Visit to the doctor: be careful with additional services



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Beware of individual health care services from the doctor

Consumer advice center: Anyone who is supposed to pay extra for individual health care services at the doctor should check carefully whether the additional services selected are actually sensible.

Again and again, doctors offer so-called individual health services as part of a treatment that are not covered by the health insurance. According to a study by the AOK Scientific Institute (WidO), the sale of additional services has increased by 50 percent since 2005. Doctors earn an average of 1.5 billion euros a year from the sale of such paid services.

Such services are mainly offered during prenatal care, at the dentist or other specialists. The consumer center in Duisburg advises patients to have such additional paid therapies and diagnostic methods explained exactly by the doctor. Patients should ask their treating doctor why the treatment or diagnosis that is subject to a charge is important. In addition, patients should be careful not to be immediately pressed to make a decision. It is better to give yourself a time to think about it. Anyone who decides on an additional service should have a cost estimate issued in order to receive a binding cost commitment in advance. If you take advantage of additional services, you can deduct these as "exceptional services" from your tax statement.

After the therapy or diagnostic procedure, the doctor should issue an invoice. Those who take advantage of an individual additional service do not have to pay an additional practice fee when visiting the doctor. Information about health services is provided by the medical association and the consumer centers. (sb, February 7, 2011)

Also read:
Doctors are selling more and more additional services

Image: Rainer Sturm / pixelio.de

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