Health Insurance: Why Do You Need a Second Medical Opinion?

Health Insurance: Why Do You Need a Second Medical Opinion? – For the longest period, second opinions in the medical sector were not very popular. While most persons considered the concept a time-wasting effort, others preferred to place blind trust in their most trusted doctors. However, the narrative is gradually changing, more than ever, and the practice of sticking to a diagnosis from one doctor is gradually phasing out. Although this is a welcome change, as we know, medical care is expensive and most people would rather not break the bank to seek other explanations for their illness. To address this, in recent times, medical insurance policies now offer coverages for second opinions.

For this article, we would discuss second opinions, their importance, and how it relates to health insurance providers.

What are Second Medical Opinions and Why are They Important?

In medicine, a Second opinion is the opinion of a doctor other than that of the patient. As humans, doctors are hardly infallible and can make mistakes. Moreover, while some doctors may be aggressive in their approach to treatments, others can be a tad bit conservative. Patients are therefore advised in most cases, to seek and send opinions after a diagnosis. Research conducted in 2017 by the Mayo clinic found that as many as 88% of patients looking for a second opinion will leave the office with a new or refined diagnosis and 21% of people will leave with a “distinctly different” diagnosis.

With the prevalence of medical errors and the number of deaths caused by this menace, it is only fair that patients are advised to seek second or even third opinions.

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Now let’s explore in detail, the benefits of second medical opinions

1. To Ensure Accurate Diagnosis

This is undoubtedly the most important reason. In Nigeria alone, 70% of cancer deaths are a result of the wrongful diagnosis. In the USA, it has been estimated that over 12 million Americans get misdiagnosed every year. It is therefore important to seek a second opinion to be certain of the diagnosis received.

2. To Avoid Risky Treatments

Diagnosis and treatments go hand in hand. Therefore, to avoid unnecessary and in most cases, risky treatments, it is important for the diagnosis to be accurate. If for any reason, you feel that the direction of treatment recommended is risky, you should definitely seek out another opinion.

3. Treatment Plans May Differ

As earlier stated, while some doctors may be aggressive in their treatment, others may be conservative. Like in cancer, while one doctor may recommend surgery, another may recommend both surgery and chemotherapy.

4. Second Opinions are now easily obtainable

With the advent of telemedicine, second opinions are now easily obtained. You can speak to a doctor via skype or zoom from the comfort of your home. However, always be sure to consult with doctors in person to allow for tests and physical examinations.

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Second Opinions and Health Insurance

The continuous skyrocketing of healthcare costs has prevented more and more persons from actively seeking second opinions. This has resulted in a lot more people having these costs covered by private health insurance. Most healthcare insurance companies now provide coverage for second opinions and for some cases like in major surgeries, these insurers make obtaining second opinions mandatory. This is because it makes more financial sense for the insurer to come up with a second option as it could ensure the health of the policyholder.

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