Giving Up Traditional Insurance
Mind-Blowing Healthcare Savings–$$$$
My traditional high deductible healthcare insurance plan I carried in 2016 was increasing from $820.00 per month to $2100.00 per month with an even higher deductible.
I was looking at an annual premium cost of $25,200.00
When we made the transition to the cost sharing program with Liberty HealthShare in 2017 it made sense as long as we were healthy. The cost savings were profound. We opted for their top coverage: Liberty Complete
With the Liberty HealthShare option we chose we have an annual registration fee of $75.00 and pay $449.00/month for our family of four.
I was now looking at an annual “premium” of $5,463.00
Now we had a few medical bills in 2017:
- an MRI for my husband’s shoulder $240.00
- a screening mammogram for me $200.00
- remember I am a family practitioner so some minor coughs/colds etc. would be handled by me that we will account for $500.00
Our general out-of-pocket expenses for the year were around $940.00. Let’s round that number up for a few other incidentals and we are at $1000.00 for the year.
So our first year savings came out to almost $19,000.00
So year two brings on a different twist as we have a medical need arise. Craig’s MRI and poor response to conservative therapy leads to major surgery. We researched our options and chose the Surgery Center of Oklahoma.
Our annual “premium” is still $5,463.00
Craig’s Surgery and Rehabilitation Costs:
- Surgical Consultation: $200.00
- Surgery Center of Oklahoma: $5,749.00*
- Continuous Passive Motion(CPM) Chair: $775.00
- Physical Therapy: $540.00
*includes surgeon fee, facility fee, and anesthesia fee
Liberty HealthShare Shared Amounts(reimbursements):
- Surgical Consultation: $200
- Surgery Center of Oklahoma: $4,249.00
- CPM Chair: $0
- Physical Therapy: $0
Our final unshared(out-of-pocket) amount we were responsible for was only $2,815.00
So in two years after leaving traditional health insurance we will have saved about $35,000 with a major event occurring
If I still haven’t convinced you…
Now let’s go back to the traditional insurance world…the national average projected cost for arthroscopic shoulder surgery with one of the major insurance carriers in the United States is:
- Facility and Anesthesia Fee: $16,150.00*
- Surgeon fee: $8,985.00
- Total: $25,135.00
*based on outpatient surgery, national average for inpatient surgery increases that fee by $11,000
In contrast the fair pricing found with the Healthcare Bluebook
Why didn’t I leave traditional insurance sooner?!?!?!?!?!
This is true healthcare reform with patient-driven affordable healthcare.
Ann Riggs, DO
My Epiphany as a Doctor: Navigating Today’s Healthcare for My Own Family…coming soon!
Ann Riggs, DO
Cori is an avid football fan and is loyal to our Kansas City Chiefs. Last spring she set out on a transformation that has changed her life.
Not only does she look fantastic but she feels healthier and happier with her progress. She is a mother of three active children and is excited to be setting a good example for them by being healthier and taking care of herself.
Cori’s encouragement for others is to be prepared for hard work. The results will not be instant and expect setbacks. It really is about making small steps towards a bigger goal.
How did she do it? Hard work. Nothing compensates for hard work. She began running and really watching her diet. Her diet focus was not only about healthier choices but also portion control. Cori has completed two half-marathons and has plans for more.
Go Cori and Go Chiefs!
Ann Riggs, DO
Whether you are traveling or hosting the holidays, this time of year brings with it an abundance of stress. Finding the perfect gifts and dealing with difficult family members can, for some, overshadow the reason for the season. Oh, and everyday life keeps on ticking as well.
What can we do to slow down, relax, remain healthy and enjoy??
Try this simple breathing exercise. It’s called the 4-7-8 breath and can actually alter our nervous system. It is calming and relaxing, it is free and it is easy!
First, exhale completely, blow all that stress and frustration OUT.
Second, inhale through your nose to the mental count of 4.
Third, hold your breath for a mental count of 7.
Next, exhale through your mouth to a mental count of 8.
Lastly, repeat this sequence for a total of 4 breath cycles.
I recommend starting and ending your day with this breathing exercise and adding it in any time you feel stressed throughout your day.
This is quick, anyone can do it and it has research proven health/relaxation benefits.
This simple breathing technique can help us erase some of the stress in our busy lives.
The power of the breath! Is it really that easy? Try it and find out. Prepare to be Dazzled!!
—Beckie Moore, Integrative Family Nurse Practitioner
But Doctor I am not eating that much…
While there are always exceptions rarely does one become overweight by not eating.
The balancing act of creating a calorie deficit is key for weight loss. Please see my prior blog post regarding the fundamentals of weight loss:
Calories Consumed < Calories Expended= Weight Loss
It can be one misstep in your day that will sabotage all your good efforts. Stealing the term introduced to me by an inspiring patient, I would like to bring “the calorie creep” to life in the pictures below:
Keep in mind it does not have to be junk food that can be your calorie creep–avoid the creep in whatever form!
