by Duluth News Tribune
April 30, 2012 at 7:00 pm in Duluth News Tribune
What do hospitals charge to remove an appendix? The startling answer is that it could be the same as the price of a refrigerator or a house.
Tags: Business, essentia, Health, st lukes 11 Comments »
Great time to give everyone a tip. When your Doctor suggests a procedure, ASK HER OR HIM HOW MUCH IT IS GOING TO COSt! Most don’t have a clue!!!!!!!! Colonoscopy – provider 1 = $9300 while provider 2 = $3967. Do we need to know more?
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 36 3
Yep, I always ask how much it will cost and my doctor has been wrong 100% of the time – and the quote is always too low, not too high. In one case the doctor gave a quote for $400-500 with the actual bill being $900. We have a percentage co-pay with a high deductible, so this turns out to be significant.
My doctor gave me a quote on an echocardiogram for my kid, and I called the hospital to find out for sure. The real price was double the doctor’s quote. Even at the hospital, it was REALLY hard to find someone who was able to tell me exactly how much it would be. Then we needed a specialist from out of town to read the results, and it was nearly impossible to figure out if the doctor who would be reading them was on our preferred provider list. I talked with 3 people at my insurance company. The first one said no, the doctor was not. The next 2 people said he was. Neither one of them would put it in writing. The list on the company website warned that the provider list could change at any time and that you should call to make sure. So, I took my chances with 2 out of 3. If it had turned out the doctor was not in our network we would have had to pay for most of his bill, which was $400.
All doctor’s offices should have a way the doctor can refer you to someone who really knows the price before he or she answers you. Ditto for insurance companies. Have you ever tried to pre-authorize something? It is really difficult. And it is all up in the air if you are ever incapacitated and can’t check price, network, or get it authorized while you are in the ambulance on the way to the hospital that you don’t get to choose.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 20 1
Not condoning the medical pricing, because I agree it’s ridiculous, but it’s not unique to medicine. Try going into a car dealership on one side of the road and then to the other on the other side of the road. Neither one can give you a price until you actually agree to buy it and both of their prices will differ by thousands of dollars. Granted, I’m not going to die if I don’t buy the car like if I don’t buy the medical procedure, but it’s still a gray area world we allow ourselves to live in.
Like or Dislike: 18 5
CA also has to subsidize the cost of providing medical care to thousands of illegals.
Like shoplifting, nothing is free, and someone downstream pays.
Like or Dislike: 12 11
Granted there are a whole lot of variables in treating sick people, so I’m sure it’s not quite as easy as pricing a car or house, but none the less there is obviously a problem here. I think there are several problems here.
First of all, most people don’t directly pay their medial providers….it goes through insurance. Funny how we’re not nearly as concerned about the price of something if we’re not on the hook for most of the cost. Human nature at work there !
Secondly, when you’re ill and need an operation, maybe your appendix removed for example, you’re in pain and need immediate attention and aren’t in a good position to “shop around”….and of course hospitals know that and we’d be fools to think that doesn’t enter into the equation when they price their services.
Thirdly, the billing for medical procedures is so confusing if you have an operation that the common person really has no idea what charge was for what and to whom. That appendix operation mentioned in the article would likely result in bills from 4 or 5 entities (hospital, anesthestist, surgeon, pharmacy, radiologist etc…) Anyone who’s had a family member or friend with surgery will know exactly what I’m talking about. By it’s very nature medical procedures are variable in what is needed since every patient has unique needs….but I’m sure hospitals take advantage of this fact in charging for things. When you have pages and pages and pages of single spaced bills for every asprin or drug given, blood pressure taken, lab work done, room rental, OR room rental etc… and of course it’s all done in code that only medical professionals understand…..it’s very easy to take advantage of the patient who’s totally clueless as any of us would be.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 25 1
You’re a woman of common sense and logic.
I think I’m in love.
Like or Dislike: 11 8
Opposites attract, do they?
Like or Dislike: 11 0
Hospitals should be required by law to post the full cost of uninsured care in plain sight. I can’t think of why that would be unreasonable. They try to make the payment system seem way more decentralized than it really is, as if the doctor and the billing department have zero communication. Even when I was under my parents insurance, I had to pay over $175 to have a doctor put a light in my ear and tell me that I didn’t have an ear infection. No tests or anything.
And the working class gets hit the hardest. If you’re pulling in $20,000/year, you’re too “rich” to qualify for public health insurance, but you’re too poor to afford insurance through your employer. So you do have to pay the full cost. Healthcare shouldn’t be an industry, but since it is, it should act like one. Even with car maintenance, you can ask for a fair estimate before you agree to paying for the service.
Like or Dislike: 14 3
Merv, almost sounds like your’re pulling a “Romney” here. Remember when he was assailed in the media for his comment pretty much like yours ? I might add I agree much of your comment for the most part….just thought you’d like to know that sometimes even you slip up and agree with the “other side”.
Mr Romneys quote: “I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I’ll fix it. I’m not concerned about the very rich, they’re doing just fine. I’m concerned about the very heart of the America, the 90 percent, 95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling.”
I would guess the 95% probably include those you reference as making $20,000/year.
Like or Dislike: 12 1
I guess I can’t say I follow the mainstream media that much, but it’s fine if that’s how you choose to interpret what I’m saying. The problem, however, is twofold. First, Mr. Romney’s policies of deregulating business, continuing tax breaks for the rich, and supporting global free-trade HURT people earning $20,000/year… That is what is keeping people stuck at jobs earning $20,000/year. Second, the “safety net” IS broken. Just because you are physically removed from seeing people who are struggling doesn’t make them “fine”. As it stands, the working poor SHOULD qualify for safety net programs… not just people who have totally fallen off the map. If you are working 40+ hours per week, keeping the economy moving, there’s no reason you shouldn’t have access to affordable health insurance. This $10.25/hour economy is what is killing America, and Mr. Romney has stated nothing that he supports which would reverse that.
Like or Dislike: 7 0
Instantaneous telecommunications and modern aviation have made for a small planet. The past couple of times that I’ve gone back home to Bangkok, I’ve had elective surgeries performed; and by the time I’ve had the final one at the end of the year, I will have saved myself out-of-pocket roughly over twenty-thousand dollars over what it might have cost me in the US.
For my final surgery, I’ve been in touch with three hospitals there. The one I’m most impressed with is Bumrungrad International Hospital (where, incidentally, I had worked as a consultant). You can check out their prices they list up-front on their website. I picked the surgeon I wanted from a list of a dozen or so. When I sent him an email asking him nine specific questions concerning the surgery and post-operative care, he got back to me within one day.
Just to give you an idea of what these places are like, Bumrungrad has the look and feel of a five-star hotel; another hospital I had surgery in, Bangkok Hospital, had an ensemble playing classical music in the lobby. Oh yes, they are fully accredited by the international arm of JCAHO.
So, you may find yourself in a position where it makes more sense to hop on a plane to The Big Mango to have a procedure done. Here’s a link to Bumrungrad’s website: http://www.bumrungrad.com/en/realcost-thailand-surgery
If you want more details on my surgeries, you may contact me privately.
Like or Dislike: 5 2
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