The World's Most Insane Health Care Billing System
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Posted by MilesCity.com Webmaster (+10001) 8 years ago
The Motley Fool wrote:
A few years ago, I went to the doctor for a simple procedure. I had high-deductible health insurance and would be paying for the procedure out of pocket.

Before heading in I asked the receptionist what I thought was a simple question: "How much is this going to cost?"

She had no idea. And she had no way to check. She looked at me like it was an unreasonable question. A manager contacted a third-party billing agency to get me a quote, which ended up being nothing close to what I actually paid in the end.

http://www.fool.com/inves...-bill.aspx
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Posted by Wendy Wilson (+6165) 8 years ago
The way medical costs are charged in this country is truly an enigma. There is a great article in a recent Time about this very subject and apparently hospitals maintain some kind of master list of their charges. But if you ask someone how those charges were initially set they have absolutely no idea. It certainly isn't based on a consistent markup over cost or anything reasonable. If you really want to fry your eyeballs on a hospital bill just break your leg. My recent 4 day, 3 night stay cost $49,000. And that did not include the surgeon's or the anesthesiologist's fees. I can understand why uninsured folks would consider bankruptcy in this case. A single payer system would solve some of these issues.

Oh, and I'm healing nicely.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+11757) 8 years ago
I read that article on health care costs that varied by hundreds of percent depending on where you went. Cost was unrelated to outcome. It was unrelated to location. It was apparently random. Very, very frustrating.

We should have gone with single payer with Richard Nixon proposed it in 1972. Imagine how robust our economy would be now.
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Posted by Dillpickle (+34) 8 years ago
From my experience, one reason health care providers can never give an exact quote on the price of a procedure relates directly to what they don't know they are going to receive as payment from insurance. The more insurance companies a doctor carries, the more complicated the pricing schedule becomes, because reimbersement from all the different insurance companies varies so greatly.

Personally, I limit my enrollment to just a few standard insurance plans, and can quote exactly to my patients what a procedure or product will cost.

Single payer would simplify this tremendously. And consequently would also limit some of the bloated profits companies and doctors seek.
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Posted by Hannah Nash (+2495) 8 years ago
And the fallacy that leaving health care an "open market" somehow drives prices down is ludicrous. When you have a broken leg, stroke, injury which requires stitches or other "emergency", there is no "shopping around" for the better price/service. You HAVE to pay whatever they charge; it isn't like you will say, "No, I can't really afford to have that leg sewn back on; I'll show myself out."
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