Taking our own medicine

October 3, 2013

Mark L. Friedman, MD, FACEP, FACP

Here at First Stop Health, we offer all of our employees a choice of several Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance plans, as well as their choice of one of the telehealth membership plans our company creates and sells. We want all of our employees to "take our own medicine" and take full advantage of the service we provide to consumers and employers.

The insurance plan I selected has a deductible of $3,000. My family is responsible for the first $3,000 of expenses. Only some preventive items are covered and we pay for everything. Fortunately, I also selected the First Stop Health Level III Plan, which has made a big difference. It fills the gaps and has minimized my family's healthcare expenses.

Here is how it worked for us:

Our family of four has been healthy for the most part. We have called First Stop Health's doctors for treatment and consultations for some minor issues that included: strep throat, a urinary tract infection, and we had the usual concerns about colds, coughs and other minor issues. We also called First Stop Health when we need preventative medications needed when traveling outside the U.S. And then there was the case of whooping cough to which we were exposed during a big extended family Christmas dinner.

Being able to call a doctor for these medical issues sure beats going to our family doctor, who does not return phone calls, will not prescribe medications without seeing us, and charges $110 a visit. Plus, going to the office is creepy. Signs on the wall state that if you are in for a physical you must book another appointment to be treated for other issues. This is crazy and certainly does not feel like any sort of partnership. It is a place where we are a number.

Back to the whooping cough, because it serves as great example of why we're glad to eat our own dog food and use First Stop Health. We were notified on a Friday night that someone who was at the dinner (yes, someone who has hugged everyone, passed all the food, and was coughing) was, in fact, contagious. We called First Stop Health. The doctor listened and called in a preventive prescription for Zithromax. In minutes we had peace of mind and we saved $440. We didn't have to wait until Monday to see the doctor or go to an urgent care center (which would have cost even more, not to mention exposed others to the cough) over the weekend to get the necessary prescription. We had the help we needed that very night.

All told, my healthy family saved $1,090 last year using our First Stop Health telehealth plan. We didn't have to wait until our doctor had an appointment and here is a biggie: We didn't have to sit in a doctor's office full of other sick people, possibly being exposed to additional illnesses.

I am pleased to be a part of providing the service and thankful that I have it. It's easy. Taking our own medicine works.

Originally published Oct 3, 2013 10:00:09 AM.