"How much is that going to cost me?"
That's the question we've been encouraging people to ask their doctors. It's part of an initiative that we're calling #JustAsk.
We understand that this is an awkward conversation to bring up with your doctor or his staff.
Most of us have little experience with this line of questioning: Traditionally, if people had insurance, they had pretty good insurance. They were more shielded from the costs of care, so they didn't need to ask these questions. But these days, more of us have higher deductibles, so price matters to us.
Doctors, meanwhile, were never taught to consider the cost of care. That's changing, as I recently reported. But given the intricacies of insurance, it's still really hard for doctors to know what a specific procedure will cost a particular patient.
Despite those challenges, we at Impatient think these conversations about your health and money are vital. So we've come up with a way to make them easier – and maybe fun.
Can we take a selfie?
Next time you go to the doctor, ask if you two can take a selfie together.
Once you've broken the ice, ask the critical questions, like: How much will those X-rays cost me? Is that medication covered by my insurance? I have a high-deductible health plan; can I pay for this with my health savings account?
Finally, post the picture to social media and tag it #selfieswithdoctors. And include what you learned about the cost of your care.
I've tried this three times so far, and several of my colleagues and friends have also given it a shot. A Storify of our photos is below!
As you can see, each time I've tried this the provider has been more than happy to pose with me. They've also been open to engaging in these conversations.
Now it's your turn! I look forward to seeing your photos online, tagged #selfieswithdoctors. You can also e-mail me your picture and story at Impatient@scpr.org.