The dreadful cost of medical aids

pharmacist giving many medicine blisters to customer in pharmacy drugstore

A few things for you to think about:

Case 1. My wife’s cousin has problems with sleeping, he suffers from sleep apnoea and recently went to a clinic in Melbourne where he was fully tested for his problem, to see if his present regime of night equipment was still suitable for his requirements.

The experts decided he needed a new face mask, one that fitted him better and provided him with a steadier flow of important oxygen. So far so good, but when he was presented the bill for the new equipment (a new plastic mask and a strap to secure it to his face while he slept), he was stunned to be told these two simple items were going to cost him more than $300!

Case 2. A friend of mine went to his dentist, where he had a single front tooth removed. The dentist made him a new, single-toothed denture to fit the space left by his own tooth, for which he was charged something like $2,000!

To add insult to this shock, he was also told he needed to take the denture out every time he ate because it might otherwise break! Ever heard of taking your teeth out to eat?

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Case 3. The same friend who went to the dentist also went to a podiatrist because he was suffering some discomfort with his feet. He walked out of that consultation with a small, plastic inner sole for his shoe, which cost him $600.

I don’t know if he is more comfortable now the inner sole is in his shoe, but at that price I certainly hope so!

Case 4. This one actually happened to me, so I know the figures are correct. I went to an optician to have my eyes tested and was told, after a period of looking through various pieces of equipment and having drops put in my eyes etc., that I needed new glasses, which is fair enough, our sight does tend to deteriorate as we get older.

Anyway, I chose a frame, (not a ‘fashion’ one!), decided on lenses that darkened in the sun, which were bi-focal and had a scratch resistance coating. The bill was almost exactly $500!

Case 5. I do seem to have a lot of wealthy friends, but here is another one. He had his hearing tested and was sold a pair of hearing aids that cost him $8,000, yet he always seemed to be able to hear me talking to him even before he had the equipment fitted.

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These cases are just the tip of the iceberg! There are also all the little things that add to the comfort of the older citizen, like walking sticks for instance. I have seen them in local pharmacies for as much as $50, though I bought a perfectly satisfactory one in Aldi a couple of months ago for $7!

A certain drug company charges about $4 for a box of 20 of their branded paracetamol tablets, but I can buy exactly the same dose, (500mg per tablet), in the discount chemists at a cost of $3.50 for 120.

I may be overly suspicious, but I can’t help wondering if there is a little bit of jiggery-pokery going on, with all these things, and many others, costing such ridiculously high figures.

Oh, I know what the operatives will say — they had many years of study at considerable cost, in order to learn how to make us feel better, but I really feel some of them have crossed the line between reasonable cost and exorbitant charging! I suppose the only answer we have is to keep superbly fit, so that we never need any of the accoutrements the less well require.

Are you concerned about the cost of health care on your hip pocket? Do you forgo getting medical treatment or tests because of the cost? Have you ever challenged or sought a second opinion for a medical procedure or prescription?