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(Business Insider)   California man gets routine appendectomy with 24-hour hospital stay. Billing charges are: A) $550 B) $5500 C) $55,000   (businessinsider.com) divider line 89
    More: Asinine, California Man, visual routine, medical billing, Archives of Internal Medicine, CPT, anesthesia  
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3512 clicks; posted to Business » on 01 Jan 2014 at 10:33 AM (37 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-01-01 10:40:17 AM
That disparity in pricing seems to offer a real opportunity for lawyers to sue and allege discrimination based on this or that. That would be a good thing.

When prices vary wildly, the public comes to realize they are not real and that the expenses they encounter are no more about costs than an overweight suitcase means an airline needs to recover another $200 for their extra effort. When you operate that way, people cease to trust you, not only on matters of cost but it trickles down to whether the physicians, nurses, and facilities are really up to speed. Lose people's trust and folks won't come to even when sick.

And this once again nails the real reform need in health care: costs. Too bad everybody skipped out on that one.
 
2014-01-01 10:45:16 AM

edmo: That disparity in pricing seems to offer a real opportunity for lawyers to sue and allege discrimination based on this or that. That would be a good thing.

When prices vary wildly, the public comes to realize they are not real and that the expenses they encounter are no more about costs than an overweight suitcase means an airline needs to recover another $200 for their extra effort. When you operate that way, people cease to trust you, not only on matters of cost but it trickles down to whether the physicians, nurses, and facilities are really up to speed. Lose people's trust and folks won't come to even when sick.

And this once again nails the real reform need in health care: costs. Too bad everybody skipped out on that one.


Yep, this is what has a lot of people pissed off but there doesn't seem to be a real effort to fix it. They just want you to sign them a blank check basically, and they'll just make it up as they go.
 
2014-01-01 10:49:24 AM
Even the $11,000 that's left AFTER insurance is horrendously high.
 
2014-01-01 10:50:02 AM
My last trip to A+E (what ER is called in the UK) cost me 80 pence. And that was for the cup of coffee I bought during the twenty minutes wait to see the consultant.
 
2014-01-01 10:57:41 AM
Americans are SOOOOOOO screwed!
 
2014-01-01 10:58:53 AM
Only in the United States of Avarice. It would not happen in the civilized world.
 
2014-01-01 11:02:06 AM
I guessed he learned his lesson. Next time he needs to have his appendix removed, I suppose he's going to shop around and get a better deal instead of going to the first place he sees.
 
2014-01-01 11:05:27 AM
Well, I'm assured by a number of American farkers that its worth it because of the quality of care.

I mean, 5 grand for one night?  It must be a state of luxury that puts 5 star hotels to shame!
 
2014-01-01 11:10:09 AM
If you look at the rest of the documents- Aetna only allows the hospital to charge $17,581. they paid $6,461.47. Either he has really shiatty insurance, or something is weird here. I'd want to see his EOB as to why Aetna only paid for 1/3 of a necessary surgery. Especially since based on the hospital bill, it LOOKS like all normal expenses.

Also, I had an appendectomy on my parents gold-plated insurance (their only problem is a giant deductible), and paid something less than $2k out of pocket for it. Mine was an emergency burst on a sunday night, but I was out of the hospital in under 24 hours.
 
2014-01-01 11:29:47 AM

Katie98_KT: If you look at the rest of the documents- Aetna only allows the hospital to charge $17,581. they paid $6,461.47. Either he has really shiatty insurance, or something is weird here. I'd want to see his EOB as to why Aetna only paid for 1/3 of a necessary surgery. Especially since based on the hospital bill, it LOOKS like all normal expenses.

Also, I had an appendectomy on my parents gold-plated insurance (their only problem is a giant deductible), and paid something less than $2k out of pocket for it. Mine was an emergency burst on a sunday night, but I was out of the hospital in under 24 hours.


I'm guessing the difference is deductible.  But, even then, that looks like $5000, which for an individual is very high.
 
