Two Interesting and Different Strategies for Tie-in

26 August 2011 at 3:09 pm 1 comment

| Peter Lewin|

I have an all-in-one color printer, fax, scanner (Canon MX7600). It is pricey, but the real kicker is the cost of the toner. It uses 6 different cartridges. Some of them run out pretty frequently. Each costs around $20, basically for a small container of ink. When any one of the cartridges runs out the machine shuts down — though it could easily print black and white when one of the colors runs out. Also, and this is the interesting thing, when any toner cartridge runs out all of the other functions of the machine shut down — no outgoing faxes, no scanning — even though these have nothing to do with printing. This way I am inclined to replace the cartridge sooner rather than later. Annoying. I suspect this is deliberate and maybe not enough of a nuisance to be a selling point in the competition for consumers.

Very different: I am running out of my blood-pressure medicine. I have my own blood pressure machine, and as horrendously complicated as it is to use it, I have somehow managed to master the art. My blood pressure is normal while on the medication. I attempt to refill the prescription (which costs $12 without insurance — not even worth claiming). No refills left. The pharmacy calls the doctor. The doctor’s office calls me to make an appointment. For what? To get my blood pressure taken. I have my own machine. That is not good enough. We have to do it! My appointment is at 10:45. I see the nurse at 11:15, after filling out paperwork that I have filled out multiple times before. I see the doctor at 11:45. I leave the doctor’s office at 12:05 after he has sent in my refill prescription. I pay him $30 copay. The insurance pays him about $150 for an office visit. Do the math to see how much this $12 prescription cost me (include the opportunity cost of my time and the cost of the office visit — which is reflected in my insurance premium). This ability to tie-in the purchase of a prescribed medicine with the purchase of an office visit is a massive social cost that we all face. It is the result of the non-market delivery of health-care.

Entry filed under: Former Guest Bloggers, Public Policy / Political Economy, Strategic Management. Tags: .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Jim Johnson  |  28 August 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Peter–
    you’re right n\on the money. For the past 2-3 yrs I’ve been experiementing and educating myself on healthcare cost issues like the one you describe. e.g.I have a very high deductible small business policy. me and my family are healthy –a plus obviously.
    several yrs ago my wife falls and injures her writst she broke 20 yrs ago. the doc can’t determine if its broken from relativcely inexpensive xray. he orders MRI and suggest ‘acme” imaging. $2500. I consult several webistes purporting to give actual insurance payments for providers , as opposed to the list price that a cash pay9ng patient pays. I call around and found same MRI for $500. all I had to do was ask. If I had first dollar, or even second $100 coverage, I’d have not even asked. If its youre own money, you shop for price. resources are out there to help but many doc’s still are practicing medicine like it’s 1965.
    I’ve found one can plan ahead with the doctor. discuss Rx renewal policy, OV required?, If they don’t go along, wanting apparently to run up the meter, get a different doc. But this requires an educated patient. (sorry for typos–hate typing on laptpo).

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