Everyone needs health insurance; in the United States, you are required to carry health insurance or you could face severe penalties and fines. While it is true that Americans spend less than five percent of their lives in doctors’ offices and hospitals, it is still vital that they have some form of protection when it comes to medical costs. To save on monthly premiums, more consumers are opting for high deductible health insurance plans.
But, how do those higher deductibles affect the quality of healthcare? Some feel that higher deductibles may go synonymously with malpractice claims.
How Do Deductibles Influence Malpractice?
Because of the rising costs of healthcare, patients are visiting their physicians less. Patients who need care for chronic conditions are also seeing their physicians less, which increases the likelihood of a lapse in care. Some patients have gone as far as to skip medicine refills and follow-ups, or even forgo medical testing.
This can actually cause more issues for a physician, and put the patient at serious risk for injury (or death, depending on the condition that they are suffering from). Some doctors are not offering their patients critical tests, because they fear that the patient will not be able to afford them. Other physicians are increasing their risks by skipping necessary medications for chronic conditions to help their patients with overall costs.
It is imperative that physicians who deal with patients with mounting medical costs still explain the risk of skipping tests, forgoing prescriptions, and ignoring medical treatment options. When physicians do not adequately communicate with their patients or convey the risks, the patient could become seriously injured – and it opens the door to malpractice for the physician.
How to Avoid Malpractice and Medical Errors as a Patient
If you have a high deductible or cannot afford your medical costs, you do not have to put your health at risk. There are things that you can do to manage chronic conditions, while saving on overall costs. These include:
- Communicating with your physician. Discuss your financial situation with your physician, but also discuss your concerns regarding your chronic condition. See what options are available to you, but also inquire about any risks that you may encounter, if you skip necessary treatments.
- Do not skip appointments or medications. While it may be costly, managing a chronic condition requires you to take medications and show up to follow-up appointments. You can ask your physician about lessening how many appointments you need during the year, but if your physician needs to see you, do not skip the appointment.
- Understand the care that you are receiving. You should know what tests are being performed and why they are necessary. You should also be aware of the results of those tests. Every medication you are prescribed should also be written down, with the purpose of that medication noted. That way, if you take supplements or see another physician for medication, you can fully inform him or her about any previous care and your current list of medications.
Did Your Physician Skip Necessary Care Because of Costs?
Physicians are required to provide a standard level of care. If you did not receive proper care and suffered an injury because of increasing healthcare costs, speak with a medical malpractice attorney. Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC today to schedule a no-obligation case evaluation. Call 866-479-7909 or contact us online to get started.