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Why don’t you take insurance?



Short answer is that I want to get to know YOU!


Long story about healthcare and insurance…


The average MD/DO within the insurance model spends 5 minutes face-to-face with you, the patient. 1 This gives very little time to really understand your health issues and your background which leads to over prescribing of potentially harmful medication. Ultimately leading to never getting to the root cause(s) that are preventing you from leading a happy, healthy life.


This is not to bad mouth MDs/DOs, they are healthcare practitioners that want to help, but they are bound by the insurance model that prevents them from providing optimal healthcare in a primary care setting.


A couple years ago, my grandfather-in-law was diagnosed with leukemia, and I sat in on one of his oncology appointments. To my surprise, the oncologist spent 27 minutes talking with him. They had a great bedside manner, answered all the questions, and had a very honest conversation with him regarding his diagnosis.


When was the last time you spent 27 minutes with your primary care doctor?


I have literally never experienced this prior to becoming a naturopathic doctor. Now, my primary care doc spends at least 1 hour with me. She knows me, my family and about my lifestyle in detail.


Understanding you as an individual, your risk factors and your stresses helps me better care for you.


But what about the money you give to your insurance company every month for healthcare?


The average cost of health insurance in Colorado for a single person is $350/mo. 2 And for a family of four in 2020, the average monthly cost of health insurance is $1,427/mo. 2 Let’s not forget copays and deductibles. Insurance companies make more money when you’re sick. This includes but is not limited to, expensive tests, imaging and the ‘need’ for fancy new (recently patented = $$$$) medications.


So where the heck does all the money you pay go every month? Every $1 out of $4 spent on healthcare in the US is wasted on improper testing, fraud and poor communication. 3 That is 25% of your hard-earned money lost in the abyss of the medical industrial complex.


Most hourly visits with naturopathic doctors range from $150-$500, with initial visits costing a bit more than hourly to dig into your personal medical history. With our extensive training in both conventional medicine and natural health, we are well-equipped to be primary care doctors for you and your family. We understand the value of medications and surgery, when used appropriately. As well as botanical medicine, homeopathy, counseling and bodywork in everyday health matters.


Why do you cost so much out of pocket?


Well, for one - naturopathic medical schools are not funded by the pharmaceutical industry nor the nutraceutical industry (supplements). And in school while I was a student, we weren’t even allowed to be educated on our professors' preferred supplement brands to prevent conflicts of interest.


All the NDs I know and MDs/DOs I know all want to help YOU get well.


Some of us have chosen to work outside of the insurance model to provide better care to you without the strings of an insurance company dictating what is and isn’t appropriate healthcare for you and your family.


Let me remind you that insurance companies do not have your health in mind, it is saving them money.


For example, say you have a sprained ankle – we have already ruled out a broken one via clinical judgment. You need an MRI to make sure there isn’t a tear in your ligaments or tendons. Well insurance companies REQUIRE you to get an X-Ray first before the MRI regardless of your doctor’s clinical judgment. How the heck does that make sense?!


Did you know that most NDs get paid a quarter of what MDs/DOs do on average for a primary care visit?


If the average primary care office visit for an MD is charged at $110, the doctor will receive about half of that from the insurance company and a small portion of the copay for the patient.4 With a grand total of about $41 from the insurance company, that’s barely enough to fill my sedan’s gas tank these days. Not to mention that as an ND I would get maybe $10.


Therefore, regular doctors in the insurance model need to see 15-20+ patients a day on top of all the paperwork that goes into each of those patients. My time is better spent on researching new treatments for your health to provide you with the best clinical outcomes possible.


But $250 an hour is A LOT of money!


Is it though? You are paying at least that much a month for health insurance you aren’t pleased with for doctors that don’t have time to listen to you and learn about your health.


Some insurance companies make it seem like you are getting more for your money when they give you a health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA). But are you really paying that much a month to your insurance company to get “extra” benefits??


So yes it seems like a lot of money out of pocket at first, but when you break it down to the quality of care, the personalized treatment plans and the root cause of healing – it’s totally worth it!


If I charge $250 an hour, you could see me just about twice a month for the cost of your health insurance premium. You would receive substantially better care and have someone one your health care team that listens to you and treats you like you have a brain! Let that sink in for a minute.


Where we spend $$ without even thinking about it


Amazon

Guilty. Really the only thing I try to purchase from Amazon are books. But we live in a rural area and some things aren’t easily accessible (like our preferred cat litter). So, we do purchase some things from Amazon. Did you know that the average person spends $600 a year on Amazon and prime members spend $1400 a year.5 Those numbers surprised me but at the same time, they make it so easy to have things delivered right to your doorstep.



