A doctor's office visit here typically costs about $100 to $200 dollars. That's the total billed to the physician, of which the patient pays all or part. Given that most of us don't got that often, it really doesn't make sense to pay for insurance that covers it rather than pay the full cost out-of-pocket, but most people seem to like the idea of paying $25 per visit (co-pay) rather than shelling out $200. Given that many plans require you to pay in to the plan for the co-pay coverage, it usually costs them more than the $400 they would pay for two visits over the course of the year, but they don't notice it as much since they are paying monthly payments. (If they pay $10/wk and make two visits with $25 co-pays, they end up paying $550 for $400 worth of services, but that's their choice.) I'm sure it's higher in the cities.
Many physicians charge a 'new patient' fee, which can run into hundreds of dollars, but was $175 the last time I paid one. This is supposed to cover the cost of setting up an account, gathering the paperwork, etc. Locally, there has been a shift to 'walk-in doctor's offices', which appeal to those who do not want to maintain a regular physician. We have several here, but the more successful ones have been bought by the hospitals and are now run by them. I'm not sure what impact this has on pricing or service, since I have only been a couple of times since the change. I have noticed that they apparently no longer offer in-office pharmacy services, which they had before the change-of-hands.
Hospitals are the big money-grabbers here. As you know, we have both public and private hospitals in the U.S. There seems to be little uniformity to their pricing, and efforts by insurance companies, including Medicare and Medicaid, have met with some resistance.
In the old days, people paid their own bills and then filed with their insurance for re-imbursement. With that system, people could look at the bill and confirm that the services billed were consistent with the services recieved. The shift to 'direct billing' was ripe for fraud and abuse, and the hospitals apparently seized the opportunity. It took several years for the insurance to catch on and then begin to implement programmes to control it. The varieties of such efforts have led to much of the paperwork hassle we see today. If they would just end 'direct billing' and let the people pay their own bills, or at least file their own paperwork, it would reduce some of the fraud, IMHO, but we lazy Americans prefer to have somebody do all of that for us.
I've never paid for 'phone consultation', such as phoning in a prescription, as I suppose that is usually considered an extension of the visit, but I'm sure that is also different in the bigger cities and with less personable physicians.
Quod scripsi, scripsi.