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judiz
11-07-2011, 11:21 PM
My primary care physician has a new policy, the office will not issue any referrals to specialists unless you see the doctor first. Under my insurance, that means I would have to pay a $30.00 copayment just to get my referral and then $50.00 for the specialist. To me this sounds like my primary is charging for referrals which I think is unfair. I have medical issues my primary physician is well aware of and I see specialists several times a year. IF my primary could help me I would of course see him but he himself has told me to see a specialist. I would like to know if anyone else has to see their primary in order to see a specialist (when your primary is aware of the problem and advised you to see a specialist) and if you work for a health insurance company, is the primary allowed to do this in the first place?

* I understand that if I hadn't seen my primary for some time, he would want to see me but I see my primary at least four or five times a year and one of my specialists needs to see me every three months.

FiveRinger
11-07-2011, 11:39 PM
I work for an insurance company, but this is the first I have heard of this particular issue, although it doesn't surprise me. Have you spoken with anyone in the office? If you have a history with your doctor, this might not apply to you. I know that my doctor has a sign on her wall where she charges for certain paperwork and things other things because patients have been known to take advantage. This might be the doctor's way for making sure that referrals are really necessary and is charging for the visit and the time.

And you are right. There are folks who haven't been to the doctor in ages and walk in and miraculously expect a referral.

I would certainly expect an HMO to use this type of rule, but haven't heard of doctors doing this. Maybe this is a new trend.

Sinclare
11-07-2011, 11:59 PM
Yes I have experienced this too. Some specialists will not see you unless you have a primary see you first. But it depends on the reason. A dermatologist will see most Pt w/o a referral, so too a fertility specialist, sometimes an ENT or plastic surgeon. But I know that a GI, cardiac, hematologist most often require a referral. Due to the nature of these specialties I can understand the necessity. What kind of specialist were you thinking about, (if I may ask, of course) ?

PDilemma
11-08-2011, 12:03 AM
Check with the specialists, you may not need a referral if you are an established patient. My mother sees a specialist four times a year that normally does not take patients without a referral, but she is an established patient now and no longer requires one.

nubka
11-08-2011, 12:04 AM
I can't get a referral for anything, unless I go through my primary care physician first. Every...single...time... :mad:

It costs me more, and really slows down the whole process of seeing a specialist.

I should add that this isn't my doctor's policy, it's my insurance (Tri-Care.) They won't a pay a penny for anything without a referral.

milanessa
11-08-2011, 01:14 AM
I can't get a referral for anything, unless I go through my primary care physician first. Every...single...time... :mad:

It costs me more, and really slows down the whole process of seeing a specialist.

I should add that this isn't my doctor's policy, it's my insurance (Tri-Care.) They won't a pay a penny for anything without a referral.

That's only partially true. TriCare Prime recipients require referrals. I use TriCare Standard and no referrals are necessary.

nubka
11-08-2011, 01:45 AM
That's only partially true. TriCare Prime recipients require referrals. I use TriCare Standard and no referrals are necessary.

For me it's totally true, because I have TriCare Prime. As mentioned, you have a different plan. :cold:

milanessa
11-08-2011, 01:49 AM
For me it's totally true, because I have TriCare Prime. As mentioned, you have a different plan. :cold:

Of course it's true for you, I certainly didn't mean to question that. Your original post just identified TriCare, that's what I meant.

fluorescein
11-08-2011, 02:00 AM
I have insurance through Aetna and several years ago my plan required referrals, but it was the insurance co and not my primary care physician that had the requirement. Even so, once I had an initial referral to a specific specialist, it only had to be renewed annually and the PCP would do that automatically with only a telephone request from the specialist's office. A few years ago, my insurance dropped the referral requirement altogether - I imagine because they determined it was costing them money rather than saving them money.