2014-01-01 11:30:49 AM
Best health care system in the WORLD!!
 
2014-01-01 11:36:52 AM
Medical pricing is so weird. When I slipped on the ice while curling, I hit my face and busted open my eyebrow. A trip to the ER resulted in a $8500 bill, which covered six stitches and an MRI to make sure I didn't have a concussion. When I told them I had insurance, the bill magically dropped to $4200. So if I was uninsured, I would be required to pay $4300 more. Guess I should have hired a professional negotiator before the accident to get the best rate on all potential treatments.
 
2014-01-01 11:44:14 AM
I have a hernia that I haven't had taken care of yet because even with insurance it will cost me more than $5,000. Probably a lot more. The doctor who would probably perform the operation, who provided me with a second opinion and whom confirmed the hernia, stated that his cost alone for it would be around $500.

Ridiculous that our health care system is the way that it stands now.
If you are sick you should be treated.
 
2014-01-01 11:50:10 AM
Blue Cross / Blue Shield denied coverage for my wife's emergency appendectomy. Yes, this is true.

I won on appeal. But, seriously, if 'the best insurance that money can buy' doesn't cover an emergency appendectomy, what good is it?
 
2014-01-01 11:53:10 AM

Another Government Employee: I'm guessing the difference is deductible.  But, even then, that looks like $5000, which for an individual is very high.


Pretty much that.  A $5k deductible and co-pays up to a $10k-range out-of-pocket cap (likely an HSA-compatible plan).  This type of plan makes perfect sense if you're A) reasonably healthy most years and B) have liquid assets of at least $100k.  That describes maybe 20% of the country.
 
2014-01-01 11:58:16 AM

Fiction Fan: I have a hernia that I haven't had taken care of yet because even with insurance it will cost me more than $5,000. Probably a lot more. The doctor who would probably perform the operation, who provided me with a second opinion and whom confirmed the hernia, stated that his cost alone for it would be around $500.

Ridiculous that our health care system is the way that it stands now.
If you are sick you should be treated.


Take a trip to Thailand - get the op done for less than $500 (in a First World class hospital)

Have a holiday on beach and still come out way ahead
 
2014-01-01 12:05:55 PM

EngineerAU: Medical pricing is so weird. When I slipped on the ice while curling, I hit my face and busted open my eyebrow. A trip to the ER resulted in a $8500 bill, which covered six stitches and an MRI to make sure I didn't have a concussion. When I told them I had insurance, the bill magically dropped to $4200. So if I was uninsured, I would be required to pay $4300 more. Guess I should have hired a professional negotiator before the accident to get the best rate on all potential treatments.


See what worries me is people are going to take their chances when they get an injury like that, and not worry (or know) about the possibility of a concussion.
 
2014-01-01 12:13:14 PM

EngineerAU: Medical pricing is so weird. When I slipped on the ice while curling, I hit my face and busted open my eyebrow. A trip to the ER resulted in a $8500 bill, which covered six stitches and an MRI to make sure I didn't have a concussion. When I told them I had insurance, the bill magically dropped to $4200. So if I was uninsured, I would be required to pay $4300 more. Guess I should have hired a professional negotiator before the accident to get the best rate on all potential treatments.


You'd be surprised how many "free market" folks would've blamed you for not shopping around in advance of your care - y'know, to find the lowest healthcare provider. Never mind that most ERs don't exactly post their prices in an accessible manner, of course.

Single payer universal healthcare. Until it happens, we're just going to continue going broke.
 
2014-01-01 12:16:34 PM

Lawnchair: Another Government Employee: I'm guessing the difference is deductible.  But, even then, that looks like $5000, which for an individual is very high.

Pretty much that.  A $5k deductible and co-pays up to a $10k-range out-of-pocket cap (likely an HSA-compatible plan).  This type of plan makes perfect sense if you're A) reasonably healthy most years and B) have liquid assets of at least $100k.  That describes maybe 20% of the country.


ah, makes sense.

