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View Full Version : My hospital bill... WTF?


dtebbe
05-02-2005, 09:53 PM
So I had a hernia surgury a while back, and just got the bill from the hospital the other day. I have a high-deductable insurance policy that is part of the PHCS network. Basically we get billed the PHCS HMO rate.

My bill from the hospital for a 2 hour outpatient surgury was $7,320.

Now, the clincher. The PHCS negotiated rate was $1,620.80. A friggin' $5699.20 discount. So basically the HMO pays $1600 for something some poor sap without insurance gets soaked $7300 for.

This, is wrong. I mean I can understand the metrics, but there is no excuse for charging someone without insurance $5600 more than what an HMO pays.

Then comes the doctor's bill. $1300 (for 1.5 hours). HMO rate $627. Now, the best part, I get the bill from the doctor and it shows I owed $1300, then there is a line called "general write off" for $673. Now, from what I can tell, the doctor will make $627 tax free, because on his books he is "writing off" $673 on a $1300 bill. Talk about a scam... bill double the going rate, then "write off" the loss for a tax free rate of about $418 per hour. Where do I sign up?

DT

Boise_Chief
05-02-2005, 10:04 PM
I agree, it should be criminal. If there is anyone in the medical field that could explain why this isn't completely outrageous, please share.

elvomito
05-02-2005, 10:33 PM
and why is there 3 seperate bills for each visit?
that is too difficult to keep track of
who can change this?

stevieray
05-02-2005, 10:42 PM
five stitches ended up costing me 6k. I was there three hours. 800 for the ambulance alone.

Earthling
05-03-2005, 03:41 AM
five stitches ended up costing me 6k. I was there three hours. 800 for the ambulance alone.
Yeah...I've had the ambulance called for me before but declined and drove myself to the hospital after asking them 'who's paying for this?'. My cousin in Elko, Nevada had to have emergency heart surgery and they billed him for the airplane ride (6K for the 250 mi. trip that is not covered by his insurance).

|Zach|
05-03-2005, 03:51 AM
ďAlright, the 100 dollars for sex, but 50 dollars for rustproofing? Hey Sunshine, I donít mean to call you on this one, especially because Iím in a prom dress, and Iím the mayor of this here town..."-Todd Barry

trndobrd
05-03-2005, 03:54 AM
Then comes the doctor's bill. $1300 (for 1.5 hours). HMO rate $627. Now, the best part, I get the bill from the doctor and it shows I owed $1300, then there is a line called "general write off" for $673. Now, from what I can tell, the doctor will make $627 tax free, because on his books he is "writing off" $673 on a $1300 bill. Talk about a scam... bill double the going rate, then "write off" the loss for a tax free rate of about $418 per hour. Where do I sign up?

DT


So do you owe $627 or $1300?


A buddy of mine got fed up with his bill for an outpatient proceedure and demanded a line item list of charges (which they should have furnished anyway). Once he had that, he went back to the clinic and had a conversation that went something like this:

"It says her that you charged me $30 for a plastic tray?"

"That's correct"

"Where is it?"

"What?"

"Where is my plastic tray?"

"We threw it away?"

"But it's mine. You are billing me for it."

"We threw it away."

"Either you give it to me right now, or take it off my bill. I didn't give you permission to throw away personal property."

Eventually, he got several hundred bucks taken off his bill for stuff they may have or have not ever given him in the first place.

NewChief
05-03-2005, 05:27 AM
We just had our son in February. Bills just keep trickling in.

They've given us a grand total of everything we owe about three different times, and every time it's different amount. First it was "only" $200 because we'd prepaid a ton of dough. Now we're getting bills that say $700. Then we got a bill that said $670. On top of that, some of the bills say they're for my son and some say they're for my wife.

I can't make heads or tails of it, in all honesty. I'm going to end up having to call the hospital and request a itemized bill that has the true total of what I owe, get the amount, and have them sign in blood that I'm finished paying them once I cut them a check.


