Medical Bills: They can also Make you Sick

In the last few days I’ve come across a variety of stories about medical billing, all of them troubling.

Tonight on NBC News with Lester Holt there was a story about ‘out-of-network’ charges, even though the facility/hospital is in network. Sometimes there is a doctor or lab or procedure that is ‘out-of-network’. In an emergency situation, patients don’t typically have time to ask about each procedure and each doctor’s insurance.

While searching about CT Scans today, my husband ran across stories about doctors who get kickbacks for referring patients for scans.  

And my personal experience of reviewing a recent ER visit bill, my daughter commented that it is only in the medical profession where a test can be ordered, even if the patient doesn’t need it and then the patient (and/or insurance company) pays for it. For a sore throat and fever, she was given 3 strep tests in 2 days. The comment after the last test was, “you are right, you don’t have strep.” Should we/our insurance pay for the 3rd negative test?

What other needless tests are given routinely? Doctors may order CT scans, which can be 1000 times more radiation than a chest x-ray, for a small cough that is probably a cold to avoid being sued years later for missing a lung cancer diagnosis. Here is one story about unnecessary testing.

Medical providers want and need to be thorough, but to what expense? What other commercial industries decide how much you will pay for something you may not need?

Have you experienced out of ordinary medical bills?


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