Letter to the editor: We should all know costs of our medical treatment


On a recent visit to one of my providers, I noticed that it is not routine to provide a statement of charges for the examination and the procedures that were done. The care that I received was excellent and professionally done. As I approached the checkout counter, I was wondering how much this would cost me. I am a 73-year-old semi-retired physician covered by a now unfavored Medicare advantage plan. It was clear that most of the costs would be covered by the insurance. It is important for all of us to know the costs of our medical treatment for several reasons. First of all, in the interest of transparency, we need to know the costs and for what we are being charged. This allows us to evaluate or judge the benefits of what we are receiving for our money. This also allows us to monitor for the inevitable mistakes that are made with billing. Often times this can be caught up front rather than several months later. Even if you have insurance that pays everything, you should know what is being charged. We all have a responsibility to use our health care benefits in a prudent manner.

Many citizens, such as myself, believe that ALL of us should have access to basic medical care, which includes care by a primary physician or an advanced care practitioner. Emergency care and all necessary medications, rehab services and X-rays that are of proven benefit would be covered. Boutique medical care would not be covered. Eight percent (8%) of our current population is not covered by medical insurance. To cover those citizens, my family is willing to pay more in taxes, especially since we are blessed with complete coverage.