Well, the good news is that ACA has fixed that- maximum out of pocket for an individual is $6,350 and for a family is $12,700.  http://www.bcbsm.com/content/microsites/health-care-reform/en/reform- a lerts/irs-announces-maximum-out-of-pocket-costs.html

So, unless he was on a family plan and hadn't spent anything else on healthcare for the year, he would have a smaller bill if he'd had the appendectomy in 2014.
 
2014-01-01 12:20:05 PM

FormlessOne: Single payer universal healthcare. Until it happens, we're just going to continue going broke.


Unless you work in the health care or health insurance industry. Then you can ride your gravy boat down that river of cash.
 
2014-01-01 12:22:18 PM
If I'm Aetna PPO, wouldn't I immediately challenge the costs and create my own stink over them?  Guy was totally over charged but so was Aetna.  I had an appendectomy in 2004 but i do not remember what the cost was.  I had no health insurance and had to cover it myself but I dont even remember it being more than $2k.

Things like this are why we cant have nice things.
 
2014-01-01 12:24:40 PM
Apparently, doctors and hospital officials think our economy is for everyone else to suffer in. Those Lexus sedans the Docs bought with the big red bow on top won't purchase themselves, you know.
 
2014-01-01 12:28:01 PM
Nothing wrong with this. It's the free market health care in action. The market only charges what demand says it can. Seriously he should have shopped around at a competitor... noob.

Oh wait...
 
2014-01-01 12:30:14 PM

The Flexecutioner: If I'm Aetna PPO, wouldn't I immediately challenge the costs and create my own stink over them?  Guy was totally over charged but so was Aetna.  I had an appendectomy in 2004 but i do not remember what the cost was.  I had no health insurance and had to cover it myself but I dont even remember it being more than $2k.

Things like this are why we cant have nice things.


Well, it's not like Aetna paid $40k... they paid $6k (negotiated rates).  That said, there's perverse incentives for them to not push rates down.  Under PPACA, they can't (theoretically) have overhead (i.e., paying the C-suite) rates over 20%.  20% of a $10k procedure is a lot more golf than 20% of a $2k procedure.

The check on that padding should be competition.  Everyone would switch to a cheaper provider in theory.  But, there's a lot of structural reasons that hasn't really worked out terribly well so far.
 
2014-01-01 12:42:09 PM

Lawnchair: The Flexecutioner: If I'm Aetna PPO, wouldn't I immediately challenge the costs and create my own stink over them?  Guy was totally over charged but so was Aetna.  I had an appendectomy in 2004 but i do not remember what the cost was.  I had no health insurance and had to cover it myself but I dont even remember it being more than $2k.

Things like this are why we cant have nice things.

Well, it's not like Aetna paid $40k... they paid $6k (negotiated rates).  That said, there's perverse incentives for them to not push rates down.  Under PPACA, they can't (theoretically) have overhead (i.e., paying the C-suite) rates over 20%.  20% of a $10k procedure is a lot more golf than 20% of a $2k procedure.

The check on that padding should be competition.  Everyone would switch to a cheaper provider in theory.  But, there's a lot of structural reasons that hasn't really worked out terribly well so far.


ah, i was guessing the only reason they wouldn't challenge that is they in turn billed the govt to pick that up with their own negotiated contracts, or something like that.
 
2014-01-01 12:44:09 PM
So, remind us all why Tort Reform is bad again?
 
2014-01-01 12:47:00 PM
But what we really need is tort reform?
 
2014-01-01 12:49:50 PM

Kyosuke: So, remind us all why Tort Reform is bad again?


This appears to have been in California, which passed MICRA, the gold-standard of tort reform laws, back in 1975.  In fact, possible malpractice payouts have shrunk every year since 1975, since the caps have never been adjusted for inflation.

So, remind us please?
 
