It Costs A Lot So Use It

By Ross Schriftman, RHU, LUTCF, ACBC, MSAA

Here is a true story that shows how health care costs can easily increase and drive up insurance premiums for everyone.  Recently I attended the funeral of a friend’s father.  After returning from the cemetery on this very cold day I was sitting with the family having lunch at the church.  All of a sudden I started having back pain and spasms.  They came and went.  I drove back to my office which took two hours and continued to work.  The pain level was about a 5 on a scale of 10 so I was in some discomfort.  That night I kept waking up from the pain.

During the trip I had some noises in my car.  The next morning I took my car to my mechanic.  Jokingly I told him I needed an alignment.  But the alignment was for me; not my car.  When I told him I planned to go to my chiropractor as soon as possible, he suggested I go get an MRI instead.  “You pay a lot for your insurance.  You might as well use it.” was his advice.

(He doesn’t know that I pay less because I have a high deductible policy.)

I always take his advice on my car but I decided to take my own advice as far as my healthcare.  Luckily my chiropractor was in that Saturday.  He released the tension in my back with a quick alignment. I paid him his $30 fee from my health savings account.  Within two hours I emailed him that I was already feeling better.  That Monday I went back for another treatment and paid him another $30.  I feel fine now.  I don’t know what caused the spasms.  Maybe it was the cold air at the cemetery.  Maybe I just twisted something. Maybe it was the tension I felt for my friends with their loss of their loved one.  The cause didn’t matter.  Stopping the pain and resuming normal activity was. I was cured and all for $60.

If I had listened to the advice of my mechanic I would have remained in pain all weekend, had to go to my doctor on Monday and have him order an MRI.  The MRI would have cost at least $1,000.  Then the results would have gone back to the doctor who might not have had any treatment suggestion or had just sent me to my chiropractor any way.  My time would have been wasted.  My health insurance company would have paid their share after my deductible and the cost of health care would have increased for everyone else in the insurance pool.

Each person who has health insurance has a responsibility to the other people who are covered.  If we over utilize our health insurance and if we don’t take care of our own health we contribute to the rising cost of health care.  It is far too easy to blame the insurance companies.  It is far harder to act with knowledge and wisdom when it comes to our responsibility for our own health.

Obamacare will continue to contribute to the blaming-others concept of healthcare reform.  Just listen to how the politicians including the President demonize the insurance industry for its “abuses.”  The law demands more benefits, waives pre existing condition clauses for people who didn’t bother to get coverage BEFORE they got sick or had an accident and eliminating limits on how much insurance companies must pay.  This will contribute to higher costs as the law doesn’t create any personal responsible.  It will make the problems worse as those who are forced to buy insurance will attempt to use their coverage to the maximum.  The insurance mandate is NOT personal responsibility.  It is the government making people buy something. Ask the people of Massachusetts who have the mandate under their “reforms.”  They now have the highest insurance premiums in the nation.  We need to repeal Obamacare as quickly as possible and instead promote better health literacy, personal responsibility and decision making by all of us.

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2 Responses

  1. Schriftman is overly simplistic, well-meaning but come on, he’s implying that chiropractors can replace the need for MD evalution & MRI’s. He’s terribly right as far as the mechanic’s attitude. Ross needs to admit he was lucky here, and that the fact was due to him having an HSA, and he’d be spending his own money, was the impetus to seek a realistic remedy for his spasms. This vesus the mechanic who suggested he access expensive technology, because the mechanic took it for granted that everybody has a ‘Copay’ or low deductible plan like he probably does.

  2. Ross is right on in his posting as he got the results that he was looking for in the market as his decision the seek and purchase the Chiropractic services met both his physical and financial desires. Sounds like a basic free market concept to me. He went to a liscensed Doctor of Chiropractic who is trained to evaluate and treat the human body. If a more extensive and expensive examination procedures were needed (i.e. MRI) the Chiropractor would have made the proper referral. I am a Doctor of Chiropractic for over 28 years and also have extensive experience in Health Savings Accounts. I actually wrote the first group HSA policy in the United States and worked with the US Treasury in writing initial HSA guidance in 2004. I currently work in both industries. Thanks for your continued efforts Ross to educate the public on CDHP’s. Sincerely, Dr. Thomas Schmidt

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