On top of that, we frequently have to have blood work done at this hospital for our son. You wouldn't even believe the SNAFU that occurs there every time we go.

I'm getting pissed off just thinking about it.

Amnorix
05-03-2005, 06:22 AM
Health care costs are a growing nightmare. The system is completely and utterly dysfunctional.

trndobrd
05-03-2005, 07:01 AM
We just had our son in February. Bills just keep trickling in.

They've given us a grand total of everything we owe about three different times, and every time it's different amount. First it was "only" $200 because we'd prepaid a ton of dough. Now we're getting bills that say $700. Then we got a bill that said $670. On top of that, some of the bills say they're for my son and some say they're for my wife.

I can't make heads or tails of it, in all honesty. I'm going to end up having to call the hospital and request a itemized bill that has the true total of what I owe, get the amount, and have them sign in blood that I'm finished paying them once I cut them a check.


On top of that, we frequently have to have blood work done at this hospital for our son. You wouldn't even believe the SNAFU that occurs there every time we go.

I'm getting pissed off just thinking about it.

I had a case once where the hospital had billed almost everything associated with the delivery under the name of the newborn. The insurance company insisted the child was not on the insurance plan and did not have an insurance card. That was a frustrating mess.

Saulbadguy
05-03-2005, 07:07 AM
Rub some dirt in it.

Skip Towne
05-03-2005, 07:42 AM
And they called Jesse James a crook.

R&GHomer
05-03-2005, 08:01 AM
Several years ago my appendix ruptured and I had to have an emergency appendectomy. At the time, I thought I had good insurance and it was being taken care of. I received a bill for $350, and then one for $400. I pay it and.. well, I think itís taken care of. A couple of months later the company I work for went under and I got a different job.

About a year and a half later; I receive a letter from an attorney advising me that Iím being sued for 13K for unpaid medical bills related to the surgery. Needless too say I about freaked out. Turns out the company stopped paying the insurance premiums about a month after I had it. Now, that didnít stop the company from taking the money out of my check for those few months. I donít know about you all, but thatís stealing in my book. It took over two years for the bankruptcy courts to release the monies to the hospital and ruined my credit in the process. WTF!

I remember my Mom making me take everything thing from the hospital. At the time, Iím like, what the hell do I want the plastic barf pan, or travel sized tooth paste and brush for? She said I paid for it, and too wait until I got the bill. Are you ****ing kidding me! The tooth brush and paste ďthe kind you get for freeĒ when your kids school is teaching dental hygiene was over a $150 bucks and the plastic barf pan was $45.00. Our medical system is totally out of control.

wutamess
05-03-2005, 08:04 AM
We just had our son in February. Bills just keep trickling in.

They've given us a grand total of everything we owe about three different times, and every time it's different amount. First it was "only" $200 because we'd prepaid a ton of dough. Now we're getting bills that say $700. Then we got a bill that said $670. On top of that, some of the bills say they're for my son and some say they're for my wife.

I can't make heads or tails of it, in all honesty. I'm going to end up having to call the hospital and request a itemized bill that has the true total of what I owe, get the amount, and have them sign in blood that I'm finished paying them once I cut them a check.


On top of that, we frequently have to have blood work done at this hospital for our son. You wouldn't even believe the SNAFU that occurs there every time we go.

I'm getting pissed off just thinking about it.

Last year I experienced the same thing... They told me it would end up being $250 but I kept getting different bills - $400, $280, etc...

I didn't pay for about 4-6 months and ended up getting a settlement bill that said if I couldn't afford to pay the bill I could pay it off at discounted rate of $180 or something like that.

Moral of the story... don't pay or contact them because 9 times out of 10 they'll bend you over because they really don't know themselves. It won't go against your credit report so you have a win-win situation if you just wait it out. They'll eventually send you a discounted rate bill.

I'm going to have to go through this again later this year.

patteeu
05-03-2005, 08:11 AM
So do you owe $627 or $1300?


