Well, the hospital bills have reached new levels of absurdity. I thought my medical bills from a few years back were crazy, but this one takes the cake. I particularity like the $1900 charge for an Advair inhaler ( listed as “FLUTICAS/SALMETER INH 500/50″) on the bill, and $900 for Fluticasone nasal spray( ie Flonase). This would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious. Ah, but not all is bad, they only charge 89 cents for a laxative pill.
Below is the actual itemized hospital bill for a 6 day hospitalization I had back in April. Mind you, this was a relatively mild exacerbation that only required one day in the ICU and no intubation. As you can see on the summary page of the bill, my insurance company and Medicare paid a pre-negotioated rate ( about 10% of the billed price) Together they paid a total of $10,018 for this $109,000 bill, and because I have a managed healthcare plan (HMO), the hospital can only bill me for what the insurance pays. In other words Im off the hook for the other hundred and nine grand. You’ll notice on the bill that the hospital makes a point of stating this, in their own words “Amount Absorbed by Hospital $109,048.75″. The implication being that the hospital lost $109,00 by taking care of me? I kinda doubt. I think the $10,000 paid by the insurance was more than enough to cover the hospitals actual cost of taking care of me…and then some. Instead of writing off such huge portions of these bills, why don’t hospitals just charge realistic prices to begin with. It sure would make things a lot less confusing.
You know what’s really scary though? If I didn’t have health insurance or Medicare, I would be liable for the entire $119K, and on average I rack up about 4 times this amount EVERY SINGLE YEAR in hospital charges!! Oh, and that doesn’t include outpatient procedures or Physician fees, those are billed separately.
Hey, Im not complaining about the services or care I receive at the hospital. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have good health insurance, I just don’t understand the rational behind the outrageous charges. I don’t think the industry itself even knows.
* And just a personal observation.. I noticed that they billed me for a bunch of expensive cardiac blood tests in the ER. I have asthma, not heart disease. This is why I always request my medical records after a hospitalization to make sure they jive with what’s being billed.