Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Cost of Medical Bills is Way too High!

What ever happened that made doctors and hospitals think they can charge outrageous amounts of money for services?  If you have had any medical expenses lately you know what I am talking about.  Now I know doctors should earn a lot for their experience and they have to cover the cost of equipment and employees, not to mention any legal costs that might occur, but still, these medical costs are getting out of hand. I'm talking everything from doctor visits to hospital visits to dentist visits to prescription drugs.

For those who are lucky enough to have insurance, that does help, especially for annual visits where you usually just have to pay a small co-pay.  However, if you need any other tests or work done, prepare to pay an arm and a leg.

Recently, I had a check up and the doctor heard a murmur in my chest and recommended that I have an echocardiogram done to check it out.  Ok, so of course I follow his advice and make the appointment.  The test was basically an ultrasound of the chest which took about 30 minutes to complete. Pretty easy.  They didn't tell me about costs or anything in advance or while I was there.  I just had to give them the form from my doctor.  I figured, I would probably have to pay a co-pay of $30 and the insurance would cover the rest of it.

 A couple weeks later I get the bill in the mail.  It is over $2,000!  What?  How is a 30 minute ultrasound test $2,000?  Luckily the insurance covered a lot of it, but in the end they are still charging me over $600.  I had to pay a deductible of $500 plus a percent of the remaining balance.  Who has that kind of money to just drop on a random test that you doctor says you should get? I don't make a lot of money, but I do manage the little I do have well so I have some saved up, but still, this will take a huge chunk out of my savings.

If I would have known the cost of this test, I might not have had it done, or at least talk to my doctor to make sure it was absolutely necessary.  By the way, the test results were fine, so it basically cost me over $600 for them to look at my heart and say it was fine. 

Why don't hospitals tell you the costs up front?  Even looking on their website, there is nothing about the costs of each procedure.  I did a search on the internet to get an idea of the costs and there was very little information out there on the entire internet.

I mean, you don't go into a car dealership, take a car, and then later get a bill for how much the dealership wants to charge you.  You know how much it is before you buy it, then you make your decision.  This is how most things work whether it is a product or a service.  The prices are advertised.  Why should health care be any different?  Oh yeah, so you don't know how much you have to pay until it it too late.  The medical field is really taking advantage of people in this way.  It's time for a change!

If you read this and have an opinion on the matter, leave a comment below.

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