A buddy of mine got fed up with his bill for an outpatient proceedure and demanded a line item list of charges (which they should have furnished anyway). Once he had that, he went back to the clinic and had a conversation that went something like this:

"It says her that you charged me $30 for a plastic tray?"

"That's correct"

"Where is it?"

"What?"

"Where is my plastic tray?"

"We threw it away?"

"But it's mine. You are billing me for it."

"We threw it away."

"Either you give it to me right now, or take it off my bill. I didn't give you permission to throw away personal property."

Eventually, he got several hundred bucks taken off his bill for stuff they may have or have not ever given him in the first place.

Why did he leave the plastic tray there in the first place? If he wanted it, he should have taken it home with him. I would have thrown it away too.

It's good to check your medical bill line items because you can frequently find that you've been double charged for things, but to assume that you shouldn't pay for anything that they didn't send home with you is ridiculous. They charge you for gause pads that they swab your wound with too, but they don't send them home with you. They are disposable.

ct
05-03-2005, 08:15 AM
My 4 year old son had a similar out-patient surgery, the clinic bill alone was $6,000. The provider 'arranged rate' was about $800. I was as stunned as you were.

chiefs4me
05-03-2005, 08:32 AM
We must have damn good insurance.....cigna. I never paid a penny for my son to be born. Went to the doctor yesterday for a poison ivy shot and didn't pay a dime. They said it was covered under insurance. Four years ago we were heading home to camp and the bike rack came off of the camper, my husband got out to get it off of the highway by springfield and a car hit it doing 70 which in turn hit my husband. They closed the highway and life flighted him to St John's in springfield, he spent 12 days in the hospital with collasped lung, took out his spleen, broken legs and all. The bill was close to 50 thousand dollars. We didn't have to pay a dime. So go figure, I guess it depends on what kind of policy you have.

Skip do you remember reading about this in the paper, it was all over the news.

Skip Towne
05-03-2005, 08:36 AM
We must have damn good insurance.....cigna. I never paid a penny for my son to be born. Went to the doctor yesterday for a poison ivy shot and didn't pay a dime. They said it was covered under insurance. Four years ago we were heading home to camp and the bike rack came off of the camper, my husband got out to get it off of the highway by springfield and a car hit it doing 70 which in turn hit my husband. They closed the highway and life flighted him to St John's in springfield, he spent 12 days in the hospital with collasped lung, took out his spleen, broken legs and all. The bill was close to 50 thousand dollars. We didn't have to pay a dime. So go figure, I guess it depends on what kind of policy you have.

Skip do you remember reading about this in the paper, it was all over the news.
I wasn't in the Springfield area 4 years ago. And, anyway, if it wasn't on the Planet I didn't read it. I get all my news on the Planet.

chiefs4me
05-03-2005, 08:40 AM
I wasn't in the Springfield area 4 years ago. And, anyway, if it wasn't on the Planet I didn't read it. I get all my news on the Planet.



ROFL.......I don't know if I would admit to that.

Skip Towne
05-03-2005, 08:46 AM
ROFL.......I don't know if I would admit to that.
Why not? It's quicker, more comprehensive and more accurate. If something happens 10 minutes from now I'll bet I know about it before you can read about it in the paper.

Saulbadguy
05-03-2005, 08:51 AM
Why not? It's quicker, more comprehensive and more accurate. If something happens 10 minutes from now I'll bet I know about it before you can read about it in the paper.
I'm the same way. I don't ever watch the news, or read a newspaper. Usually its stuff I really don't care about anyways. Sometimes I check our newspapers website for sports related things, but thats it.

Uncle_Ted
05-03-2005, 09:17 AM
Now, from what I can tell, the doctor will make $627 tax free, because on his books he is "writing off" $673 on a $1300 bill.


I doubt it's a write off in the bad debt sense ... it's a reduction of the bill. Pretty sure this doesn't count as a tax write-off (and strangely enough, if it did, then technically it's income to you).

