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Outrageous Hospital Charges Billed to Patients
Even though the doctors and nurses may have saved someone from death or simply stitched up a boy for nasty cut, the bill for such services often send them into shock, dismay and anger.
The high costs are to support the hospital, pay the doctors (who earn over 100K a year), RN's (who earn 75K+ a year), pay the infrastructure costs and so on. Like any business, hospitals overcharge for their services or product. No different than an Apple iPhone retailing for $600, but only costs $250 to make. Yet, patients and nearly anyone still asks, "why such obvious over pricing?"
Why does the ambulance charge $800 to go a few miles to a hospital? This seems like robbery, legal robbery! But hospitals in California must published what they charge for services and now even more shock and awe exist.
Having a baby? Well, it will cost you $5,500, excluding $731 for each hour of labor. Need codeine? Hospitals charge $20 a pill, even though, you can buy them at Walgreens for only 50 cents a pill. The hospital will charge you $543 for a breast pump kit that you can buy elsewhere for $25. These examples are small change. Try, $32,000 for an X-ray study of your heart or $5000 for a CT scan of your abdomen (an outpatient facility charges $400).
Sometimes, the whole catastrophic event begins with a simple backyard accident that causes a severe cut needing a hospital. Maybe a knife cut, a saw cut while chopping wood, kids falling on the wrong object, a split opening on the forehead etc. So, you rush them to the hospital in panic, once in the ER, the medical staff deal with and clean it, stitch it up, in less than an hour. You are relieved and return home. Life continues without much thought.
A week later the bill arrives. Three stitches that stopped the bleeding and cut costs you $2,300. That is your patient portion! The hospital charged for everything little thing they could charge for, at least the air and movies\TV were free.
Hospital charges account for $2.7 trillion of the annual US health care bill and drive all medical costs up and up. In NYC, a hospital charged a person for five stitches, $3500, for a deep cut on his finger.On average, a hospital will charge $700 for each stitch!
So far, hospitals have been able to dictate and get away with charging such outrageous sums for their services. Something needs to be done.