Grossly Unfair Medical Billing in Small Town USA

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Rant

I am writing this post as a plea for our presidential candidates to address the most substantive issue facing ALL Americans as the November election looms. The problem appears to be more acute in small towns with less quality, affordable access to health care.

My brother-in-law resides in Roswell, NM and his wife in Hobbs. They were forced to do this because of financial exigencies beyond their control which I can not divulge. She lays low in Hobbs because of depression and to avoid being caught up in nasty gossip cycles that are so prevalent in small towns.

At issue is an emergency medical respiratory episode experienced by my sister’s brother in Roswell. He was rushed in to the ER and treated and all appeared to be well. ¬†His throat was examined in the process and a relatively small mass was said to be present near his larynx.

Without his consent or knowledge, a battery of blood tests which somehow involved a radiologist in Amarillo, Texas were administered. I believe they must have done the blood work on him while he was still dazed, disoriented , and having a hard time breathing.

He began receiving a series of bills, even after his Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance had been applied, from doctors he did not know! He has no way of knowing if the bills are fair or what a reasonable price is for a non-itemized medical procedure or test! They billed him an extra $450 for something called diagnostic B-1. They could have billed him $750 and we  would not have known the difference!

The way the system is set up doctors and hospitals can bill what ever amount they want to insurance companies. The insurance companies then spin the wheel to see what they are going to pay and the doctor bills the patient for the rest! What’s worse, the doctor will send your UNFAIR outstanding balance to collection agency which will screw up your credit score!

I hope others will comment if they feel like medical billing is unjust and needs to be fixed. We are all vulnerable during medical emergencies not having the capacity to approve or disapprove treatments which lead to and endless string of expensive and confusing bills.

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3 comments on “Grossly Unfair Medical Billing in Small Town USAAdd yours →

  1. Wow! , you must be related to OLGA KHAZAN who wrote about a woman who was a medical student whose doctor found an abnormal growth on her tonsils. Her primary-care physician referred her to an in-network ear-nose-and-throat specialist. Doctors make big bucks on referrals! Remember!, you have the option to die rather than give the cheating bastards your money!

    1. Olga wrote insightfully on the significant number of doctor mistakes, surgical errors/inattentiveness, misdiagnosis along with
      surgeon shortages frequently due to fatigue and stress. Its rather alarming when you couple this with the enormous amout of medical school debt these same professionals are bearing.

    2. I wonder when Khazan will write about, doctor wannabe, Martin Makary, professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He might be an expert on health reform, but he blames the errors of real doctors for around one third of all surgery related deaths. Its hard to trust somebody who is just a teacher of medicine on a grave matter such as this. I wonder if Makary has ever done more the identify where the appendix in located on a cadever in Medical school?!

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