and those who will see only what they believe.
The potential for reward is far greater if we are neither.
-- Silk --
I got the bill from the hospital stay today. I cannot BELIEVE it! I went in through the emergency room Saturday noonish, and left Tuesday early afternoon.
That's SEVENTEEN THOUSAND!
I don't know for sure how much of that will be covered by insurance. Almost all of it, I think, but I shudder to think of what it would mean if I had no insurance.
When Jay was battling the brain tumor, 1998-2001, he had an MRI with contrast about every other month or so. The MRIs were about $800 then. They said then that a CAT scan (or CT - the terminology seems to be changing) would have been cheaper, but wouldn't show what they wanted to see.
My CAT scan was $1891. Holy crap! That's at least three times what it was ten years ago!
They cultured my urine twice. Total for two cultures - $1134.00! That's totally ridiculous.
I am fully aware that different patients are charged different amounts for the same services, depending on what insurance they have, and what deals the insurance companies have struck with the hospitals and doctors. That's what "in network" means. It means your insurance company has a deal with that provider.
When I was working for The Company in St. Louis, one of my customers was the billing department of a large hospital, and I read computer core dumps when they had a problem. I could see what the hospital expected to receive from all sources. I was incensed to see that some people were charged as little as 20% of what others were charged for the exact same procedures.
Guess who was billed the highest?
People without insurance.
They'd have to pay as much as five times what an insurance company would pay. That looks to me like the uninsured were SUBSIDIZING insurance companies. The hospital had to make up the difference somewhere, right?
And guess who paid the second highest?
Medicare. Apparently the federal government doesn't set limits on what they'll pay like the insurance companies do.
I wonder if my bill is so ridiculous ($567 for one urine culture? My doctor's office sent it out to a lab, and charged $50 for the same thing) because Medicare is now my primary payer, and The Company is now secondary, and they know they can get away with it with Medicare?