Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly prevalent for hospitals and physicians to charge patients ghastly amounts for medical treatment. As research into this “phenomenon” continues, it becomes more transparent that the trend of significantly over-pricing consumers will persist and as a result, it will be the responsibility of those seeking medical treatment to ensure their hospital and medical bills are completely accurate and fair.
An article published in the New York Times entitled The Confusion of Hospital Pricing provides an exceptional glimpse into the realities of hospital bill and medical bill overpricing. Detailed in the article is the experience of Mr. Hong who went to the hospital emergency room nearest to him in Northern California to receive an appendectomy. In total, Mr. Hong was charged a bewildering $59,283, including $5,264 for the physicians. The article states, “According to the Healthcare Blue Book, that amount is six times the fair price for an appendectomy in Northern California, which is $8,309 (including a four day admission) for the hospital and an additional $1,325 for the doctor.” To be blunt, being charged six times the fair amount for a medical procedure is outrageous and unacceptable. Dr. Renee Y. Hsia, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at the University of San Francisco states, “There’s no rhyme or reason for how patients are being charged or how hospitals come up with charges, there’s no other industry where you get charged 100 times the same amount, or 121 times, for the same product.”
Although Mr. Hong is fully insured by his employer, Mr. Hong was still stranded with multiple high medical bills. Mr. Hong made the mistake of seeking treatment at a hospital that his insurer did not have a contract with, even though he provided his insurance and waited thirty hours for the surgery (ample time to have been transferred to another facility.)
As Research continues and the results are presented, it is clear this is a nation-wide dilemma. Also noted in the article was a study conducted in 2007 where researchers at the University of Pittsburgh posed as patients in an attempt to receive pricing information from hospitals in the advance of medical treatment. The study revealed, “Hospital hysterectomy charges ranged from $3,500 to $65,300. Gallbladder removal charges ranged from $2,700 to $36,000, and a colonoscopy screening might cost anywhere from $350 to $5,805.”
It cannot be reiterated enough that in order to ensure you are not a victim of completely arbitrary hospital bills and medical bills, you must be diligent when reviewing your bills in addition to being proactive in guaranteeing you have not been blatantly over charged for a medical procedure. Having your medical or hospital bill professionally audited is an optimal solution to ensuring your caregiver has not grossly inflated medical fees (in addition to guaranteeing that you are not being billed for a procedure you did not receive, or being billed multiple times for the same treatment or medication.) By comparing the costs of your medical procedures to other hospitals for the same procedure in the same region, we can successfully determine whether or not your medical or hospital bill has been outrageously overpriced. Contact Relamatrix Medical Bill Review, LLC for more information or for a free consultation regarding your high medical or hospital bill at (800)-653-7526
Rabin, Roni. The New York Times. “Confusion on Pricing at Hospitals Adds to Pain” April 24th, 2012.