Alternative and supplementary treatments are a common part of medical care today, but too often people find themselves spending exorbitantly on care that may not be very effective. Homeopathy, for example, is a treatment system that relies on diluting a substance based on the premise that lower concentrations are more effective; there’s no evidence this works, but patients and medical systems pay for it anyway. This is a poor medical choice and simple research reveals that there are many more effective treatments.
So what should you be spending money on when dealing with health issues? It depends on the medical condition, of course, but by doing a price comparison of treatments and comparing those costs to studies of demonstrated outcomes, you can make financially sound medical decisions.
A Fine State Of Mind
There are many treatment options for mental health conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, and addiction, including medication, talk therapy, and supplementary activities like yoga and swimming, and the costs can vary dramatically. Your responsibility as a patient, then, is to look at your budget, consider your health, and choose treatments that fit your lifestyle and that you’re willing to commit to.
Therapy, for example, might be covered by your insurance, while yoga, swimming, and equine therapy – all legitimate management tools for mental health issues – may not be covered. However, if you have a lifelong love of horses and feel that spending more time riding will help improve your health, you may choose equine therapy for addiction or depression anyway. Your ability to reflect on your preferences will help you make this decision.
Know What Doesn’t Work
One of the most common spending mistakes people make when they’re unfamiliar with their medical options is to choose an overly aggressive treatment that’s less effective, thinking that aggressive care is the best choice. As recent reporting on meniscus surgery has shown, for example, that surgery offers no greater benefit than physical therapy alone for tears. Surgery, however, is both more expensive and more invasive, but because patients don’t understand this, they choose to shell out for costly surgery.
Follow The Money Trail
It’s not uncommon to find that the most financially sound medical treatment for you is less profitable for your doctor – but your doctor isn’t about to admit this. Unfortunately, this often results in doctors prescribing unnecessarily expensive prescriptions in order to receive a larger payment from your insurance. This will often leave you with a larger prescription bill, as well.
Do your best to find out what the payment system for your doctor is and always ask if there’s a more affordable option when your doctor prescribes a medication. If there is, ask why they didn’t offer that option first and do some research on its effectiveness. You can advocate for an alternative treatment.
Handling the costs of your medical treatment is a challenge, and researching every step of the process can be burdensome when you’re not feeling you’re better, but resist the impulse to take dramatic medical steps without considering your options. Too often patients are pressed into overspending in order to line doctor’s pockets – don’t let it happen to you.