Sunday, February 12, 2012

Don't Believe Health Care Costs Are Bloated? We Have Proof..

We Got a BIG Surprise From the Lab This Week....


     We all know health care is expensive.. It's especially expensive when you lose your job and have no health coverage.  We got a real good idea of how nuts the system and overcharging it is when our doctor was nice enough to do us a favor - sort of...


      For about 2 years now, I've had this problem with my throat. I can't sing like I used to, my glands (particularly my left one) have felt swollen and sore, and I've constantly had to take throat spray and cough drops to soothe them.  I've gone to my doctor numerous times or it, but I kept getting 'they look fine' as an answer. It affected me so much that I couldn't work at 100%, where I had to pace myself to make it through the day. They finally fired me on November 30th, which is why I'm back home..


     Before I left, I made one last visit, at my own cost, to get it checked out again... It's been a concern because my Mom died from Hodgkin's Disease , which is basically cancer of the lymphatic system, which includes your glands... My doctor suggested ANOTHER blood test (my 4th), so I agreed. She also suggested seeing an ENT (ear, nose, throat) specialist.  The cost for this 10 minutes of wisdom? $100 out of pocket, which was still $75 cheaper than they charged my insurance company...


    Now, I was aware that I would be paying for the blood tests as well.  Maybe I should have asked 'how much', but I didn't. However, they did give me a 70% discount card for the tests.  Apparently, they ran TEN different tests, none of which I could tell you, because they were never explained to me.  All I got was a phone call the next day, saying that my bad cholesterol was high (becuase I ate 2 eggs right before the test, duh!).  So, I sat at home, and waited for the bill....


    Well, the lab finally got it to me - and it was for $721.00 !!  Holy Shit.... Now, of course, I did have my discount card, which dropped it to $216.50 - thank God for that.  But, it immediately gave me an idea of how much health care professionals overbill insurance companies... Let's review it to that point: they cut 43% off my visit, and 70% off my lab tests.  Add to that discount cards for co-pays on prescriptions that chopped off 78%, and it gives you an idea of what they'll actually take for their services....


   Yeah, we're all for free markets and letting it find a reasonable price... but when everyone is willing to cut everything in half or more, it gives you an idea of just how much extra America pays for health insurance than it probably needs to.  Lobbyists probably have a lot to do with it, along with the everpresent 'R&D costs' that get put into everything.  You wonder why the hospital charges $17 for a Tylenol?  It's because some moron at the insurance company will pay it, without looking...


   I could have picked up my coverage through COBRA - at a cost of $438/ month.. To justify the cost, I'd have to go through this every month, and then some. This is why a lot of people don't have health coverage - it's cheaper to just pay on your own if you're only reasonably healthy.. Maybe if they gave us all these kinds of discounts, we could come up with a comprehensive health care plan for everyone. Sorry, I was pipedreaming again...

.     

3 comments:

Bobby said...

Mike...It hit me the other day. Isn't this price gouging? Why can't we file a lawsuit against hospitals, etc for charging us $27. for a freakin Claritin???

TheOSide said...

Not long ago I was charged $440 for a basic EKG or ECG. The machine only cost about $2500 brand new and the hospital is charging almost $500 per test... it's really a shame!

Mike Reino said...

It might be pretty easy populist pickings to complain about the health care industry, but it sounds like I'm not alone..