Switching doctors will become more common
My family is one of those that has lost our current insurance plan. And in researching new plans, I’ve found that individual market plans, both on and off the health care exchange, have significantly smaller provider networks.
Our current doctors and hospitals are not “in network” for any of the new plans, so we will have to change.
I understand why the insurance companies need to do this. To keep premiums and out-of-pocket costs even remotely affordable (I still think they are way too high), more expensive doctors and medical centers have to be … Continue reading
Dentist shopping made simple
A few weeks ago I posted that I was in the market for a new family dentist. Because I don’t have dental insurance, I am always looking for ways to keep my dental care within budget.
Friends have recommended several dentists to me, and I have been calling these offices and asking about cash discounts. It’s such a hassle and, frankly, a bit embarrassing. I’m not a haggler by nature.
I’ve gotten a variety of responses from “We aren’t accepting new patients” to “We only offer a new patient, first-time discount” to “We can give … Continue reading
The depression epidemic
I posted last week that prescriptions for antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications have soared in the last 20 years.
I like to blame the pharmaceutical companies that reap the huge profits, but the relentless output of bleak news from the media sure doesn’t help. Political scandals and inertia, the economic roller coaster, global warming (or do we call it climate change?) resulting in natural disasters, terrorists, international crises, racial tensions, gun violence, and on and on and on…
And then I read an article in the Los Angeles Times entitled “Facebook may be making you hate life, study … Continue reading
Surfing for health care information on the internet
I read a great post on the health blog KevinMD last week that encouraged health care professionals to provide patients with tips on how to use the internet to find credible health care information.
I use the internet a lot, and I know there are hundreds of popular websites promoting health-related information. How do you know which sites contain reliable information, which sites just want to sell you something, and which sites might be complete quackery?
Tips for internet surfing
The author of the KevinMD post outlined three ways to evaluate a … Continue reading
The cyberchondriac. Cyberchondia is a term that’s been coined to describe a person who self-diagnoses using the internet, and then experiences acute anxiety when confronted with the grim details of possible afflictions.
Rash? Probably lupus. Upset stomach? Stomach cancer, of course.
I’ve done it. Admit it, you’ve done it, too.
WebMD’s Symptom Checker feature is so inconclusive in its results that it’s basically useless. For example, submit “headache” and after a few more refining questions you still get a list of over 50 possible conditions that have headache as a symptom. Migraine and tension headache are at the … Continue reading
Feeling sick? Sore throat? Runny nose? Fever?
How do you know if you or your kids have a normal cold or a more serious case of influenza, the ‘flu’?
In general, flu presents with more everything—a sorer throat, a higher fever, achier joints, a more severe headache. I have had the flu once in my life and I still remember how awful I felt. I’ve had dozens of ordinary colds and don’t remember them at all.
Treatment for both colds and flu is typically the same: rest, fluids and pain relievers for the aches and pains.
However, it is a … Continue reading