their clients. it would seem that a compromise could be reached for clients who always pay on time, after all no clients means no revenue!
know your insurance

Denver, CO

#21 Feb 19, 2010
"you cannot honestly compare medical care to the grocery store or a gas pump! It's not even close. When you step up to the cashier at the grocery store, you know exactly what is in the basket and you've got an idea of the cost. At the doctors office you have no clue. An office visit for a physical may be $250, but the doctor has a contract to only charge $150. They can't charge you for the extra $100. They can only charge the copay. If they run test, then it gets tricky."
mark it is important to know that it is your responsiblity to know how your insurance covers services. Physicians should not order or not order test based on your policy but on medical need. It is imossible to know because not only does each insurance company cover different ways so does EACH POLICY. You are given a policy book when YOU sign up for your insurnce through you HR department. You should know what is paid at what level before coming to your doctor, the fact that as a patient you don't is not your doctors falut. I bet you know if you have windshield replacement on your auto insurance, but don't know how an X-ray is covered by your health insurance.

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