If I were you, I'd contact your insurance co to clarify what their actual requirements are. It's not just costing you a $30 copay for an office visit to renew a referral. It's costing your insurance co too.

judiz
11-08-2011, 02:03 AM
I need a referral for every visit to the specialist, if I am lucky the referral will cover more than one visit, I don't mind talking about it, I see a rheumatologist for fibromyalgia every three months, and an endocrinologist for an underactive thyroid twice a year I am asking now to see an allergist for a skin rash I have had on and off for over thirty years, I've lost count how many dermatologists and allergists I have seen but the one I have an appointment with next week is suppose to be able to diagnose cases that no one else has been able to. I also have asthma and this allergist is a specialist in treating asthma as well.

I am waiting for my primary to call me, I have been his patient for 17 years and he knows I am not the type of person who likes to doctor hop. I am hoping he will instruct his staff to waive the need for a visit in my case as well as with other patients who have medical issues outside of needing a yearly checkup or a visit for the occassional cold or cough, I hope he tells his staff to just issue the referrals that I need. I have to see my rheumatolgist in December and I really do not want to go through this again.

nubka
11-08-2011, 02:09 AM
Of course it's true for you, I certainly didn't mean to question that. Your original post just identified TriCare, that's what I meant.

Tricare Standard sounds pretty great since you don't need a referral to see a specialist - lucky!! We pay $480.00 a year in premiums. Co-pays are $12.00 for an office visit, and $9.00 for prescriptions. Is that a lot different from the standard plan?

judiz
11-08-2011, 02:20 AM
Under my Oxford plan, I pay $30.00 copay for my primary, $50.00 for a specialist and I pay 50% of my prescriptions. I have $1,000 a month deducted from my paycheck and I have a $2,000 deductible as well for in and out of network tests.

milanessa
11-08-2011, 02:22 AM
Tricare Standard sounds pretty great since you don't need a referral to see a specialist - lucky!! We pay $480.00 a year in premiums. Co-pays are $12.00 for an office visit, and $9.00 for prescriptions. Is that a lot different from the standard plan?

There's no premium with TriCare Standard. Co-pays are 20% but there is a max of $150 a year for an individual, $300 for a family - after that no co-pay. Prescriptions from a pharmacy are $3, $6, or $9 depending on the tier level of the medicine. If I took a regular maintenance med I'd use their mail in pharmacy and it's cheaper. If I fill a prescription at a base it costs nothing but I don't often do that since the closest base is over an hour away and the only scrips I fill are those I need right away. Eye drops when I had my cataract surgery, antibiotics, etc.

ETA - Of course every time they talk about a military budget TriCare shows up in the crosshairs so things could change.

nubka
11-08-2011, 02:36 AM
There's no premium with TriCare Standard. Co-pays are 20% but there is a max of $150 a year for an individual, $300 for a family - after that no co-pay. Prescriptions from a pharmacy are $3, $6, or $9 depending on the tier level of the medicine. If I took a regular maintenance med I'd use their mail in pharmacy and it's cheaper. If I fill a prescription at a base it costs nothing but I don't often do that since the closest base is over an hour away and the only scrips I fill are those I need right away. Eye drops when I had my cataract surgery, antibiotics, etc.

I live only about 1/2 a mile from the base, but I stopped filling my prescriptions there. The waiting line is always really long, and they were always running out of meds that I needed (they could give me maybe three pills, and then would tell me to come back a in few days for more.) I watch my little two-year old grandson everyday, so that's not a good option for me. :(

When you say that your co-pay is 20%, how much that usually work out to? I'm kind of interested in this TriCare Standard.

milanessa
11-08-2011, 03:19 AM
Dang, dang, dang. I wrote out a long reply but I type so slowly FSU threw me off the board and I lost it. :lol:

I mostly only see a Primary Care physician a few times a year and pay about $18 or $20 for a doctor visit and blood work - the follow up for the blood work (one week later) is free.

The only exception lately was my cataract surgeon. He doesn't take TriCare so I paid and TriCare sent me a check. it didn't cover his charge but I also have a supplemental policy that paid the difference.

Do you take maintenance meds? If so, check out

http://www.express-scripts.com/TRICARE/

You can get a 90 day scrip for less than what a 30 day one costs (depending on the medication.)