My 4-year-old needs a preschool physical. Today is Monday. He needs it before Wednesday. Oops. I forgot about it.
Here’s the issue.
I called his pediatrician’s office, a group of a bunch of good doctors who are part of a way bigger group of doctors. In other words, a corporation of doctors. “How much will a preschool physical be, we don’t have insurance?” I ask. “Between $160 and $216. And that doesn’t include if he needs shots.” I’m told.
No Way. Thank you very much.
Next call: Our Family Doctor. A self-employed Doctor in his own office where his voice is the voice you hear on the voice mail. An amazing doctor, it’s just that he doesn’t have an appointment until Thursday. Great guy. His charge: $60.
In an attempt to not have my son miss his first day of school, I go out on a limb and call the grocery store.
WHAT? The grocery store???
Yes. The grocery store. They have a bank, a Starbucks, a movie rental, why not have a doctor’s office? I’ve seen something called The Little Clinic as I walk past the checker’s stands and customer service on my way to the bank. Since when does a grocery store have a doctor’s office?
I remember seeing a sign for sports physicals, starting at $29.
I call. A nice woman answers. Yes, they do preschool physicals, for $29.
Well, guess we’re going to the grocery store tomorrow. Maybe I’ll pick up some peaches after we see the doctor. As weird as it is.
Next, they’ll put a dentist in. That would actually be helpful.
But, back to the main question. What is wrong with this picture?
Why is it $160-$216 to take my child to the corporate pediatrician? If the REAL COST of health care is actually that high, how can our family doctor only charge $60? And how can the grocery store offer a physical for $29?
One answer is: The real cost of health care IS NOT THAT HIGH.
A second answer is: Our family doctor is self-employed. He charges what I would call the REAL COST. He has lots of education. He knows a lot. He is a great doctor. He is self-employed. He has to pay his bills. He has to pay his employees. He has to pay his overhead. He has to and deserves to make a living. I understand that. I would have taken my son there if he had an appointment tomorrow.
A third answer is: I have no idea how the grocery store doctor can charge so little for a physical. I can’t even buy a tank of gas for $29. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not complaining. I will happily take him to the grocery store and pay only $29 to get the piece of paper filled out that the school requires.
I’m just saying, it does not make sense.
- The Goat Cheese Lady