SEPTEMBER 13TH, 2022

Out-of-Pocket Costs and the Power of Preventive Care — Featuring Dr. Eric Bricker of AHealthcareZ

It’s not every day you get a chance to sit down with an internet celebrity, but our team had that opportunity recently when Dr. Eric Bricker joined us for a lively episode of the Paytient Podcast.

For the unfamiliar, Dr. Bricker runs the popular healthcare finance YouTube channel AHealthcareZ. His videos explore healthcare delivery in the U.S., how benefits are set up and designed, and how the system affects patients, providers, and organizations.

Here are a few highlights from our conversation with Dr. Bricker:

Why he transitioned to the startup world

“One of my consulting colleagues and I kept in touch, and he had become the EVP of finance for a major hospital system here in Dallas. He was seeing so much confusion and frustration with people calling into the billing office at the hospital, and I was seeing the same thing at the patient bedside that between the two of us we actually knew how to navigate people through the healthcare system.

“So instead of um, you know, sort of cutting down the rainforest and paving it over and making it easy to cross, we're just like, ‘Hey, we're pretty good guides, and we'll just kind of get you around the jaguars and the snakes and the piranhas and all that stuff because we kind of know what to do.’ ”

The consequences of rising out-of-pocket costs

“One of the definitions of insurance is it's the transference of risk. You pay a premium, and the insurance company that's taking the premium is then taking the risk — like your car insurance. You don't necessarily have the money to pay for like your car getting totaled and replacing your vehicle, but you're willing to pay $600, $800, $1,200, whatever it is a year to transfer that risk to the car insurance company. “In healthcare, if you're still unable to pay the deductible and the out-of-pocket expenses, you essentially have not transferred the financial risk to the health insurance company. You still as an individual are bearing enough financial risk to drown you.”

Why companies should encourage preventive care

“If something is too expensive, then you delay the ounce of prevention that's worth a pound of cure and you don’t get the care that you need. And it’s not that preventive stuff that's covered at 100%, because people are like oh well preventive care is covered at 100% so it's all free. It’s not that — it’s that you actually treat the hypertension, you treat the diabetes, you treat the small asthma flareups and don't run out of your inhaler, so you don't have to go to the ER for an asthma attack. “So it’s not about all your ‘preventive care.’ It’s actually treating conditions with nonpreventive services like blood pressure pills, diabetes pills, inhalers, etc. But doing that in a way that people can afford … so that they don’t have the ER visit, so that they don’t have the heart attack, so that they don’t have the cancer diagnosis.”

The crucial need for healthcare education

“The healthcare system itself can take advantage of patients. And that in and of itself is a public health threat. So there are aspects of our healthcare system itself that are like dirty drinking water and are a public health threat. I could sit here and try to, you know, try to treat people with dysentery all day long — or I could try to do something to help clean up the water. So that's what I'm trying to do here.”

Listen to the full discussion using the podcast player below or by clicking this link. To see more of the excellent content Dr. Bricker releases, you can follow him on YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, or at www.AHealthcareZ.com.

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