LeAnn never imagined she would travel thousands of miles for heart surgery. But when her home and lifestyle were threatened by the cost of her procedure, she took matters into her own hands. Now, she wants to empower others to become savvy healthcare shoppers.
“My husband and I are modern homesteaders. About 20 years ago, we bought a place out in the country and we agreed that I was going to stay and take care of the animals, the garden, and all of the farming stuff. I breed dairy goats. So, we have our own fresh milk, ice cream, yogurt, and make cheese nearly every day.
About three years ago, my husband semi-retired. Frankly, our time together was more important than the money. We knew that there might be sacrifices, because he has health insurance but I’m not covered. We agreed that if something major came up that could cause us to sell our place and change our lives, then that’s what we would do.
That probably sounds kind of funny to a lot of people. We decided we were going to enjoy life every day as we went, and if that meant we were going to work until we drop, that’s fine. That’s our background and philosophy.”
How did you end up going to Oklahoma for your care, all the way from North Dakota?
“Last February, I started having heartburn, and it started to get worse. Finally, at the end of May 2018, I ended up at the doctor’s office here in North Dakota. After 21 days of several tests, the doctor finally told me that I needed to have an angioplasty and probably have a stent put in due to a blockage that was very close to a junction of two arteries.
We received the first bill for the stress test and we thought it would be $1,500-$2,000, but it ended up being $4,500. A friend called and asked if I knew that I could call the hospital to find out how much the stent procedure would cost. I never knew that I could find out the price in advance.
So, I called the hospital and they gave me an estimate of $33,000, but I decided that I was not willing to invest $33,000 without knowing more. I mean, we paid $41,000 for our first home. It was just kind of a shock!
One of the things that the whole experience with MDsave taught me is that you have a chance to really research providers and see the price upfront. It’s incredible that you can actually select a provider of your choice. People just don’t realize that they have the power to shop!”
How was your procedure?
“I found Dr. Schmidt, who is affiliated with the Cardiovascular Health Clinic located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. This meant I had to travel for the procedure, which was a calculated risk. Some people are not willing to travel, but I decided that this was the place I had to be. I mean, why wouldn’t you travel if you could save money? Why aren’t we better consumers of healthcare?
I spent more time with Dr. Schmidt the first day than I had with the doctor in North Dakota. It was incredible to me how Dr. Schmidt took the time to go over everything with me in detail. The staff at the Cardiovascular Health Clinic were all very experienced and professional. They were as accommodating as they could be. Within 24 hours of the procedure, I felt like a new woman. I probably wouldn’t have found Dr. Schmidt and the Cardiovascular Health Clinic without MDsave.”
What would you tell someone new to shopping for healthcare?
“Be a smart consumer and ask about the prices. When I got on MDsave, it showed me exactly what was included. So I knew the details right up front and that is important! If we ever want to contain healthcare costs, then we have to be savvy shoppers.
MDsave truly made a huge difference in our lives. I’m glad that they gave me a big bill here in North Dakota, otherwise we would have never found Dr. Schmidt and the Cardiovascular Health Clinic.”