health care

  1. The medical appointments you SHOULDN’T cancel… even in a pandemic

    Cancel EVERYTHING!

    That was the reaction nearly a year ago when the pandemic first hit… and that’s pretty much the case today as the coronavirus still rages across the nation.

    That’s why new numbers show Americans are downright terrified of going to the doctor’s office or hospital right now.

    And many have no plans to go back.

    I get WHY people are avoiding the doctor.

    No one wants to hang out in a doctor’s office even in the BEST of times, getting poked, prodded and probed.

    But a second set of numbers reveals why canceling those appointments isn’t the best idea, either.

    Because even if it helps to cut your COVID-19 risk by keeping you away from medical clinics, it could lead to something even deadlier instead.

    What you SHOULD and SHOULDN’T cancel amid pandemic surges

    Appointments last spring were put off to summer… and when things got worse in summer, we put them off to autumn.

    Now, many of us have given up even TRYING to reschedule anything!

    A new survey finds nearly three-quarters of American adults are worried about seeing a doctor during pandemic surges… and more than half won’t go to an ER, even when there’s a genuine medical emergency.

    But it’s not just emergencies where care is up in the air.

    Like I said, many people have put off or canceled routine care – and the same new survey finds half don’t intend to reschedule those appointments.

    Naturally, most people realize that also packs a few other risks, with half worried that their health will suffer from missed appointments.

    Gee, ya think???

    Most of those appointments aren’t there for fun.

    They’re there because you NEED them – and another set of numbers shows why. Studies from places like New York and Detroit find that heart attack, cardiac arrest and deaths from heart problems all jump in those places shortly after pandemic surges.

    Some of that could be people who simply won’t go to an ER when they feel heart attack symptoms and pay the price.

    Some of that could be induced by stress.

    And some of it’s from people with chronic health conditions such as heart disease skipping out on medical appointments who then suffer from declines in health.

    So let me give you THREE STEPS that can help go a long way toward figuring out what’s what right now.

    • No buts about it: If you feel ANY kinda serious symptom, including heart symptoms, toss your pandemic fears out the window and hightail it to the ER. The risks of ignoring it are just way too big.
    • Set up telemedicine: If you haven’t already, it’s time to learn the tech. Don’t worry… it won’t bite (although it MIGHT be a little frustrating at first). Video chat and online prescriptions are a great way to get essential care without leaving home.
    • Don’t go on a cancel spree: Instead call your doc and get his opinion. If he really thinks you need to come in… especially if you’ve postponed that visit for months… it might be time to go in.

    If you do have to go in there are steps you can take to cut your risk of exposure to the virus including wearing a mask and calling from your car when you arrive instead of going right to the waiting room. They may allow you to stay in your car until they’re ready for you, minimizing your time around others.

  2. Health-care credit lines a pain in the bank account

    Big Pharma isn't the only one preying on patients--the Big Banks are also getting in on the act.

    Complaints are growing over so-called health care credit cards--lines of credit for procedures generally not covered by insurance, like dental work, laser eye surgery or cosmetic surgery.

    But those bigger boobs, whiter teeth and stronger eyes could cost a lot more than you realize, because these cards can carry interest rates of more than 25 percent.

    And that's even when they say "interest free," because these cards come with the same trick you'll find in a discount electronics chain: It's only "interest free" for a very short period.

    If you don't pay off the entire loan within that little window, the interest kicks in--and is even backdated to cover the "interest-free" period.

    Talk about sticker shock.

    What's more, patients are complaining that they are being charged for their procedures before they've even agreed to them. Others are charged the full amount up front for procedures that need weeks or months of treatments--like many dental procedures.

    And that means they're paying high interest on something that hasn't even happened yet.

    The problem is so bad attorneys general from around the nation are launching investigations.

    New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo says one of the biggest health care credit card companies, GE CareCredit, creates a twisted incentive for doctors and dentists to pressure you into these high-interest payment plans by offering the providers "rebates" based on how many patients sign up.

    That's just another way of saying "commission," turning the doctors and dentists who play ball with this plan into the medical equivalent of used car salesmen.

    Better hurry--I can only offer you this price on a new set of teeth today!

    GE CreditCare is offered by 130,000 clinics around the country... but it's not the only one you need to watch out for. Chase, Citi and other banks are competing to get a piece of the pie--and it's not always obvious that a bank is behind the operation.

    Many patients think they're just signing up for a payment plan that's between them and their doctor.

    But with Americans now putting $45 billion a year in health-care fees on credit cards--an amount expected to rise to $150 billion in just five years--you can expect more pressure, more offers and more scams where you least expect them: In your own doctor's office.

  3. Americans skimping on health care to make ends meet

    According to new research from the Kaiser Family Foundation, 53 percent of Americans said they or someone living with them had cut back on health care in the past year to save money.

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