Scam Alert: Hospitals All Over America Are Wildly Inflating Medical Bills

Scam Alert: Hospitals All Over America Are Wildly Inflating Medical Bills | hospitalbills-449x300 | Medical & Health

The next time you visit a hospital, it is your wallet that may end up hurting the most.  All over the United States, it has become common practice for hospitals to wildly inflate medical bills.  For example, it has been reported that some hospitals are charging up to 30 dollars for a single aspirin pill.  And as you will see below, some victims report being billed tens of thousands of dollars for a non-surgical hospital visit that lasts only a few hours.  When something is seriously wrong with us, most of us never stop to ask our health professionals how much it will cost to actually treat us.  In that moment, we are desperate and we just want someone to help us.  Many doctors and hospitals take full advantage of this by billing their “customers” as much as they feel they can possible get away with.  It is a legal scam that is bilking ordinary Americans out of billions of dollars every single year.

Over the weekend, the New York Times reported on one case that is a perfect example of the outrageous medical billing that I am talking about…

Before his three-hour neck surgery for herniated disks in December, Peter Drier, 37, signed a pile of consent forms. A bank technology manager who had researched his insurance coverage, Mr. Drier was prepared when the bills started arriving: $56,000 from Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, $4,300 from the anesthesiologist and even $133,000 from his orthopedist, who he knew would accept a fraction of that fee.

He was blindsided, though, by a bill of about $117,000 from an “assistant surgeon,” a Queens-based neurosurgeon whom Mr. Drier did not recall meeting.

“I thought I understood the risks,” Mr. Drier, who lives in New York City, said later. “But this was just so wrong — I had no choice and no negotiating power.”

The practice known as “drive-by doctoring” has gotten completely and totally out of control.

All over America, doctors are popping into surgeries or are stopping by to talk to another doctor’s patients for a few minutes and are charging thousands of dollars for this “assistance”.

It is a morally reprehensible scam that needs to be stopped.

Another thing that needs to be stopped is the practice that many hospitals have of billing patients for emergency medications at a rate that is thousands of times over cost.

For example, just check out what happened when 52-year-old Marcie Edmonds went in to a hospital in Arizona to get treated for a scorpion sting

With the help of a friend, she called Poison Control and was advised to go to the nearest hospital that had scorpion antivenom, Chandler Regional Medical Center. At the hospital, an emergency room doctor told her about the antivenom, called Anascorp, that could quickly relieve her symptoms. Edmonds said the physician never talked with her about the cost of the drug or treatment alternatives.

Her symptoms subsided after she received two doses of the drug Anascorp through an IV, and she was discharged from the hospital in about three hours.

Weeks later, she received a bill for $83,046 from Chandler Regional Medical Center. The hospital, owned by Dignity Health, charged her $39,652 per dose of Anascorp.

Did that hospital actually need to charge that much?

Of course not.

Hospitals down in Mexico only charge $100 per dose of Anascorp.

And anyone that has ever been in for major surgery knows how outrageous some of these hospital bills can be.

For instance, consider the experience of an NBC News reporter that chose to have neck surgery for degenerative disc disease….

Once I got my itemized bill, the grand total was a little over $66,013.40!   That was for a one night stay and a four level vertebrae fusion surgery.  The charges included $22 for one sleeping pill, $427 for one dissecting tool, and $32,000 for four titanium plates and ten screws.

I brought it to Todd Hill, a fee based patient advocate who helps people decipher their medical bills. “The screws in your procedure were billed at $605 a piece for a total of $6050 dollars. We’ve seen those in our past research for $25 or $30,” he said. “In this case, the markup is tremendous,” he added.

One of the primary reasons why so many Americans die completely broke is because medical bills can run up to astronomical heights if you happen to have a terminal illness.

