Compassionate Doctor Charges $5 a Visit -- Here Are Other Ways to Save on Health Care (VIDEO)

Inspiring 20

dr. russell dohnerWhile many of us can say we've had the same family doctor for many years, it's unlikely that we pay just $5 per visit. Unless we have really good medical insurance with a really low co-pay. But some patients in Rushville, Illinois can happily say that they don't even need insurance to see their doc. Eighty-seven-year-old Dr. Russell Dohner, who has been practicing since 1955, has been making headlines for being one of the last docs to charge pennies for care. He doesn't even take insurance, because he says it's not worth the bother. His philosophy: "I always just wanted to be a doctor to help people with their medical problems." In other words, not to make the big bucks.

But Dohner admits the reality is that he hardly makes enough to pay his nurses. He makes his living mostly from a farm his family owns. So clearly, he's an anomaly. But it does make you think ... shouldn't more doctors feel like Dohner and offer their patients more affordable health care?

Well, some will -- if a patient is willing to ask. You may not be able to get away with a $5 doctor's visit like the people of Rushville, but you could save money by employing a few tricks ...

  1. Make your doctor your ally. If you can get your primary care physician on your side, they could help recommend doctors who will work with you on a large out-of-pocket expense or even be your advocate with a facility's finance department. For instance, when I had back surgery, my physiatrist personally hooked me up with a generous surgeon who he made aware of my financial situation at the time.
  2. Make employees in the billing department your friends. Building good rapport by being assertive and friendly with the billing department could do wonders for your bank account, because they could give you the info you need to save money or help you work out a payment plan.
  3. Negotiate. If you haven't met your deductible yet or have costly co-insurance, see if your doctor will cut his rate if you pay in cash. And if you have to see someone out-of-network, it's possible your insurer may still cover the cost at the higher in-network rate as long as you can prove that your plan doesn't have a specialist with the expertise you need, or has an inadequate number of specialists in your area. If not, offer 35 percent less than the charge (about what he'd recoup from your insurer).
  4. If worst comes to worst, fight. Lots of people feel like they have to just roll over and accept whatever an insurance company tells them they'll cover -- or won't. But if you feel like they won't pay for a service you believe you deserve, don't give up. You can appeal their decision, and ultimately even contact your state insurance commission, which will mediate a dispute and possibly save you lots of dinero.

What are some tips you employ to save money on doctor's visits and other health care costs?


Image via AP/YouTube

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bills... billsfan1104

Oh wait, I thought Obama said it what is going to be free or cheaper?

jalaz77 jalaz77

Um start charging for ER visits, $20 copay. It's expensive when a person comes in for a cold that has been present for a week when there is Acute care which also charges $20. Weed out the BS that comes in for a free ride cause my insurance goes up every year d/t the assholes who don't pay their bill. If you do this charge they will think twice before coming in for a small thing. It's called emergency not family practice.

jalaz77 jalaz77

Billsfan-knock it off. I see you comment on every article that has been written about Mitts loss. You are telling the bloggers to give it a rest but when something like this comes up you throw a jab against Obama. GIVE IT A REST, Mitt lost, move on.

bills... billsfan1104

Jalaz, this has nothing to do with Mitt, I didnt even mention him. I didnt talk about the election. And no I am.not going to give it a rest. My health insurance is going up 90 dollars a month, due to Obamacare. My high deduction is going from 1800 dollars to 3600 dollars. So pardon me if I am bitching. I am not bitching about the election, I am bitching about Obamacare and that is my right.

bills... billsfan1104

And this article has nothing to do about Mitts loss. Why dont you tell your liberal blogger friends to stop writting about Mitts loss? It seems to me that they are not happy that they won.

early... earlybird11

I agree billsfan. Mine is going up 75 for my son and I and my husband is going up 95. ,no preexisting. This letter came november 8thish. ... coinicidencd ?? Probably not

Anony... AnonyMOUSE715

This is amazing. Reminds me of my grandpa, who was a dentist up until he passed not too long ago at age 88. Funniest thing, his name was Russell & he also owned a farm!!. He was known to charge whatever people could afford, if anything at all. He was known as Raleigh's dentist angel. This doctor is heaven sent too! :)

Celia... Celiacelia

The copy's for my insurance for a doctors visit is $5 thanks to my insurance but this is downright beautiful. Honestly this has nothing to do with politics this is about a man with compassion if you have nothing to say about the article itself don't come here and turn it into some political debate it's like the writers can't write something nice without someone turning into something nasty and deflecting from the article itself.

Celia... Celiacelia

Ugh copay* damn autocorrect

bills... billsfan1104

You are right Celia. My apologies. I am just upset. Just bad news all day yesterday

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