2014-01-01 01:03:54 PM
Appendix eh?  Probably went to a non providing hospital because of all the pain he was in.
This bill does sound correct if that is true.

And don't forget about the Ambulance bill.
 
2014-01-01 01:06:05 PM
Is he sure the bill is correct?

When my wife was in the hospital they tried billing me for $8000 or so that I didn't owe.  For months I faxed and mailed them documentation that they ignored.  I tried calling them but they never answered their phone.  Finally I had to take some time off of work and all but camp in the cashier's office (the billing office wouldn't answer their calls either), though the head cashier saw what I was going through and spent a week cleaning it up.  I didn't owe them a dime because my deductible/max out of pocket was already paid out to other people.

There are also companies that audit hospital bills.
 
2014-01-01 01:08:19 PM

edmo: That disparity in pricing seems to offer a real opportunity for lawyers to sue and allege discrimination based on this or that. That would be a good thing.

When prices vary wildly, the public comes to realize they are not real and that the expenses they encounter are no more about costs than an overweight suitcase means an airline needs to recover another $200 for their extra effort. When you operate that way, people cease to trust you, not only on matters of cost but it trickles down to whether the physicians, nurses, and facilities are really up to speed. Lose people's trust and folks won't come to even when sick.

And this once again nails the real reform need in health care: costs. Too bad everybody skipped out on that one.


That's always been my biggest biatch about Obama Care since it does nothing to fix outrageous costs, the only universal health care that works are the ones who implement cost price controls.

On drugs and what can be charged in hospitals.
 
2014-01-01 01:23:21 PM
My appendix burst on Christmas morning 1986.  I was stuck in the hospital for a week (the infection spread in my body).  I wonder how much of my soul I'd have to sell to pay for that today.

/parents had great insurance at the time, we paid very little
//still have a cool scar on my stomach
 
2014-01-01 01:23:52 PM

TV's Vinnie: Apparently, doctors and hospital officials think our economy is for everyone else to suffer in. Those Lexus sedans the Docs bought with the big red bow on top won't purchase themselves, you know.


I was gonna come in here an say "inb4 someone complains that doctors get paid too much", but I'm too late.

/thank you for demonstrating that you have no clue how heathcare works, so that everyone can ignore you in kind
 
2014-01-01 01:24:42 PM

Flab: I guessed he learned his lesson. Next time he needs to have his appendix removed, I suppose he's going to shop around and get a better deal instead of going to the first place he sees.


A lot of insurance companies are returning to the days of having in-network hospitals, specifically because some hospitals are expensive as fark.  People are obviously upset because they can no longer go to the closest doctor or hospital anymore.

The loudest rumblings are when prestigious children's hospitals are no longer in-network.


EngineerAU: Medical pricing is so weird. When I slipped on the ice while curling, I hit my face and busted open my eyebrow. A trip to the ER resulted in a $8500 bill, which covered six stitches and an MRI to make sure I didn't have a concussion. When I told them I had insurance, the bill magically dropped to $4200. So if I was uninsured, I would be required to pay $4300 more. Guess I should have hired a professional negotiator before the accident to get the best rate on all potential treatments.


That's because insurance companies often negotiate lower prices for their members.  I recently had to have some lab work done that was below my deductible threshold.  When I received my bill from the lab, it had a 15% discount because I was a member of insurance plan X.  So even though I had to pay out of pocket, my insurance saved me cash.

On the opposite end of things, you have cash-only clinics that offer a significant discount to people without insurance.  Their whole system is that by not accepting insurance, they can avoid the extra personnel and paperwork that comes with dealing with insurance companies.  As example, the eye clinic that runs out of my local Costco only accepts cash, and getting an Rx renewal for contacts along with one box of contacts is only like $25 more than if I go to an in-network eye clinic and do the same.  I would probably save money if I dumped my eye insurance, but I keep it just in case I ever encounter a major issue with my eyes and need something more than a simple Rx renewal.
 
