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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Choices in Health Care Payment

Dec 01, 2016 03:42PM ● By Carol L. Henricks

What choices for healthcare payment exist other than insurance? Self-pay for medical care has always been an option, and is the way that the medical profession used to work. For medically complex patients, this is often the best choice.

The most important part of good health care is for a knowledgeable practitioner to sit down with a patient’s complete health history, and synthesize the information to develop a comprehensive treatment plan with the patient. Services such as the RNPA program (, developed in Tucson by Karen Mercereau, NP, will create an easy way to review historical medical data.

Medi-bid ( is a nationwide network of physicians and healthcare services who have published their self-pay rates, so patients can search and compare to optimize their healthcare dollar. Health Savings Accounts (HSA) can be used to fund alternative treatments and often help to fund health care needs that are beyond insurance coverage.

But how does one meet the requirement for having health insurance if they are going to self-pay? Medical cost-sharing plans. Plans like Samaritan Health-Care Ministry ( work best for healthy people who prefer natural treatments, and often require one to sign an agreement that they are engaging in a healthy lifestyle. Members pay out of pocket for regular medical care and testing, but there is a pool of members who help to cost-share for catastrophic health events. Other resources include and

With the rising cost of insurance premiums, co-pays and deductibles, it is worthwhile to do the math and see if medical cost-sharing could be an alternative payment option.

Dr. Carol Henricks practices at NorthStar Hyperbarics, in Tuson. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) saturates the body with oxygen, reducing inflammation and enhancing recovery from central nervous system injuries. Connect at 520-229-1238 or See ad, page 23.

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