Another option not mentioned is to ask any medical professionals that you might know personally to look at your detailed bill line by line. They should know what is customary and what is not. I used to know a nurse that worked for an insurance company ... her job was to review bills received from hospitals and dispute unwarranted charges (on behalf of the insurer, of course). She told me that most of the bills had at least one item where they were overbilled or billed for something they never received.

Kyle401
05-03-2005, 09:27 AM
Medical billing systems generally seem to rival the IRS for complexity and ambiguity. It often seems like they are willfully trying to rip you off. I have recieved multiple bills for the same service several times even after paying the first one. Now I always strictly document everything and refuse to pay anything until I have verification that I have recieved the billable total amount.

patteeu
05-03-2005, 11:09 AM
I doubt it's a write off in the bad debt sense ... it's a reduction of the bill. Pretty sure this doesn't count as a tax write-off (and strangely enough, if it did, then technically it's income to you).

Another option not mentioned is to ask any medical professionals that you might know personally to look at your detailed bill line by line. They should know what is customary and what is not. I used to know a nurse that worked for an insurance company ... her job was to review bills received from hospitals and dispute unwarranted charges (on behalf of the insurer, of course). She told me that most of the bills had at least one item where they were overbilled or billed for something they never received.

I had a couple of bills for extended hospitalizations about a decade ago and my wife, a nurse, ended up going through them line by line to sort out the payment issues we had with the insurance companies. She found all kinds of things that were either billed incorrectly or processed by insurance incorrectly. I always told her that she should have tried to turn it into a business.

fr0sty_2000
05-03-2005, 11:10 AM
I know excatly what your going thru. This past January I had Kidney Stones. They hurt like hell, and I got tired of the pain so I called the doctor, he told me to rush to ER.. yadda yadda ya..

Anyway, I get to the ER, they get me into room immediatly. They gave me a shot of something that knocked me out for about 18 hours. When I woke up I was at home. I never remember leaving the hospitial, getting in the car, or even walking into the house, although my wife swears I did it all myself. She said, we even stopped at McDonalds on the way home.

Anyway, I get a bill 2 months ago, that says I owe them something around $26,500!!!

When I tried to call the billing dept at the hospital, they explianed I had a catscan charge 3 times on my bill. She put me on hold forever, and when she came back, she told me, that they had done 3 catscans, and took X-rays of me. Each time they fire up the catscan it cost $7,500.

I was outraged... Why the hell did I need 3 catscans? Why not 1? They explained that the machine messed up the first time, they found nothing the second time, the X-ray's found the stones in my kidney, so they put me back in the chamber of darkness for a 3rd time before they found them.

Anyway, they just sent me home, never did surgery. Just gave me some high powered medicine, and a screen to piss thru to "catch" the stones.

I am still fighting these damn bills, b/c my insurance is refusing them, and the hospital wants thier money... looks like I will end up in court to battle this out with my insurance comp...

Good luck with yours..

sorry for the long read

dave0320
05-03-2005, 11:34 AM
I was in the ER a few monts ago, and was finally admitted with a herniated disk. When the biils started to roll in I got hit with a $450.00 deductiable and no ammounts allowed. Once I satisfied the deductiable, I started to see items on the bill such as "not covered, patient pays $0.00, or network discount applied". You are right, the person with little or no insurance gets to pay the full cost.
:banghead:

StcChief
05-03-2005, 11:39 AM
Know fact.
The medical information systems are crap.
Hospitals,doctors have to dealing with every insurance carrier and their individual non-standard interfaces drives the cost thru the roof.

They insurance carriers are the main culprit because if the interfaces were standard it would be easy to cheat/fool them.

Amnorix
05-03-2005, 11:46 AM
I am still fighting these damn bills, b/c my insurance is refusing them, and the hospital wants thier money... looks like I will end up in court to battle this out with my insurance comp...

Good luck with yours..

sorry for the long read

If you have insurance, then this should be a battle between the hospital and your insurance company. You should only be responsible for any co-pay. Consult iwth your insurance company on this, and then tell the hospital to go pound sand.

