The All-American Co-Pay

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ARCpoint Labs in KC offers affordable lab work without a co-pay or deductible.

If you’re an American who’s chosen to NOT see a doctor because of the co-pay, please raise your hand.

(… and a room full of hands slowly goes up.)

Debates are heated right now with topics of healthcare costs and coverage. Opinions on both sides are running amuk. And while I’m not certain there’s a clear answer amongst the health care concerns, one thing is certain:  co-pays and costs for health care are on the rise. And many consumers aren’t happy about it.

Seeing the Co-Pay Crisis

As a walk-in lab that requires NO CO-PAY, I tend to meet many people who are tired of high deductibles and co-pays. While I certainly meet many uninsured, a growing number of my clients come to ARCpoint Labs in Kansas City to avoid the co-pay or high deductible all together.

Rising Co-Pays

According to Statista.com, the average co-pay among commercial health insurance providers (NOT Medicare or Medicaid) in 2011 was $26.10. With a little over $25 being the average, many Americans are facing much higher co-pays, upwards of $40-50 per visit. Not to mention, the costs don’t always end at the co-pay, especially when deductibles are involved.

A 2010 article from the USA today discusses the conundrum of rising co-pays, particularly among Medicare patients. The article reports that while lawmakers tried to cut costs and save money by increasing co-pay fees, that actually ended up shooting them in the foot. Many patients chose NOT to go to a doctor when co-pay costs rose. This resulted in more hospital admissions and longer hospital stays.

Read the USA Today – Study: Copay increase yields fewer visits to doctors, more to hospitals

High-Deductible Plans

Even if you are exempt from a co-pay with a high deductible plan, that doesn’t mean you won’t be paying for your medical costs. Those with high deductible plans must meet their deductible before health coverage kicks in. As reported by outofpocket.com,

For 2011, high-deductible plans will have a minimum annual deductible of $1,200 for an individual and $2,400 for a family, according to the Internal Revenue Service. The maximum out-of-pocket limits for an individual in network is $5,950 and $11,900 for a family.

What this means is that even if you want your doctor to run a simple cholesterol test for you, you’ll need to meet your deductible in the event you’ve not yet reached it yet. So you’ll pay full price for lab work (or your insurance company’s negotiated price which will still be higher than any co-pay.) A high deductible plan may not have co-pays, but if you haven’t met the deductible, you can expect to pay much more than $30 for your lab test.

Alternatives for Lab Work – Skip the Co-Pays and Deductibles

My team at ARCpoint Labs of Kansas City offers an alternative to the system of co-pays and deductibles. We’re a walk-in lab that offers the same professionalism and reliability as any lab your doctor sends you to – we just don’t have to mess with insurance in order to run the test. We offer self-directed lab work (tell us what test you want run.) We can also run any test your doctor prescribes. But there’s no guessing game or hidden fees with us. You’ll pay up-front for the lab test – no questions asked and no explanation of benefits or bills to follow.

To learn about our lab work pricing, please contact me.

Any of our ARCpoint Labs of Kansas City locations are ready and able to help you save money and lower your health care costs.

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