Bioethics Blogs

Don’t Be Afraid to Team Up with Your Doctor about Healthcare Costs

Here is a fine story in the Los Angeles Times written by about the importance of talking with your doctor about your out of pocket medical costs.

Despite high medical costs topping Americans’ list of financial concerns, many of us have a hard time telling our doctors that the care they’re prescribing may break the bank.

As part of a recent awareness campaign called “I Wish My Doctor Knew,” the online health social network Inspire asked patients and caregivers what medical concerns they wish doctors better understood.

In more than 700 responses, about 20% dealt with insurance coverage, disability insurance coverage paperwork, and out-of-pocket medical costs.

“What we see every day in our online community, and through this campaign, is that patients don’t discuss fully with their doctors the financial toll of [their] disease,” said John Novack, Inspire’s communications director. “Many patients seem reluctant to bring it up at all … yet it’s a very real hardship and it certainly affects their quality of life.”

Ellen Robin of Oceanside, Calif., can relate. The 59-year-old healthcare contract manager has a chronic condition that led to a heart attack six years ago.

Since then, she says, she has collected a cabinet full of prescription drugs worth thousands of dollars. She abandoned most after her doctor told her to stop them — either because they didn’t work or caused unbearable side effects.

“Every time I get a prescription, I pay my co-pay of $30 or more,” she says. After a week or two, many times she’d have a bad reaction and her doctor would advise her to just stop taking it.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.