Facing a new diagnosis or coping with chronic illness can be scary, and that fear and uncertainty makes people more vulnerable to healthcare scams. When a patient feels desperate, they’re more likely to say, "I'll try anything," instead of thinking things through. With healthcare, it’s especially important to be a smart consumer. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- High-net-worth individuals may find themselves targeted by people selling false hope or miracle cures. For example, if a loved one has dementia, and a doctor recommends an experimental treatment that costs tens of thousands of dollars a year, you might think, "Well, it can’t hurt.” It may feel good to be doing something, but is there any scientific proof that the treatment works? There may not be.
- If a treatment sounds too good to be true, do your own research. According to the Food and Drug Administration, "A health product is fraudulent if it is deceptively promoted as being effective against a disease or health condition, but not scientifically proven safe and effective for that purpose." Fraudulent treatments aren’t just a waste of money. They may do more harm than good, especially if they delay a patient from seeking a more effective treatment.
- New treatments are always being developed. This is where things get complicated. Doctors may suggest experimental treatment options based on new research or even their own research, and those treatments may have value.
Many patients and their families find it challenging to separate the science from the snake oil when it comes to healthcare decisions. An objective, independent advisor in the medical field can provide helpful insights. At Better Health Advisors, we use academic literature and our access to an extensive network of medical professionals to shed light on potential treatments.