Congratulations! You’re an adult and you’re making your own decisions!
Are you ready to take on your health care while at Brandeis University?
Knowing when and where you should go to see a doctor can be difficult. Your school’s health center is there to help you, but what if they’re closed? What are your choices? How much is it going to cost you? Will you get the help you need?
Planning how and where you will get medical help while you're at school is just as important as making a packing list to move in to student housing!
(1) Brandeis Health Center- this is a great resource for helping you figure out where to get your prescriptions filled, if you have minor illnesses or injuries, or you need counseling help. Definitely utilize the health clinic. Make sure to fill out the required health forms before you start classes. Find your health center at:
Stoneman/Golding Building | 415 South Street, MS 034, Waltham, MA 02453 | (781) 736-3677
(2) Urgent Care- there seems to be an urgent care on every block. They look similar, but they don’t all provide the same services nor are they all staffed by the same kind of professionals. Do a bit of online sleuthing to figure out if the urgent care near you can take care of your problem. They usually list what they can and cannot manage. That being said, many cases of abdominal pain, broken bones, chest pain, severe headaches will be referred to the emergency department, regardless of what the website says.
(3) Emergency Department- if you think you have an emergency, this is the place to go. Emergencies may include illnesses or injuries causing disabling pain, difficulty breathing, bleeding that you can’t get to stop, passing out, heart palpitations, and the like. Avoid choosing the Emergency Department for your illness or injury solely based on the time of day (ie. everything else is closed) if you don’t think you have an emergency. It will be cost more in time and money than it’s worth.
(4) Telemedicine- what’s more convenient than seeing a doctor on your phone from your apartment or dorm room? No travel time, waiting room time, or surprise bill later. If you think your problem is something that you’d go to urgent care or your school health center for, consider using my telemedicine service instead. If you’re not sure about medical advice you got and want a second opinion from a doctor, make an appointment to discuss it with me. If you were seen in an emergency department and questions suddenly come up, ask to chat with me. If you have a sensitive issue that you don’t feel comfortable speaking to people at your school about, send me a request to talk. You can reach me here. If you want to learn more about my service, check out this link.
A couple of points about cost:
(1) Co-pay- this is what your health insurance requires you to pay upfront when you show up at your medical appointment. The amount varies depending on where you go for your appointment and what kind of insurance you have. Generally, co-pays are cheapest at your primary care doctor’s office and most expensive in the emergency department. The health clinic at your school generally does not charge a co-pay.
(2) Balance billing- this is the bill you get after your insurance company has paid what they agreed with your medical providers to pay for the service you got. This is a mystery number and even we who take care of you have no idea how much this will be when we see you. The health insurance companies and hospitals, urgent cares, and medical groups are constantly renegotiating how much they will pay for what. The last time I went to urgent care for a cough, I had to pay $500 after my insurance company paid their portion. I do not balance bill. My cost is a transparent $100/visit.
(3) In general, getting testing or medications in a hospital is more expensive than in an outpatient lab or x-ray center. This is because a hospital is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The costs related to that are rolled into the costs of everything you get at a hospital.
Be a smart health care consumer so that you save yourself time, money and grief.
Connect directly with Dr. Irene Tien, an emergency medicine doctor, to get one-on-one medical advice in a video chat. It's private, convenient, easy, with no billing surprises.
Jessica Pesce Esq and I discuss the important documents every high school graduate should execute prior to commencing the next chapter of their life!
Jessica Pesce Esq can be reached at:
10 Speen Street
Framingham, MA 01701