Did someone say HIRE?
Yes – hire.
Patients and caregivers who seek the help of a care manager, or patient advocate are surprised to learn that there are two kinds of advocates:
- The kind you find in a hospital who works for the hospital.
- The kind who run private practices, who are hired like you would hire an attorney, and who provide services you’ll usually pay for from your pocket, not covered by insurance.
You might wonder why they aren’t covered by insurance – or free? We’ve discussed that previously, explaining that you WANT to pay for the service yourself, or at least let someone who has your best interests at heart be the payer. A loved one, or your church or synagogue, or an employer – they do have your best interests at heart. An insurer or a hospital does not, including the patient advocates who work for insurers or hospitals.
OK – how much DOES it cost to hire a health or patient advocate? Aha – that might be a surprise. Hiring an independent, private advocate or care manager often costs far less than you think. So let’s take a look at what makes up the cost so you can judge for yourself:
- The cost depends on a number of factors, including the services you need, how long it will take (days? weeks? months?), the background and experience of your advocate, your location /geography (you’ll pay more in a large city than you will in rural or middle-America.)
- What is your quality of life worth to you? What is life itself worth to you? (You can’t take it with you, as they say.)
- And further…. what about the alternative? What happens if you don’t hire the help you need? Will you survive? And – how much of your hard-earned savings will it cost you?
So what does that mean in terms of dollars? Is there an hourly rate?
Well – yes – but also no. Yes, most advocates keep an hourly rate in their heads, but even that can vary. An hour’s worth of sitting in your living room discussing your medical situation or helping you draw up your advance directives does not have the same value as an hour’s worth of driving to your house, is not the same as an hour’s worth of sitting by your hospital bedside while you sleep, is not the same as an hour’s worth of negotiating with the hospital’s billing department, is not the same as an hour’s worth of researching the deep web for clinical trials… You get the picture.
Further – what does an hourly rate mean to you anyway? You have no idea what one advocate can accomplish in one hour, so just knowing that number, as an isolated piece of information, can’t help you figure out the cost anyway. How long will your situation take to solve? One hour? Fifty hours? (That question is usually answered by doing an assessment, which is where your advocate will begin – and will then tell you what your work will cost.)
So the real question about cost is this: What is peace of mind worth to you? Can you put a price on it?
The Bottom Line
- Yes. An independent, private health or patient advocate charges for his or her services.
- The charges will vary, dependent on all of the above.
- It might cost you $200. It might cost you $500. It might cost you thousands to hire an advocate.
- Important! Your advocate will give you a good idea of the total before you get started with your work. So – what harm can it do to ask?
- You can’t afford not to work with an advocate.
So – find your advocate – and get started!
The longer you wait, the more it may cost.
The sooner you start, the better your chances for success.
Learn more about AdvoConnection and The Alliance of Professional Health Advocates