101 Ways to Save Money on Health Care
Cynthia J. Koelker, MD

Plume; Penguin Group USA
Hardcover/304 pages
ISBN: 978-0-452296947
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". . .a book that will pay for itself."

Frustrated with the healthcare reform debate in Washington, Dr. Koelker began her morning catharsis by jotting down ways Americans could save on medical care. She then decided to become an advocate by sharing information “physicians know,” but not their patients.

In flipping through the pages of this small paperback book, I found her solutions were all-too-obvious common sense—stay healthy and avoid hospitals. On the U.S. national medical crisis, obesity, she writes simply, “eat less.” But aware many American prefer a medical fix, she identifies the few over-the-counter (OTC) products and prescription medications proven effective. She also explains how each works by either eliminating fat or suppressing appetite.

Her straight answers add credibility to this consumer guide. Before going to a doctor, she recommends, call available hotlines, or ask your grandmother or mother. If a visit is necessary, bundle medical concerns even though that is not appreciated by most doctors who must abide by complicated coding, but it can save the patient money. Avoid urgent visits, which are coded differently and cost more.

The chapter on OTC products is filled with money-saving solutions for dealing with everything from sniffles to treating a bleeding gash. There is no magic to “suturing a wound together,” she says: just patch it yourself with medical tape if the cut doesn’t gape open and it runs with skin lines. Koelker also notes pharmaceutical websites for rebates and couplons on drugs and even sites for “medical tourism.”

Her suggestions may not appeal to her colleagues, but that isn’t her aim, which is to encourage people to “spend smart and stay healthy.” It’s a book that will pay for itself.

Reviewer: Kate Padilla