Stick it to the (Health Insurance) Man!
I just received a notice from my health insurer that my premiums would likely be increasingly by 11% this year…11%! This doesn’t just make me mad, it makes me want to get even! Time to use the power of the internet to interact with healthcare and actually use my insurance more efficiently!
As you already know, the first place to start when something is wrong with you, or a loved one, is WebMD. The well designed and easy to use website features the symptom checker, which will help you understand what is potentially wrong before you seek out the help of an expensive out of network doctor (all mine are!).
For the case of this post, and not because I like to kvetch, I’ll tell you my ailment. From soccer this week, my ankle has the following symptoms: difficulty moving joint, stiffness or decreased movement, tenderness to touch, unable to bear weight, and weakness. The likely (Web MD) culprits in order of likelihood are ruptured achilles, strained achilles, sprained ankle, broken ankle, bruise (or contusion), and more. I better go see a specialist!
Now that I have a rough sense of what is wrong, I need to see a doctor. Not just any doctor, but one with excellent ratings, available appointments, an office close to where I live, and one who accepts my insurance! Zocdoc is the perfect application of technology to find the right doctor for your needs, narrowing the choices down to someone who is good, close and available. Think of it as the Opentable for the medical industry. I think this is perfect for routine doctor visits, maybe not where you are having rhinoplasty however!
Clearly I need a Physical Therapist in my zip code who takes my insurance for my achilles. This brought me to Dr. Robert Lin, an amateur Muay Thai boxer whose own athletic (and injury) experience allows him to relate to a wide array of physical ailments. I am meeting with him later today and saw him for a previous injury! I have used this app to find a dermatologist, coincidentally in the very same office where my wife goes but hers doesn’t accept insurance. You can even fill out your paperwork electronically before you go to the office to save your self time. Further, let your costly insurance company foot the bill!
After you have seen the doctor, you may need a trip to the pharmacy! In this case, you should immediately compare the cost of the medication at Blink versus your insurance copay, asBlink usually wins. When you realize the cost savings, all you do is pay in the app, go or call the pharmacy where the prescription was filled, tell the pharmacist you want to use Blink rather than your commercial insurance, and then go buy something fabulous with the savings. Blink is available at over 60,000 pharmacies. Obviously this is amazing for those with more significant medication needs, but I love the savings too. Use the following Invitation Code (P3W3D6) and save an additional $15! This option allows you to avoid your insurance company (and all the hassles) altogether!
Now that you are on your way to better, more affordable healthcare options you should reward yourself with a diet low in cholesterol, sugar and saturated fats. Go to Superiority Burger in the East Village for its healthy, yet incredibly tasty and innovative vegetarian (and often vegan) menu. Its name is not false advertising, as the veggie burger is simply superior. The rest of the menu deserves superlatives as well, including the Sloppy Dave and Burnt Broccoli Salad. The location is a (Vegan) fast food burger joint that puts the omnivore’s Shake Shack to shame. The brainchild of Brooks Healdley (of punk/indie rock and Del Posto fame), Superiority Burger is very small, only accommodates ~ 8 people at a time, but large in concept. If it’s any indication on the heat factor, the delivery people are all gathered outside waiting for their pickups!
Let’s all hope that our small efforts improve the insurance system, or us to game the system, and consider ZocDoc, and Blink Found. Oh, and lets try to avoid the doctor’s office altogether with healthy eating and Superiority Burger Found!