Getting a Second Opinion From a Doctor May Pay Off, but It Will Cost You

If you have a health problem and your doctor isn’t quite sure what it is, a second, expert opinion is often a good idea: More than 20 percent of people have received a different diagnosis after being referred to the Mayo Clinic. But getting the right answer can easily cost over $ 4,000 and may not be possible for many insurance plans.

This does not mean that every diagnosis is 20 percent wrong. The people in this new study, reported in the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice , had serious illnesses and were referred to Mayo Clinic by their regular providers, likely because those providers admitted that the condition was complex or unusual and needed a different pair. eye. … Many of the reasons for referral to specialists were a description of symptoms rather than a formal diagnosis; for example, a patient with acute myeloid leukemia was referred with “body pain”. The researchers in this study considered this to be a misdiagnosis, although they considered it correct for a person with dizziness to be referred for “dizziness.”

Unfortunately, the second opinion is not for everyone. Unless you live near the Mayo Clinic or another hospital that employs top-notch medical detectives, their experience won’t help you. The authors note that insurance plans often save money by limiting their networks, so the expert you need may not be covered. Out-of-pocket pay is only an option for people with a lot of extra money: A second opinion in the study was worth an average of $ 1200 in 2010 dollars for patients whose initial diagnosis was correct, and over $ 4000 for people who ended up with another diagnosis was made. (probably because they needed more testing). Shipping costs are not included.

If misdiagnosed, you may end up receiving harmful treatment or skipping needed treatment. Even if you are diagnosed correctly later, late treatment may mean you have more complications and need to spend more money on the treatment you need. So, unfortunately, the best medical care is provided to people with good insurance, a lot of money, a lot of luck, or a combination of the three.

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