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Slashing personal healthcare costs

 
 
dumbstruck
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      07-13-2011, 11:42 PM
Any suggestions for the frugal, esp for those with few med benefits?

- Medical: Esp. with the draconian 2014 requirement on having
insurance looming, am I correct that residents have to hook up with a
company that is registered/permitted in their state? This is the case
here, and means there are very few and very expensive (for the non
affiliated) options. Are other states less restrictive? Are there
national plans that would satisfy the feds even if "banned" by your
state (even traveler plans with limited benefits)?

- Eyecare: I am very picky about accuracy of eyeglass prescriptions,
but have found the ultracheap mail order glasses give equal or better
quality than local expensive ones. I'm talking about places where
frames go as low as $5, lenses about $10, and shipping about $5 with
perfect track records of lense accuracy (unlike local) in a dozen
pair. You do have to tweak frames yourself, but with a little
attention will get it RIGHT, and realize how your expensive frames
were never really right (then you can adjust them too). You need to
pay attention to get frames large enough because bargains tend to be
made in China for their populations dimensions. Of course they have
higher end frames and lenses also which are still great values.

- Dental: This really hits me as a racket that's mainly about revenue
generation - I can imagine their conferences on the subject. After
stepping up my self care and eliminating almost all cavity or gum
issues for years, a variety of dentists have just escalated efforts to
cost me hundreds per year. The flurry of elaborate xrays just never
stops in spite of my protests. They never find anything, but insist on
long expensive exams which are basically a marketing programs for some
proposed proactive treatment. And eternal pushing of expensive
treatments such as $30 prescription toothpaste for which they must be
getting kickbacks.

For this, I propose taking charge of your schedule - which takes
incredible fortitude to resist their pushback. Maybe still cleanings
every 6 mo, but only exams and xrays once every other year. And no
marketing programs, needless taking or viewing of photos, or
supplement equipment/pastes etc. This is if you want to keep the
commercial route; another possibility would be to be treated for
nearly nothing at your dental college full time or alternate years.

I do assume you have cleaned up your act of the normal problems by
frequent brushing and flossing. The latter very easy without yucky
fingers in your mouth, with things like disposable Placker Twinline. I
don't know the generic name for these, but if you doubt they work, try
them twice a day just for the week before a dental cleaning - they
will throw up their hands like "Fonzie" with his comb, and say "can't
be improved".

 
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HW \Skip\ Weldon
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      07-14-2011, 06:17 PM
On Wed, 13 Jul 2011 17:42:41 CST, dumbstruck <(E-Mail Removed)>
wrote:

>I do assume you have cleaned up your act of the normal problems by
>frequent brushing and flossing. The latter very easy without yucky
>fingers in your mouth, with things like disposable Placker Twinline. I
>don't know the generic name for these, but if you doubt they work, try
>them twice a day just for the week before a dental cleaning


Thanks for the tip. Being a proponent of reducing costs (spending and
taxes) and then investing those dollars, I keep an eye out for
anything that gets the job done for less.

By the way, I found a package of Twinline (75 in a bag) for $2 at
Walmart.

 
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dapperdobbs
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      07-14-2011, 08:53 PM
On Jul 13, 7:42*pm, dumbstruck <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> Any suggestions for the frugal, esp for those with few med benefits?
>
> - Medical: Esp. with the draconian 2014 requirement on having
> insurance looming, am I correct that residents have to hook up with a
> company that is registered/permitted in their state? This is the case
> here, and means there are very few and very expensive (for the non
> affiliated) options. Are other states less restrictive? Are there
> national plans that would satisfy the feds even if "banned" by your
> state (even traveler plans with limited benefits)?
>


Government getting bigger and bolder and ever more invasive. No
smoking in public places like Santa Monica even with buses and cars
choking everyone (compare a cigarette to a exhaust tailpipe?), even
with nauseating regulation destroying everyone's peace of mind and
destroying small businesses, light bulbs regulated, ethanol
enforcement driving the price of bread up, HOA's dictating what kind
of potted plants you can have, cities throwing people in jail for
growing vegetables in their yards ... government mandating what the
heck you can and can't do, buy, or have. Bah.

Tell your politicians you've had enough government for a while, thank
you, and watch the price of medical come down. In the meantime, let
your doctors know you pay cash or check, and see if they don't offer
you a discount of 30% over the ridiculously elaborate "insurance"
plans that are no guarantee of payment to begin with!

 
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Elle
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      07-15-2011, 05:27 PM
On Jul 13, 5:42*pm, dumbstruck <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> For this, I propose taking charge of your schedule - which takes
> incredible fortitude to resist their pushback. Maybe still cleanings
> every 6 mo, but only exams and xrays once every other year.


I agree. I have questioned my dentists anytime they have asked for
more than one x-ray a year. I think this is a helpful excerpt:

--
If a patient is at low risk for dental problems, never has new
cavities, eats a healthy diet and practices excellent oral hygiene -
brushing and flossing daily - he or she may need X-rays only once
every two to three years, said Dr. Dara Cunnion, a pediatric dentist
at the Boston University School of Dental Medicine.

But you should be assertive in talking to your dentist about X-rays,
and how often you really need them, said Frank Masse, a retired MIT
nuclear physicist who now runs a consulting service for hospitals and
medical clinics. Masse said he allows his dentist to take X-rays "only
if there is a real need," adding that "it's been many, many years
since I had a whole-mouth exam."

