Saving money when you are referred to a surgeon
How to save your healthcare expenses and still receive top quality care.
When you are referred to a specialist for surgery by your primary care physician, it is natural to assume that he or she has your best interest in mind and wants you to receive the best care possible from the most qualified surgeon they know. However, many patients are unaware that their primary care physician may be motivated by something other than their genuine desire to help their patients.
Recent changes in healthcare resulted in hospitals and large hospital systems buying primary care and specialist practices, forming a large network of doctors, all working for the same system. Any corporation is seeking to make a profit and hospital corporations are no different. Primary care physicians, whose practices are owned by hospital systems are no longer free to refer patients to any specialist they want, instead they must refer to the surgical specialists within their hospital systems. Sometimes these surgical specialists are not the best doctors to handle your condition. Also, frequently they are not the most cost effective. This referrals can potentially cost you extra in out of network fees, copays as well as numerous tests.
As a patient, you naturally tend to trust your primary care physician and their opinion. Nowadays, you also have to be an educated consumer to get the best care and to save money.
These are just some questions to ask you primary care physician when they refer you to a specialist:
- 1. Is the primary care practice owned by a hospital or a large healthcare system?
- 2. Is the surgical practice you are being referred to also a part of the same system?
- 3. Are all the specialists you are referred to in network with your insurance?
- 4. What are the reason you are being referred to that specific specialist other than that they are part of the same system as your primary care physician?
Finally, do your own homework and get a second opinion from a surgeon who is not affiliated with your primary care doctor.