I consider myself a pretty savvy and resourceful consumer. I know how to solve problems that come up in the day to day situations we all face. I have navigated my way through more than a few complicated and sensitive financial situations. Add to that my ability to be persistent, and you would think that I could figure out a simple denial of an insurance claim with ease, right? In ...

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I went to the retired firefighters dinner last week and had a great time, probably because I happened to land on a table full of contemporaries: men who worked at pretty much the same time I did. Inevitably, conversation turned to our memories of some of the older firefighters we had to deal with as we worked our way up the seniority ladder; "getting time on" is what it was called.  ...

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You don’t have a second chance to make a great first impression.

If twenty random numbers were read aloud, most people would remember the first few numbers and the last few numbers.  We tend to remember beginnings and endings.  It is the same with patients; they tend to recall what they hear at the beginning and ...

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If I could drop our health insurance altogether, I would. With a high deductible of $4,000 for in-network providers, my family of three has yet to reach our collective deductible over the last three years. This means we have to pay out of pocket for medical care until we reach that amount. To make matters worse, our health insurance premiums increased by 10 percent, forcing us to find a less ...

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Sometime while I was still in high school, my mom began to have trouble breathing. She had never had asthma before; an albuterol inhaler helped for a while. Still, cold season was a nightmare, and later, so was allergy season, and every year seemed to get worse. After college, I moved back in with my parents. She fought her way through the cold season, dutifully driving 20 miles (and later 40, ...

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Although the Affordable Care Act’s second enrollment period is nearly over, politicians, medical professionals, and the public still debate its implications. According to David Houle and Jonathan Fleece, one-third of all hospitals in the United States will close or be reorganized into another kind of health care provider by 2020. What will differentiate the winners from the losers? Simply put, it will be high patient satisfaction. In consumer terms what ...

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I wish lowering health care costs was as easy as “cost awareness,” but as one patient put it, “I never pay the first few bills, because the amount changes every time a new bill is sent.”  The payment system is so fragmented that it’s hard to know what will become an expense with any given illness.  Even the savviest of consumers of health care have difficulty with hospital payment systems.  ...

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Last year, I underwent a colectomy, a surgery that removed my entire colon. Afterwards, I had to wear a temporary waste-collecting pouch attached to my abdomen known as an ostomy. Until my next surgery, I was now an “ostomate.” One of the early side-effects of the surgery was that I was prone to bouts of severe dehydration that left me hospitalized for a few days. During one of my dehydration-related ...

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A patient story tonight, from Jackie: It was one of those days.  I had been to the gynecologist the week prior because I somehow knew the sporadic bleeding, which I had experienced, was not a simple urinary tract infection for which I had been treated three times.  My doctor did the scrapings and biopsies and had me run down the hall for an ultrasound.  I’d had lots of ultrasounds during my pregnancies -- ...

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It's tempting to blame it all on Henry Ford.  I was standing alone at the empty counter, waiting to order in a fast food joint at 9 p.m.  Off to my left, three or four carloads of customers had been served before anyone noticed me and came over to ask what I wanted.  After all, Henry gave us the mass-produced (and therefor affordable) automobile.  I wondered if the day ...

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