Ann Riggs, DO
No better time to discuss smoking cessation than when we are at the new year and resolutions are starting to fade while the freezing temperatures outside continue. I tell my patients that are contemplating smoking cessation that if successful they will be richer in more ways than one. The health benefits of smoking cessation are clear. The often overlooked benefits of smoking cessation are the return of significant time and money.
- decrease in bronchitis, COPD
- decrease in blood pressure
- decrease in heart rate
- decrease in ALL cancers
- decrease in diabetes
- decrease in osteoporosis
- decrease in rheumatoid arthritis
- decrease in erectile dysfunction for men
- decrease in ectopic pregnancies, miscarriages, small birth weight in pregnancy
- decrease in second hand smoke decreases sudden infant death syndrome, ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and asthma
The actual cost savings can be calculated here. The following depicts the savings realized when smoking 1 pack per day with a cost of $5.70 per pack:The amount of time spent smoking is estimated at 6 minutes and 20 seconds per cigarette. Calculations for smoking 1 pack per day equates to over 2 hours per day.
If you extrapolate the value of your time then your costs rise exponentially.
Smoking Cessation Aids
So you are ready but want some help. There are over-the-counter, prescription, and alternative options to help you be more successful.
- Nicotine patches
- Nicotine gum
- Nicotine lozenges
- Nicotine inhalers
- Nicotine nasal sprays
- Bupropion is a common anti-depressant medication that was once marketed as Zyban. This medication can diminish the cravings and withdrawal symptoms from the nicotine.
- Chantix is for smoking cessation only and can diminish the cravings and withdrawal while also blocking nicotine effects from smoking.
- E-cigarettes–long term safety has been unclear but recent studies identify significant concerns on safety and effectiveness
- Support groups
No better time than the present to kick the habit as you will be richer in more ways than one!
Ann Riggs, DO
“I have the flu…”
Influenza strikes every year and leaves much to be discussed. The flu statistics reveal that the highest risk groups are those 65+ years of age followed by those 0-4 years of age. The other high risk groups include pregnant women and those with chronic respiratory illness or those with weakened immune systems.
Seasonal influenza is typically the following with rapid onset:
- profound fatigue
- joint pain
- runny nose
- sore throat
Seasonal influenza is not typically:
The only absolute is a positive influenza swab. Unfortunately the test can be inaccurate. Some studies suggest the influenza swab is only 30% accurate while others suggest 70% accuracy. The best case scenario it misses 3 out of 10 individuals with influenza. This makes clinical suspicion and evaluation by your physician key in diagnosis.
Tamiflu or other antivirals are the only prescription form of treatment but have their limitations. They need to be started within 48-72 hours of onset of symptoms. Antivirals when started early in the course of the illness can decrease the severity of symptoms and length of course but are not a cure. Large families or those with high risk individuals may opt to take antivirals as preventive or prophylactic care when a known influenza carrier has been diagnosed.
Supportive care is the true mainstay of care for anyone with influenza:
There are always lots of opinions regarding vaccination. While it is not a perfect vaccine as far as guaranteed coverage for influenza, it is safe.
The CDC recommends annual vaccination for everyone 6 months of age and older.
Vaccination is one way to protect yourself from influenza and can reduce the severity of illness if contracted and prevent hospitalizations in addition to doctor visits and time off work.
- Does the flu shot cause the flu?
No but can cause a flu-like response with mild headache, joint pains, and fever
- How long until I am covered after receiving the vaccination?
Common Sense Prevails
- avoid contact with those with symptoms
- wash your hands
- eat healthy
Ann Riggs, DO
1—“Dr. Riggs your glow is back. You seem so happy!”
2—A patient gets access to care for $400.00 vs $2400.00 that literally saved his life
3—A patient is reimbursed $300.00 of his $500.00 annual membership with his first claim submission. “I feel like I hit the jackpot!”
4—Access to CT scan for cash at $350.00 vs hospital quote of $3382.00
5—The proof is in the pudding: a patient puts families expenses into a spreadsheet with previous year’s expenses and finds marrying his plan with our services would have resulted in over $7500.00 in savings in one year
6—Our Medicare patient not only gets it but loves our model–he knows how doctoring used to be and the true costs of using your health insurance
7—Wholesale drugs that offer convenience and lower cost of short and long term medications. $140.00 for one month of blood pressure medication dropped to $28.00 for the same medication. Annual savings of $1344.00.
8—“The nose doctor(AKA Dr. Riggs) is right next to sonic—that is genius!”
9—“I really feel like I should pay you more.”
10—Every time a patient says, “It just makes sense.”
Ann Riggs, DO