Have you ever asked how much a medical procedure will cost before you have the procedure? I have, but the person performing the procedure was never able to tell me the price. That leaves me to make a decision. Do I sign a form saying I will be responsible for this unknown charge or do I stop the procedure until I know how much it cost? How much will my insurance pay? How will my health be affected if I do not have this medical procedure? It is the only area of my life where I sign up front for unknown expenses. Not only that, I know that I am signing for high priced items. It is scary.
I just received a statement for a three day hospital stay. There was no explanation for the charges. I called the billing office and asked for an itemized bill. When I received the bill, most of it was in code. I asked for the code breaker. I was told there was none. I would just have to look the codes up in the dictionary. That helped somewhat. I am not sure why I was charged $15,307 for a patella (the knee cap) because I still have my own original. The dictionary explanation of stem fem leaves me wondering. That cost $8,100. I have no idea where they used $6,646 worth of cement. The Skryker Knee Replacement video mentions cement being used. I just can’t imagine $6,646 worth of cement being used.
I was surprised to see that the Prilosec like tablet I received cost $79. More surprising was the Topiramate tablet that I pay $.03 for cost $128.00 at the hospital.
I thought about contacting Medicare to discuss these charges, but they already approved them. If they unapproved them, that means I could be left owing thousands of dollars. I guess it is best I shut my mouth and pay the bill.
A friend of mine had a similar experience with high costs. She was in the hospital overnight, but did not stay the full 24 hours so she was an outpatient. She did not qualify for Medicare inpatient care. That meant she was charged in full for all of her medicine at the same rate the hospital would charge Medicare. She is paying off the bill at $25 per month for the next four years.
From the Facebook comments to that posting I learned that we have laws that keep the prices of pharmaceuticals outrageously high. Yes, Congress passed laws in the middle of the night that require hospitals to charge high prices for drugs. It doesn’t make any sense to me, but it’s the law. Check out this video from 60 Minutes.
It seems we are all doomed to pay the higher prices until the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented. I tried to find a nice neat explanation of the ACA. After reading until my eyes burned, I can only tell you that we should be better off when the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented. You may be interested in this article about the business end of Obamacare.
What is your experience? How do you feel about health care in America?