I had to go through this with my Mother ad nauseum. She'd go to the hospital, then get a bill for some outrageous amount. Then I call the insurance company, blah, blah, blah.

el borracho
05-03-2005, 12:22 PM
Last year I experienced the same thing... They told me it would end up being $250 but I kept getting different bills - $400, $280, etc...

I didn't pay for about 4-6 months and ended up getting a settlement bill that said if I couldn't afford to pay the bill I could pay it off at discounted rate of $180 or something like that.

Moral of the story... don't pay or contact them because 9 times out of 10 they'll bend you over because they really don't know themselves. It won't go against your credit report so you have a win-win situation if you just wait it out. They'll eventually send you a discounted rate bill.

I'm going to have to go through this again later this year.
This is probably part of the explanation.

The hospitals give insurance companies a reduced rate right at the beginning because the insurance companies will pay it unlike the uninsured guy who the hospitals have to chase forever and who won't pay, anyway. It costs the hospitals a lot of money trying to collect on bills.

Idahored
05-03-2005, 01:09 PM
My father a few years ago was bitten by a dog. He did not have insurance, but thought the dog may have been rabid so he went to the emergency room at the hospital. They cleaned up the wound, checked for rabies and sent him home. Well he gets the bill, and it is high, but he pays it. A couple of months later he gets another bill from a doctor for the work performed. Well, he knew that an intern was the only person that attended him so he calls the hospital. Come to find out, the doctor was the one on staff that night, not the person that worked on him. So Dad tells them sorry, but this guy didn't see me so I'm not going to pay him. He suggests that they just forget that part of the bill.

Well of course the hospital doesn't and keeps sending bills. Finally they send a collection letter. My Dad is a 5'8" 185 lb ball of muscle with a really bad attitude and a fuse about 1 micron long. You can see where this is going........

Dad shows up at the hospital and asks to see the doctor. They show him into the docs office and Dad asks the Doc why he is billing him when he never saw him. The Doc says well that is just proceedure. Dan said, well proceedure or not I'm not going to pay you for sitting on your a@@. The Doc says well I'm sorry, but you will have to pay...

Dad leans over the desk about 6 inches from the guys face, then hits the oak desk with his fist so hard that everything jumps about 4 inches off the top. Then he said real slow, "Doctor, you will take this amount off my bill or you will personally need a doctor....you getting the point?"

A new bill came a week later and the Doctors part of the bill said it was paid in full.

Calcountry
05-03-2005, 01:13 PM
I agree, it should be criminal. If there is anyone in the medical field that could explain why this isn't completely outrageous, please share.I don't understand why they cannot provide a comprehensive invoice that breaks down, in simple, readible terms, ALL services provided from ALL involved doctors and parties for each occurence.

God help you if you have overlapping occurences, you don't know what the fug to pay.

:shake:

Why can't health care follow the same rules of business that the rest of us do?

Give me a timely, not in 4 months, goddam invoice please. :cuss::mad:

Boozer
05-03-2005, 02:44 PM
Isn't Russ in some sort of medical billing position? Perhaps he could shed some light on this stuff. I've been fortunate enough [knock on wood] to never have dealt with these problems before, but there's got to be a rationale explanation.

Skip Towne
05-03-2005, 02:47 PM
Isn't Russ in some sort of medical billing position? Perhaps he could shed some light on this stuff. I've been fortunate enough [knock on wood] to never have dealt with these problems before, but there's got to be a rationale explanation.
I think Russ is the thug who comes to collect all the bogus charges.

mrbiggz
05-03-2005, 02:53 PM
five stitches ended up costing me 6k. I was there three hours. 800 for the ambulance alone.

Same thing happend to me but not quite as bad. I was unemployed the spring after 911 and got hit with a baseball. The accident required three stitches and a shot of penicilin. docter bill=600 hospital bill=1000

wtf?