Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hospital Bill Padding Exposed

Hospital bill for compression stockings? $791.
Cost of the same pair on the internet? $12.

Hospital bill for oxygen mask? $2,225 to $6,675 a night.
Cost of the same oxygen mask at home? $250 a month.

Hospital bill to patient AFTER 1.5 million of catastrophic insurance coverage is exhausted? $1.2 million.

Final patient bill after the hospital's billing practices are investigated by the Wall Street Journal? $0.00.

Benefit of these investigations for healthcare reform?




Anonymous said...

After having surgery as an outpatient to remove my thyroid during a two day stay, I was later billed $44,000 dollars for the procedure. My father, who is a doctor, reviewed the bill, the ICD-9 codes that were used, identified all the padding and held a meeting with the CFO of the hospital. He gave the CFO two choices, to review the bill himself and reduce the cost, or risk exposing his hospital to a very public lawsuit and be reported to the California State Insurance commssioner as defrauding patients, a regular practice at this hospital and others. The CFO asked my father to give him a chance to review the case. After a week, I was informed that the costs of the bill were reduced by half. My insurance covered the major portion of the bill, and I paid about a $2,500 stop-loss charge. This proves that my high premiums, $400/month, pad the pockets of hospitals and insurance companies, and do nothing to provide appropriate affordable medical care. If I didn't have a doctor for a father, I would have been stuck paying a much larger portion, or risk having my premiums go up. The healthcare industry is regularly financially raping the American public as a standard practice. This is not an anomaly. I will now be ever vigilant with every medical bill I receive from doctors to laboratories to hospitals. I do not trust the medical industry to have my medical well-being as an overriding interest as compared to their avaricious and egregious abuse of paying patients. The doctor - patient relationship is now also no longer to be trusted as many doctors are on medical boards of these hospitals and are well aware of these practices and do nothing to speak out.

Richard A Schoor MD FACS said...

I always tell my self-pay patients to negotiate with the hospitals since price gouging of self-pays is so rampant. Typically, a $15000bill can be settled for $5000 and a "cash today, take it or let's fight it out for 3 years" approach.
To the previous poster, the hospital bill is meaningless if you have insurance, since the carrier will pay pre-set rates regardless of the bill. Still, nice going on the threat!

Dr. Val said...

Very revealing post. Thanks!