2014-01-01 01:24:55 PM
Shouldn't have gone to Sutter. Should have gone to UC Davis instead.

Sutter once billed me $8,500 for a 4 hour ER visit and a saline drip. UC Davis bent over backwards to help me pay for a 5-day stay when I had viral meningitis - My only bill from that was about $125 for an MRI.

They have prime rib on the dinner menu at UCD. It was a little dry, but still quite delicious.
 
2014-01-01 01:41:48 PM

Dinjiin: Flab: I guessed he learned his lesson. Next time he needs to have his appendix removed, I suppose he's going to shop around and get a better deal instead of going to the first place he sees.

A lot of insurance companies are returning to the days of having in-network hospitals, specifically because some hospitals are expensive as fark.  People are obviously upset because they can no longer go to the closest doctor or hospital anymore.

The loudest rumblings are when prestigious children's hospitals are no longer in-network.


EngineerAU: Medical pricing is so weird. When I slipped on the ice while curling, I hit my face and busted open my eyebrow. A trip to the ER resulted in a $8500 bill, which covered six stitches and an MRI to make sure I didn't have a concussion. When I told them I had insurance, the bill magically dropped to $4200. So if I was uninsured, I would be required to pay $4300 more. Guess I should have hired a professional negotiator before the accident to get the best rate on all potential treatments.

That's because insurance companies often negotiate lower prices for their members.  I recently had to have some lab work done that was below my deductible threshold.  When I received my bill from the lab, it had a 15% discount because I was a member of insurance plan X.  So even though I had to pay out of pocket, my insurance saved me cash.

On the opposite end of things, you have cash-only clinics that offer a significant discount to people without insurance.  Their whole system is that by not accepting insurance, they can avoid the extra personnel and paperwork that comes with dealing with insurance companies.  As example, the eye clinic that runs out of my local Costco only accepts cash, and getting an Rx renewal for contacts along with one box of contacts is only like $25 more than if I go to an in-network eye clinic and do the same.  I would probably save money if I dumped my eye insurance, but I keep it just in case I ever encounter a major issue with my eyes and need something more than a simple Rx renewal.


In case you hadn't noticed, my post was in jest. People with burst appendices can't always get to an "in network" hospital, nor would they know that their "in network" hospital will charge them $5000 a night for a room.

I don't know if it was your plan or not, but you made a very good argument for single payer healthcare, and govt-run hospitals.
 
2014-01-01 01:56:16 PM

grinding_journalist: TV's Vinnie: Apparently, doctors and hospital officials think our economy is for everyone else to suffer in. Those Lexus sedans the Docs bought with the big red bow on top won't purchase themselves, you know.

I was gonna come in here an say "inb4 someone complains that doctors get paid too much", but I'm too late.


Well, they do. Even Ric Romero comes in and says "Really? You actually need me to come in and reveal that?"
 
2014-01-01 02:00:30 PM
Looking  at a bill from OHSU for 25 days after a accident, 4500 per day for the bed, 1000 per day for the use of a bipap. total was well over 300,000. Health Net paid about 90%
 
2014-01-01 02:41:21 PM

Flab: People with burst appendices can't always get to an "in network" hospital, nor would they know that their "in network" hospital will charge them $5000 a night for a room.


My insurance company sent me a wallet sized card with the preferred in-network hospitals in my area that I'm supposed to hand to ambulance drivers in the event of an emergency.  Nice idea, but it doesn't do any good if it isn't on me or if I am unconscious.  Maybe I should staple it to my chest just to be safe.

But in the event that I inadvertently go to an out-of-network hospital for an emergency, my insurance will partially reimburse me.  But only to the point that I am stable enough to be transferred to an in-network hospital.  And I assume that they'll probably be d!(ks about when that point is and if it was an emergency at all.


Flab: I don't know if it was your plan or not, but you made a very good argument for single payer healthcare, and govt-run hospitals.


