Thursday, February 12, 2009

...And it just gets better.

Got a statement from the hospital where I saw the Otolaryngologist.

Know what the going rate is for spending less than 60 seconds tweezing a pine needle out of someone's ear?

$643.00.

I called the billing department and asked how this is justified. The woman I talked with agreed that costs were crazy. She also let me know that the physicians are responsible for billing.

"So I can contest this with the physician?"

"Yes."

I then asked whether she could tell me what another charge was for. This one, with no description, was for $706.00.

"That was for reading your MRI."

"Wait. Someone charges seven hundred dollars to interpret an MRI?"

"Yes."

The MRI cost $4,519.00. This was supposedly run by my insurance first, and is still beign processed, but I'm still nervous. As it stands, I'm responsible for over $500 of the charges.

So I'm saving the bill so that I can call The Specialist on the charges during my next visit and ask him to 'splain himself. Oh, yes.

The thing is, there is no way anyone can look at these charges and not believe that they are priced with the assumption that insurance is a factor. Without insurance, a person would be on the hook for over six thousand dollars. How is this reasonable? To those who insist I'm wrong when I propose socialized medicine, I say, how good is the best medical care on earth if you can't afford it? If I'd have had to pay for all of this I would never seek any treatment, because the prices are pure extortion.

$643. To pull out a pine needle.

5 comments:

SP said...

And you think that is crazy? The other day when I hit my elbow on the bathtub, they gave me three, THREE x-rays to make sure nothing was broken. They didn't even have my name right and then didn't ask me to pay anything! The nerve! I'll never go back THERE!

JC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JC said...

And you know, I use that story to defend socialized medicine. Here's how the conversation goes:

THEM: "Sure, you can live in Canada, and it will take you three months to get an MRI."

ME: "Know how much it cots to get an MRI and get it read? $5,200.00. How long would it take you to get one if you had no insurance and had to pay that? And by the way, I'm on a 6-month waiting list to get a mammogram. My friend hit his elbow, went to the hospital, was seen, had X-rays taken, and went home. He paid NOTHING."

SP said...

Actually, I did spend 80p on the bus.

JC said...

Well, forget socialized medicine - it's clearly a failure!