Take your car to a mechanic, and he’ll tell you how much he’ll charge you to fix it.
You wouldn’t hire a contractor to work on your house without getting a bid from him first.
But when your BODY needs a “tune-up”… or a “part” replaced… all bets are off.
You might have NO IDEA what the hospital bill will say… until it arrives.
And once you pick yourself up off the floor, you’re left wondering how you ended up picking up such a huge tab.
Americans in their 50s and 60s are being hit the hardest by this CRISIS in healthcare costs.
Seniors everywhere are being BANKRUPTED by the most basic healthcare services…
Here’s how to find out EXACTLY what you’re paying for — BEFORE you pay it.
And here’s what you can do when you are caught by surprise.
The charges that are SNUCK in… when you’re MOST vulnerable
Are you being nickeled and dimed… TO DEATH?
Until now, hospitals have snuck so many fees and surcharges into their patients’ bills that it’s no wonder so many seniors avoid getting the care they need.
Who knows how much Medicare will actually cover… how quickly you’ll reach your coverage limit… and what’ll happen when you’ve got NOTHING left for a rainy day?
Don’t get caught by surprise.
You shouldn’t have to foot the bill if it includes exorbitant charges… especially if they’re not covered by your insurance.
Just because one hospital considers your insurance out of network… and wants to charge you out of pocket… doesn’t mean you’re out of options.
If your visit to the hospital is planned – like for a scheduled outpatient service – the new law forces hospitals to divulge what they’ll charge you.
That allows you to shop around… but only IF there’s more than one hospital near you or that you can travel to.
You may want to stick with your doc… and his affiliation may leave you stuck with one particular hospital.
And while finding out what the hospital will charge you is better than being kept in the dark, you STILL won’t know how much of it your insurance will agree to cover.
But so many of our hospital visits end up through the doors of the ER.
That’s where they really get you.
Even if they don’t TOUCH you, they might charge you hundreds… if not thousands… of dollars just to let you in.
That’s where hospital costs have been rising the fastest – twice as fast as overall healthcare from 2009 to 2015.
And they make their money by coding your visit as more severe (i.e. more expensive) than it ACTUALLY is.
But the price gouging doesn’t stop there.
After that, the prices for any test, drops, pills, or ointments could be JACKED UP exponentially.
Where else would you have to pay $60 for an ibuprofen?
You don’t approve these costs beforehand. You may not even be able to…
That’s how so many ER patients – 1 in 5 — end up being treated by emergency docs who their insurance policies consider out of network.
American hospitals have tried everything to keep their prices SECRET.
There are NO binding estimates.
And although laws have been proposed – the “Protecting Patients from Surprise Medical Bills Act,” the “Fair Billing Act of 2017,” the “No More Surprise Medical Bills Act of 2018” – hospital billing practices still AREN’T fair and ARE a surprise.
The new Inpatient Prospective Payment System rule from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services only requires that prices be updated annually and made publicly available.
You might have to dig around to find them.
Got a surprise bill? Send it to Kaiser Health News at KHN.org/send-us-your-medical-bills for consideration in its “Bill of the Month” investigative column.
Increasingly, the overcharging facilities are ONLY responding to bad publicity.
You can also get the help of a medical bill advocate through Systemedic at Get-Meducated.com.