How to find a cheap doctor
June 18, 2007 9:05 PM   Subscribe

I am trying to decide on a doctor that is cheap and has the resources to help me.

I have Tricare Prime medical insurance. I want to go in for a checkup and am trying to decide on a doctor. There are about 75 doctors in my area that my insurance company will cover. I can tell by their online profiles what their qualifications are, but want to narrow them down by price too.

Which would be cheapest:
private practice or hospital
big hospital or small hospital
young or old
male or female

Also, do doctors at the same hospital have similar prices?
posted by stuffedcrust to Health & Fitness (3 answers total)
Doesn't Tricare have the same copay no matter who you choose (as long as they're in your plan)?... If not, then I don't think narrowing down costs by age or gender is going to help you... Why don't you call their offices and speak to their billing clerk and ask what their charges are directly?
posted by amyms at 9:43 PM on June 18, 2007

By "their offices" I mean the individual doctors' offices, not Tricare's... Office billing clerks (and sometimes receptionists) will be able to tell you exactly what their charges are.
posted by amyms at 9:49 PM on June 18, 2007

amyms's idea is a good one, but also make sure the clerk you talk with tells you what your cost would be after any applicable negotiated discounts with Tricare are applied. My 20% co-insurance payments would be extreme if they were applied to the "list price", but they're quite reasonable once the 20-95% (seriously) discounts Blue Cross gets are applied.

If it's anything like BC, you may find that the post-discount prices are very, very similar from provider to provider. Also, keep in mind the, for want of a better term, total cost of ownership -- I've saved a fair amount on labwork and tests by going to a doc in the largest local health system, because specialists and ER folks have been able to pull up my records and see what's already been done.
posted by backupjesus at 5:18 AM on June 19, 2007

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