Health $care: Battling the High Cost of Healthcare - - Jackson, MS

Health $care: Battling the High Cost of Healthcare

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT

Dorothy Gray of Jackson, who retired from state government 21 years ago, couldn't believe how much her recent surgery cost for her left eye. 

"$2,812 dollars," she told us. And she still needs work on her right eye.

Gray didn't have to pay the entire amount, but her share set her back with other bills, so much that she had to get help from her daughter. She's also dealing with a more pressing health problem. 

"Rheumatoid arthritis and it look like I hurt every day," she said. "When I go... to the rheumatologist, I don't know how much I'll have to pay. I might have to make a monthly payment." 

Gray also had a double hip replacement and had to make monthly payments on that. She has Medicare, which is a federal health insurance program, but because of her retirement income, she doesn't qualify for Medicaid. 

"I tell people if I get sick, don't call the paramedics, just put me in a car and blow your horn because they say it's very expensive," she added. "I can't get any help from anywhere."

Gray's primary doctor, Timothy Quinn in Ridgeland, says he sees it all the time, with patients of all ages. Many of his patients are insured under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. But when Mississippians enroll for 2018 beginning Wednesday, they won't be able to choose their insurer, because the only provider still taking part in Obamacare in Mississippi is Magnolia Ambetter.

United Healthcare pulled out for 2017. Humana has now pulled out.

Quinn says the lack of choice will hurt patients who need to see specialists. 

"A lot of the specialists don't take the insurance, so when these patients need to be referred for these potentially life-saving procedures and tests, it's hard for me to get the appointments to get the care they need," Dr. Quinn tells us. 

Congress continues to squabble over the promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, but so far all new healthcare reform bills have failed to materialize. Even people not insured under Obamacare, like Gray, grapple with high co-pays and deductibles, with no end in sight. 

"To me, it's not fair, because you have worked all your life, and then when you get old and can't get any help, It's sad," said Gray. 

"I hope people will take this information to heart and reach out to their representatives in Congress so that we can continue to provide healthcare to those who really need it," added Quinn. outlines a number of ways you can save on healthcare costs: 

  1. Research all of your benefit options. Are you over-insured for your own needs? Take the time to research benefit options before making a selection. 
  2. Check out non-insurance health options, such as discount health plans that may be available to you. 
  3. Cut your prescription costs by ordering prescriptions in bulk, checking prices are different pharmacies, and investigating generic versions of your medications. 
  4. Have dental work done at a dental school that offers low-cost services performed by students, under the guidance of instructors. 

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