I'm for a single payer model, but for slightly different reasons.  Why should companies have to get insurance for their employees?  Unless the employee's job is dangerous, they shouldn't be involved.  It is just an added complexity that makes it harder to run a business.  A couple of international companies have publicly commented that they picked Canada over the US when opening North American facilities because they didn't want to have to deal with our insurance BS.

Next, I hate that the government now forces people to conduct business with a private company or co-op.  Have you seen the jump in stock prices for medical insurance companies in the past 5 years?  Nowhere else in our lives are we forced to do something like this.

On a side note, but if a state or national single payer plan was instituted and they did get serious about capping costs, I don't see the idea of health networks disappearing.  Some hospitals just charge a lot more for their services and would resist coming down in price unless price caps were written into law.  I think the carrot (networks) will result in much fewer unintended consequences than the stick (hard caps).  After all, if people are willing to purchase supplementary private insurance that covers those premium hospitals or are willing to pay out-of-pocket, then more power to them.

As to nationalized hospitals as they have in the UK, I'm not a proponent.  I believe it is easier to be the overseer than to run the places yourself.  The UK government seems to be under fire weekly because of some mishap in one of their hospitals.  Given how bad politics are in this country, it would allow for open season on whomever is in power.  They would also be susceptible to "starve the beast" tactics by the right and "closed union shop" tactics by the left, among a hundred other corruptible things I could think of.


Flab: In case you hadn't noticed, my post was in jest.


Sarcasm is lost on the Internet.  And is lost when the reader was up partying the night before.
 
2014-01-01 03:05:29 PM

Dinjiin: That's because insurance companies often negotiate lower prices for their members.  I recently had to have some lab work done that was below my deductible threshold.  When I received my bill from the lab, it had a 15% discount because I was a member of insurance plan X.  So even though I had to pay out of pocket, my insurance saved me cash.

On the opposite end of things, you have cash-only clinics that offer a significant discount to people without insurance.  Their whole system is that by not accepting insurance, they can avoid the extra personnel and paperwork that comes with dealing with insurance companies.


There have been stories about family medicine practices doing the same thing - running a cash-only business and posting all their prices in the lobby. Flat fees for checkups, office visits, prescriptions, etc. Those doctors are probably making money hand over fist... and unlike the Medicare profiteers, they're doing it honestly.
 
2014-01-01 03:11:11 PM

Dinjiin: As to nationalized hospitals as they have in the UK, I'm not a proponent.  I believe it is easier to be the overseer than to run the places yourself.  The UK government seems to be under fire weekly because of some mishap in one of their hospitals.  Given how bad politics are in this country, it would allow for open season on whomever is in power.  They would also be susceptible to "starve the beast" tactics by the right and "closed union shop" tactics by the left, among a hundred other corruptible things I could think of.


The UK system is very decentralised. The "CEO of the NHS" more or less sets central policies and stuff. Each city or area will have a Trust, where a CEO and board will run that hospital or group with a significant degree of autonomy. This is actually a costly thing in some cases since one Trust will get a good deal from a supplier while the Trust next town over might be paying twice the price. There are centralised buying services but each Trust is free to decide whether they want to use it or not.

Overall the vast majority here are very happy with it, and no politician would ever dare suggest cutting the NHS, it would be political suicide.

/My mother has just had cataract operations at Moorfields, a world class eye hospital. Not only did it not cost her a penny but even the coffee and biscuits were free! I had to pay 80 pence for my coffee!
 
2014-01-01 03:20:20 PM
Katie98_KT:
ah, makes sense. Well, the good news is that ACA has fixed that- maximum out of pocket for an individual is $6,350 and for a family is $12,700. http://www.bcbsm.com/content/microsites/health-care-reform/en/reform- a lerts/irs-announces-maximum-out-of-pocket-costs.html So, unless he was on a family plan and hadn't spent anything else on healthcare for the year, he would have a smaller bill if he'd had the appendectomy in 2014.
====================================================

Unfortunately, the 'out of pocket limit' does not cover deductibles themselves, copays, and about 10 other things.

