Looking For Affordable Medical Care For My Friends

Recently I have had two friends who needed medical care. I could have easily and inexpensively cared for both of them in a medical office. However, I don’t currently have a medical office [they are very expensive to maintain unless you are in full time practice] as my work currently focuses on ecommerce, web design and web development and online marketing. I’ll go over each case.

Today, I’m going to talk about what I learned from the first case. And tomorrow I’ll talk about what I learned from the second case.

The first case involves my friend Joe [not his real name] whom I see almost daily for morning coffee at the local coffee shop.

One morning recently, I saw Joe and he said he had a bad bleach burns on his left wrist and right thumb. I could see that the burn on his left wrist had already developed secondary impetigo.

I couldn’t evaluate the burn on his thumb because he had dressed it himself the night before. He said it was worse than the wrist burn [sounded like it from the way he described it that it could be a deep second degree burn or even a third degree burn]. So I offered to unwrap it, inspect it, and then redress it [after I had gotten dressing suplies from a nearby drug store]. But as he had to go right to work, he said he didn’t have time for any of that.

So, I recommended that he call his family doctor to get checked first thing today.

Joe reported that he couldn’t get into his doctor this week.

I next suggested that he go this morning to an urgent care center.

He said that he could not afford to. That an urgent care center visit would cost him $300 as he had no insurance.

Although my friend works full time and makes a little over $30,000 a year he said that it was cheaper for him to pay the Obamacare penalty tax than to carry health insurance which he said would cost him much more than he could afford. He had been carrying health insurance but it cost him $480 a month.

Because I’m lucky and have excellent insurance (much better than many of my friends who are stuck with very high deductible plans) I didn’t realize how expensive urgent care is for persons without insurance.

I checked the price for an uninsured patient at an urgent care center next to my coffee shop.

The nurse practitioner at that center said that for an uninsured patient the visit for my friend with a burn would be a minimum of $150 and that the burn dressing would be an additional $100.

After I saw my friend, it occurred to me that perhaps the nurse practioner clinic at CVS would charge less. The nurse practioner’s CVS office was closed when I visited but according to price information on the office display, it looked like the charge for my uninsured friend’s visit would have been $109 to $129 plus the burn dressing (I don’t know how much that would be.)

I visited a local hospital emergency department and was told that an emergency department visit for an uninsured patient started at $620 for the basic evaluation. All labs, imaging and therapy are additional charges.

I saw my friend several days later and both burns were healing well without medical care (but he was lucky as the thumb burn could have developed a severe preventable complication).

So one of my current projects is finding out where an uninsured patient in Indianapolis can go for affordable urgent care. I’ll be reporting on what I find out in upcoming posts.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about the second case that involved another friend.

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