Eating Out

I love to eat out with my husband at a nice restaurant and have a cocktail or two! Average cost of a date night out in Colorado is $110.6 That number is from pre-pandemic data and I have a suspicious feeling that the number has increased to cover staffing shortages and raised expenses.



Beauty Services

When I used to color my hair, I would spend about $300 at the Salon every 6 weeks! That was back when I was a redhead and it took a lot of effort. Lest we forget manis and pedis on a weekly basis especially if you have acrylics or gels. Average cost of gel nails - $45 a week or just under $200 a month.



Outdoor Equipment and Other Toys

Outdoor playtime is some of my favorite time. We all have activities we love and are willing to spend that extra dollar to get the nicer piece of equipment. For example, stand up paddle boards average about $800 as well as a season ski pass here in Colorado. That’s minimum 5 visits to the mountain to cover the cost of your pass.


Now again, I’m not saying don’t go play. If you’re willing to drop that much money for recreation, you can create room in your budget for your health.



Car Maintenance

In college I often joked that my car had better healthcare than I did. New tires are about $400 for all seasons on a sedan, and more if you have an SUV or truck. Hopefully your vehicle runs smoothly but car troubles can range from $700-$4,500 at the drop of a hat. Not to mention car insurance and regular monthly maintenance like tire rotation, alignment, oil changes and new wiper blades.


Low income


For those of you that are working with lower income, I’m not suggesting that families who are barely getting by forgo eating dinner or paying for their car maintenance to get healthcare services out of pocket. This blog is not about low-income populations.


I will say though, as someone who grew up in poverty on Medicaid and lived in section 8 housing – I get it, believe me. Government healthcare can be beneficial for lower income families.


However, in my experience as someone that had several chronic illnesses (asthma, allergies, IBS, chronic gastritis, mental health issues, eczema etc.) growing up and lived on 8-15 medications at any moment after age 12, the government was making considerable money on my family and I. We were prescribed the newest medications (remember patent = more $$$$) and expensive procedures. We also dealt with long waits, doctors that didn’t even look you in the eye and quick diagnoses without proper follow ups. This left me sicker than ever.


There is a time and a place for regular doctors and insurance. In my case, I didn’t start getting well until I started paying out of pocket. I didn’t have a family to feed, but I worked a lot to make the money I needed to seek out the health professionals I knew I required guidance from in order to get well.


Every dollar was spent wisely.


Short story about the insurance model….


The insurance model ties doctors' hands from providing YOU with the best healthcare possible by dictating what they can and cannot do for your health.


They pay doctors nothing for their time and charge you an arm and a leg for crappy insurance.


Truly, the only thing that the insurance model is good for is if you have a terrible accident that lands you in the hospital. Then you will likely need surgery and a stay in the hospital for emergency procedures.


By seeking preventative health care and doctors that get to the real reason you are sick in the first place, you are betting on yourself to be well and healthy.


Your health insurance company doesn’t want you well. They get paid more when you have expensive patented medications that cover up your symptoms and don’t treat the cause(s) of your illnesses.


You are responsible for your health, not your insurance company or myself.


Wouldn’t you rather support a small business owner who keeps your hard-earned dollars in your local community and get healthy along the way? In the end, the money you spent with your local naturopathic doctor comes back around to you as they become more and more educated in ways to keep you healthy and thriving. This is the personalization that we’re missing in the medical world today.


So are you ready to schedule your first visit and transform your health?



References

  1. Tai-Seale, M., McGuire, T. G., & Zhang, W. (2007). Time allocation in primary CARE office visits. Health Services Research, 42(5), 1871–1894. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-6773.2006.00689.x

  2. How much does health insurance cost per month? HealthMarkets. (n.d.). https://www.healthmarkets.com/content/health-insurance-cost-per-month.

  3. Young, K. D. (2020, July 26). Much of US healthcare Spending Wasteful, researchers say. Medscape. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/919632.

  4. Belk, D. (2020, March 14). Office billing. True Cost of Healthcare. https://truecostofhealthcare.org/outpatient_charges/.

  5. Houston, J. (2020, October 13). Prime day deals aren't the only way Amazon gets you to spend more. here are 13 of the company's sneaky tricks. Business Insider. https://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-prime-members-spend-more-money-sneaky-ways-2019-9#:~:text=The%20average%20Amazon%20customer%20spends,They%20spend%20%241%2C400%20each.

  6. Cook, M. (2018, September 19). How much a date costs in every state. Insider. https://www.insider.com/cost-of-dating-in-each-state-2018-9#a-date-in-colorado-costs-10912-6.


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