Physicians, by and large, desire strongly to see their patients heal and become well. Unfortunately, most physicians in the USA are caught within the strict confines of an insurance-dominated field, with little hope of escaping without significant personal and professional risk.
The system is stacked against them from the moment they enter medical school. By the time they come out the other side of residency (if they make it), they have been thoroughly immersed in a medical ideology that revolves around insurance and big pharma (yes, the two are closely-related) with absolutely zero exposure to medical practices that operate outside that realm. Beginning early on in residency, the recruiters have been dangling irresistable offers that include huge sign-on bonuses, attractive starting salaries, and extended vacation time. Factor in a couple hundred thousand dollars of school debt and it’s easy to see why most newly-minted doctors jump immediately into this stream of insurance-driven medicine without ever looking back.
The Problem of Insurance
To be clear, I am not categorically anti-insurance. Insurance provides tremendous peace-of-mind, and it can be a great security blanket in case you have a health crisis. Most Americans would benefit from having some form of health insurance.
So what’s the problem?
One problem is that insurance reimburesment rates are not favorable for primary care. A family doctor must see 25 or more patients per day just to afford payroll for the large billing staff, and to have enough left over to live on and pay off student loans. With those high patient volumes, it’s impossible to deliver careful and customized care. Changes within the medical billing and insurance industries over the last several years are likely to make this problem even worse.
Perhaps the bigger problem is that insurance has come to act more like a health broker than a security blanket. And the general population has come to base their medical choices on the answer to one simple question: “will my insurance company cover it?” It’s a reasonable question, but it gives insurance companies unspeakable power, effectively putting them in position to make key medical decisions that should have otherwise been made by the patient only after consulting a medical doctor. We see these things all the time. Our doctors recommend a specific therapy or treatment, and the patient comes back to us saying the insurance company won’t cover it so they need to go a different - usually less optimal - route so that the insurance company will cover it. The insurance companies will even go so far as to suggest specific medications or procedures based on how other doctors have treated patients with similar conditions.
Or consider a case where our doctors order a lab test that is looking for cancer markers, but the insurance company denies coverage because there are no strong pronosticators for cancer. Unfortunately, that patient will often forgoe the test, and once again the insurance company has wielded its misplaced power.
Sadly, the doctor-patient relationship has been severely compromised.
Insurance is Not Holistic-Friendly
Insurance is structured with conventional medicine at its core, and with significant influence from big pharma. Therefore, treatments that are more natural and holistic tend not to be covered. So if you value a safer, more natural, root-cause approach to healing then you are going to be out-of-luck with insurance anyway.
Invest in Your Health
Thankfully we live in a country that still gives us some freedom when it comes to choosing our health care. When weighing your options, I encourage you to look at your health as a long-term investment. Even small changes now can pay huge dividends in the future. Questions you might ask yourself are:
- Will a larger out-of-pocket investment in my health and well-being today save me in the long run if I no longer need those expensive drugs, if I’m not having to visit the doctor every 6 months for the next 30 years, and if my body ages more slowly because I have learned how to properly care for it?
- Will I benefit, physically, from NOT taking that precription pill for the next 40 years?
- If there is an option for treatment that is more natural, less harmful (e.g. no side effects), and perhaps more effective than the conventional alternative, would I want an option to choose that treatment?
If you’ve answered YES to any or all of the above, then you should consider insurance-free medicine.
What is Insurance-free medicine?
Insurance-free, Direct Pay, Self Pay, Out-of-pocket… These are synonymous terms used when medical practices do not contract with insurance providers, and wherein patients are responsible for paying their medical bill directly.
It has many advantages over insurance-based care, but one of the primary benefits is that it preserves the appropriate doctor-patient relationship, and puts YOU in the driver’s seat of your health journey. If you’d like to know more about it, click here.