So it's not really that great... but it WILL prevent getting ridiculous 55k bills in the mail. So... it's a start.
 
2014-01-01 03:29:41 PM
When I was 16 (1977) I ruptured a disc in my lower back. I spent 11 days in the hospital.  Had a spinal tap and major back surgery.  Then several months of physical therapy.  My dad's end of the bill?  $250!

Healthcare!  Just another way the 1% are draining away the wealth of the middle class and keeping the poors poor.
 
2014-01-01 03:35:49 PM

jake3988: Katie98_KT:
ah, makes sense. Well, the good news is that ACA has fixed that- maximum out of pocket for an individual is $6,350 and for a family is $12,700. http://www.bcbsm.com/content/microsites/health-care-reform/en/reform- a lerts/irs-announces-maximum-out-of-pocket-costs.html So, unless he was on a family plan and hadn't spent anything else on healthcare for the year, he would have a smaller bill if he'd had the appendectomy in 2014.
====================================================

Unfortunately, the 'out of pocket limit' does not cover deductibles themselves, copays, and about 10 other things.

So it's not really that great... but it WILL prevent getting ridiculous 55k bills in the mail. So... it's a start.


No, out of pocket limits are out of pocket limits.

IRS says: "and the annual out-of-pocket expenses (deductibles, co-payments, and other amounts, but not
premiums) do not exceed $6,350 for self-only coverage or $12,700 for family coverage "

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/rp-13-25.pdf
 
2014-01-01 03:58:10 PM
Take a trip to Thailand - get the op done for less than $500 (in a First World class hospital)

Have a holiday on beach and still come out way ahead



No thanks. I've seen Bestgore.com.
If you take a trip to Thailand, you may as well write a will before you go.
 
2014-01-01 04:16:14 PM
Ha, his CT Scan was only $7k, that's half of what I was charged 4 years ago.
 
2014-01-01 04:25:41 PM

Flint Ironstag: The UK system is very decentralised.


Plus there's private insurance for non-NHS doctors and hospitals for those who want it. The insurance covers more than insurance here in the US does, costs a bundle less, and private hospital stays are far cheaper than hospital stays in the US. Long story short, the UK is whipping the US when it comes to health care provision in every possible way.
 
2014-01-01 05:17:17 PM

EngineerAU: Medical pricing is so weird. When I slipped on the ice while curling, I hit my face and busted open my eyebrow. A trip to the ER resulted in a $8500 bill, which covered six stitches and an MRI to make sure I didn't have a concussion. When I told them I had insurance, the bill magically dropped to $4200. So if I was uninsured, I would be required to pay $4300 more. Guess I should have hired a professional negotiator before the accident to get the best rate on all potential treatments.


Pretty much.  The uninsured get farked royally.  And the worst thing is?  Most uninsured people try to pay their bills; they're not a horde of deadbeats like the right claims.

My father was on the board of directors of a large healthcare company and ran their labs.  Worked a few summers in their billing department.  There's a very common blood test that if you've ever had bloodwork ran you've likely had it done.  Cost to the hospital was seven dollars and some change; this included all direct costs, overhead, building depretiation, courier fees, taxes, everything.  Depending on the insurance, the company would get 17 dollars to 110.

Uninsured people would be charged a few hundred dollars.
 
2014-01-01 05:34:28 PM
Usually restaurants have a menu posted outside with prices for everything. Perhaps it's time for hospitals to start doing the same? A little transparency never hurts.
 
2014-01-01 05:44:06 PM

clkeagle: There have been stories about family medicine practices doing the same thing - running a cash-only business and posting all their prices in the lobby. Flat fees for checkups, office visits, prescriptions, etc. Those doctors are probably making money hand over fist... and unlike the Medicare profiteers, they're doing it honestly.


But that "Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman" system won't work for the expensive, complicated, technological stuff that is responsible for longer life expectancies.
 
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