>From http://articles.boston.com/2008-04-1...ntists-caution

---

 
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Ron Peterson
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      07-15-2011, 09:39 PM
On Jul 13, 4:42*pm, dumbstruck <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> Any suggestions for the frugal, esp for those with few med benefits?


> - Medical: Esp. with the draconian 2014 requirement on having
> insurance looming, am I correct that residents have to hook up with a
> company that is registered/permitted in their state? This is the case
> here, and means there are very few and very expensive (for the non
> affiliated) options. Are other states less restrictive? Are there
> national plans that would satisfy the feds even if "banned" by your
> state (even traveler plans with limited benefits)?


Just being able to get medical insurance is a big help. National plans
and a public option would make it easier for people to move to where
there are jobs, but it would require federal oversight of the plans
instead of the current state oversight.

I had a nephew get a stent after a severe blockage. He didn't have
insurance, but the medical providers lowered his bill. (I wouldn't
count on that happening for those that have considerable savings or
income.)

It's impossible to compare medical insurance rates in general, so it's
a matter of getting bids probably through an insurance agent. I think
a high co-pay might be better than a high deductible because the
insurance company will negotiate lower charges for all charges instead
of just major medical costs.

One can save by not smoking, exercising, and having a good diet.

Get the flu vaccine every year and treat any chronic condition like
diabetes or hypertension.

--
Ron

 
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Don
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      07-16-2011, 05:40 PM
On Jul 13, 4:42*pm, dumbstruck <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> The flurry of elaborate xrays just never
> stops in spite of my protests. They never find anything, but insist on
> long expensive exams which are basically a marketing programs for some
> proposed proactive treatment.


Dental ripoffs are a real problem indeed, but I wonder if regular X-
rays are not important in detecting oral cancer in its early stages as
much as finding out anything about the teeth.

 
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JoeTaxpayer
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      07-16-2011, 06:05 PM
On 7/13/11 7:42 PM, dumbstruck wrote:

> - Dental: This really hits me as a racket that's mainly about revenue
> generation - I can imagine their conferences on the subject. After
> stepping up my self care and eliminating almost all cavity or gum
> issues for years, a variety of dentists have just escalated efforts to
> cost me hundreds per year. The flurry of elaborate xrays just never
> stops in spite of my protests. They never find anything, but insist on
> long expensive exams which are basically a marketing programs for some
> proposed proactive treatment. And eternal pushing of expensive
> treatments such as $30 prescription toothpaste for which they must be
> getting kickbacks.


Uh, "Just say 'no'."
My xrays are every 2 years, but if you wish, you are the customer, and
can just tell them you're there for a cleaning. The risk is whether a
tiny hole that can be easily drilled and filled before getting worse,
turns into, well, something worse.

 
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bo peep
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      07-17-2011, 05:04 PM
On Jul 13, 5:42*pm, dumbstruck <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> After
> stepping up my self care and eliminating almost all cavity or gum
> issues for years, a variety of dentists have just escalated efforts to
> cost me hundreds per year. The flurry of elaborate xrays just never
> stops in spite of my protests. They never find anything


There are other problems that can come up besides cavities and gum
problems. Teeth sometimes just "give up the ghost" for no visible
reason. That can lead to needing a root canal, or even developing an
abcess. Getting an abcess fixed is much less desirable than getting
multiple xrays over the years. Been there - done that.

 
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dumbstruck
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      07-25-2011, 01:27 AM
Thanks all; I'm sort of "dumbstruck" about all the constructive
replies to my question (and venting?) which might tempted some cheap
shots instead.

On Jul 15, 11:39*am, Ron Peterson <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> It's impossible to compare medical insurance rates in general, so it's
> a matter of getting bids probably through an insurance agent. I think
> a high co-pay might be better than a high deductible because the
> insurance company will negotiate lower charges for all charges instead
> of just major medical costs.


But the co-pay model is starting to be demolished - see the article
how a committee has ruled 6 sex-related issues must be tended to with
zero co-pay, and how you will pay for it in mandatory annual fees even
if you don't indulge in such risk factors or biologically cannot. The
committee was not to look at the cost of this - only whether zero co-
pay gives any better results:
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2011...?_r=2&ref=news

I wonder if there will be any escape of this forced collectivization
of coverage for increasingly irresponsible and wasteful medcare. With
zero co-pay the hypochondriacs zoom up the cost. Then if you even
change a health plan, you face not being grandfathered for a pre-
existing condition and zooming your rates. Very different options are
available from state to state, but some of the nationwide web quoters
give suspicious numbers (eg. try having them quote your present plan).

 
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Elle
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      07-29-2011, 03:18 PM
On Jul 24, 7:27*pm, dumbstruck <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> I wonder if there will be any escape of this forced collectivization
> of coverage for increasingly irresponsible and wasteful medcare. *With
> zero co-pay the hypochondriacs zoom up the cost.


But collectivized (socialized) medical systems are said to "ration" to
deal with overdemand of non-efficacious services.

Some seem to want to eliminate waste via socialized medicine. Then ill-
informed critics jump on them for promoting real efficiency,
incorrectly and pejoratively labeling their goals as "rationing."

> Then if you even
> change a health plan, you face not being grandfathered for a pre-
> existing condition and zooming your rates.


The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act* (passed in 2010) says
denying someone coverage for a pre-existing condition or charging a
different premium for said condition is illegal.




*Many know this as "ObamaCare."

 
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