February is Smart Healthcare Consumer Month

February is about more than just valentines and chocolate. It’s also a month to promote the importance of being a smart healthcare consumer and all the ways in which we can benefit our health without breaking the bank.

One of the most important aspects of being a smart consumer is remembering that it doesn’t necessarily mean spending the least amount of money, but instead getting the best value for your money. For example, the less expensive option upfront may prove to be more costly in the end if it results in numerous repairs down the road. This same theory can be applied to your healthcare and is one that all patients need to carefully consider.

Our patients often debate the decisions surrounding the treatment of their allergies. While it’s widely understood that immunotherapy is the only proven way to treat the root cause of allergy problems, patients are faced with the decision to do this in either the form of allergy drops or allergy shots. When patients first hear that allergy drops are not covered by insurance like their counterpart, some are inclined to jump straight to the covered option. However, a smart healthcare consumer carefully weighs the pros and cons of each option and looks at the overall cost of treatment before making a final decision. When appropriate time is taken to do this, allergy drops usually come out shining as the more cost-effective option. Let’s take a closer look at the breakdown between the two:

Allergy Drops

Allergy Shots


$225 every 14 weeks. Not covered by insurance.

Covered by insurance, but co-pay plans do apply. Many patients pay a co-pay every time they come into the office for their injection which often equates to more money spent over time than the initial up front cost of the drops.

Length of treatment:

3-5 years, with a goal of completion closer to the 3 year mark.

5-7 years

Patient commitment:

*Takes medication at home when it is most convenient to their daily routine. Does not need to leave work to complete treatment.

*Completes over-the-phone visits with a nurse every 3 months.

*Comes in for annual retest after one full year of drop therapy.

*Comes in 1-2 times per week for an injection. Afterward, there is a minimum wait time of 20 minutes to ensure there hasn’t been an adverse reaction to the injection. Patient often has to miss work to attend weekly appointments.

*Comes in for annual retest after one full year of shot therapy.

As you can see, a lot more goes into each treatment decision than the initial cost. While the $225 might sound daunting at first, most patients understand that the accumulation of missed time at work and potential weekly co-pays end up being far more costly in the long run. Additionally, the overall expected length of treatment is far shorter with the drop therapy than that of allergy shots, so patients are able to begin feeling better much faster—priceless.

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