by Mark A. Kelley, M.D.
This blog previously appeared on HealthWeb Navigator.
All of us should understand our own health care costs. However, the issues can be complicated: e.g. insurance premiums, deductibles, co-pays etc.
Physicians have a different perspective. Like any professional, they focus on how they are paid. Insurance companies require doctors to submit many details with their bills. Physicians rely on sophisticated billing systems to furnish that information, because without it, they are not paid. In a nutshell, patients worry about paying the bills and doctors worry about sending out the bills.
This raises a key question. How much do doctors know about your insurance and what you must pay?
Of course, the doctor can explain his/her own bills to you. Your doctor’s office has checked your insurance and knows what how they should bill your insurance company. Surprisingly, the doctor may not know much your hospital insurance coverage, or your deductible. Most physicians and their staffs have not been trained to gather this information because it does not affect physician payment. .
But things have