This is a world I was previously oblivious about since we’d had Blue Cross before switching to Samaritan Ministries. As someone with insurance I just paid whatever was charged, didn’t think anything of it. Now when I go in for medical services, I always ask for the self pay, or cash pay discount. Amazingly this isn’t a hard question, and the answers have always been pleasant and helpful. There is very often quite a nice discount for being self pay/cash pay. Sometimes it’s not very much, sometimes it’s awesome.
I had to get new eyeglass lenses this week because my other ones were so scratched. I had no shame in answering that I had no insurance coverage for the lenses, in fact it felt GREAT to tell people we pay for care ourselves. It makes me feel good, actually, to know I don’t have to deal with the hassle. Now, Samaritan doesn’t share in eyeglass costs, but even if they did I am highly motivated to get the best/lowest price possible. By not putting the eye care clinic through the hassle of filing a claim I should get a discount. And I did. It wasn’t the best, they offered 15% off, but that saved me about $25 on the lenses I needed. Pushing for more wasn’t effective in this case, but I did get something and that makes me smile. I love a discount!
When I was waiting in the office for my lenses, I overheard a gentleman being told that the frames and lenses he wanted were not covered by his insurance (his insurance partially covered a much cheaper pair with lenses that didn’t suit his needs). He fully assumed these would be and was outraged, especially considering what he pays in premiums every month. He wasn’t prepared to pay extra for the pair he wanted, and he obviously didn’t like the surprise his insurance company was giving him. I knew going in that my lenses were my cost entirely because it’s not a publishable need, but because of how much we save every month vs our former insurance plan we had that money saved up and writing the check was a simple process with no stress. That’s the big difference with Samaritan. No stress, we can put money back for the little things, Samaritan shares in the big needs.
At first I wasn’t sure how I would be treated as a self pay patient. Turns out the clinics are quite great about it. Not once have I been looked down on, or made to feel inferior. In fact, all experiences so far have indicated that clinics really don’t like dealing with insurance paperwork and I am a great customer in their eyes. I pay quickly, I offer no headaches, I still get great service, and I get discounts. Win-win for everyone! 🙂