Health and financial security What's Buzzing

Visiting the doctor costs even more than you think

Written by Diane Archer

Many of us not yet on Medicare visit the doctor in fear of the sizeable bill we will owe, even if only for the deductible or the copay.  But, a Harvard Medical School study shows that if you add in the opportunity cost, visiting the doctor costs you more than you think.

The Harvard researchers looked at the amount of time you spend traveling to the doctor and the amount of time you spend waiting to see the doctor.  And, they found an average additional cost of $43. That’s more than the average out-of-pocket cost of $32.

A standard doctor’s visit takes a total of 121 minutes. Travel time averages 37 minutes.  And, we spend about 64 minutes completing forms and waiting to see the doctor once we arrive at the office. We would have earned an average of $43 working in that time.



  • Not only do I not get a cost of living space increase in 2016, less than a week before November benefits were available, I got a letter informing me I would be responsible for my Medicare. The is a $105 reduction. I have yet to speak to another Medicare recepient this happened to. Most said they had always paid. It would have been much more acceptable had the premiums been deducted from the start. A $105 a month reduction in benefits is very hard for me.

  • My wife and I get our Medicare benefits from Railroad Retirement. We have been trying to get a straight answer as to why my wife monthly deduction is 121.80 while my deduction from Railroad Retirement is 104.00. Her monthly Railroad Retirement benefit is based on my earnings under Railroad Retirement. Can you help.

  • As a member of Kaiser Permanente, I would disagree with this. It is true there is travel time, but filling out forms is minimal, and waiting usually is, too, in my experience. And for us, all other services, like laboratory, vaccination, and pharmacy, are in the same building.

Leave a Comment

Read previous post:
Should we treat aging as a disease?

Experts disagree as to whether aging is simply a natural process or we should treat it as a disease. If...