For example, a while back Time Magazine reported on one cancer patient in California that had run up nearly a million dollars in hospital bills before he died…

By the time Steven D. died at his home in Northern California the following November, he had lived for an additional 11 months. And Alice had collected bills totaling $902,452. The family’s first bill — for $348,000 — which arrived when Steven got home from the Seton Medical Center in Daly City, Calif., was full of all the usual chargemaster profit grabs: $18 each for 88 diabetes-test strips that Amazon sells in boxes of 50 for $27.85; $24 each for 19 niacin pills that are sold in drugstores for about a nickel apiece. There were also four boxes of sterile gauze pads for $77 each. None of that was considered part of what was provided in return for Seton’s facility charge for the intensive-care unit for two days at $13,225 a day, 12 days in the critical unit at $7,315 a day and one day in a standard room (all of which totaled $120,116 over 15 days). There was also $20,886 for CT scans and $24,251 for lab work.

The sad truth is that the U.S. health care system has become a giant money making scam, and all of us are the victims.

Those that work in this industry should be greatly ashamed for what they are doing to us.

Just consider the following numbers…

-It has been estimated that hospitals in the United States overcharge their patients by about 10 billion dollars every single year.

-Medical bills are the number one reason why Americans file for bankruptcy.  One study found that approximately 41 percent of all working age Americans either have medical bill problems or are currently paying off medical debt.

-According to a report published in The American Journal of Medicine, medical bills cause more than 60 percent of the personal bankruptcies in the United States.

-Health insurance is not nearly as much protection as you might think.  According to a report published in the American Journal of Medicine, of all bankruptcies caused by medical debt approximately 75 percent of the time the people actually did have health insurance.

-Hospitals are not shy about sending debt collection agencies after people with unpaid medical bills.  In fact, collection agencies seek to collect unpaid medical bills from approximately 30 million Americans every year.

-Back in 1980, less than 10 percent of U.S. GDP went to health care.  Today, about 18 percent of U.S. GDP goes toward health care.

-If the U.S. health care system was a nation, it would be the 6th largest economy on the entire planet.

Does anyone out there have any doubt that the system is completely broken?

Please share this article with as many people as you can.  Hospitals all over America are brazenly ripping us off, and we need to stand up and say that enough is enough.


Michael T. Snyder is a graduate of the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia and has a law degree and an LLM from the University of Florida Law School. He is an attorney that has worked for some of the largest and most prominent law firms in Washington D.C. and who now spends his time researching and writing and trying to wake the American people up. You can follow his work on The Economic Collapse blog, End of the American Dream and The Truth Wins. His new novel entitled “The Beginning Of The End” is now available on Amazon.com.

 

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About The Author

Michael T. Snyder is a graduate of the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia and has a law degree and an LLM from the University of Florida Law School. He is an attorney that has worked for some of the largest and most prominent law firms in Washington D.C. and who now spends his time researching and writing and trying to wake the American people up. You can follow his work on The Economic Collapse blog, The Most Important News, End of the American Dream and The Truth Wins. His new novel entitled “The Beginning Of The End” is now available on Amazon.com.

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    • Notion

      Im intrigued but curios to hear a rebuttal. Nothing is ever as simple as it seems.

      • Afr0

        Exactly what kind of explanation could they offer that would make any of this acceptable?

        • Notion

          I subscribe to Ferengi rule of acquisition #190: hear all trust nothing. I agree, if this is true it is unacceptable I want to see the whole picture before I rule on whether or not its true though.

    • EKU28

      Surely this embarrassing state of affairs get filed under “American Exceptionalism”.

    • Dennis

      Sounds about right. Had a CAT scan done, and a week later received a $5,000 bill. Just recently had blood work done to check for problems in my brain and another $700 charged to me. All of which will take years and years for me to pay off.

    • riseball2

      This is the one thing I don’t understand about this new health care law. Reforming the cost of insurance of health is not reforming the COST of the health care. I know the left doesn’t really like focusing on details but how can you just overlook this small detail.

      • anononodon

        Any law written in this age will only profit corporations. They will sell it to America with whatever lies and deceit necessary. We no longer live in a democracy. It’s a plutocracy plain and simple. The 2 parties are just a couple of clowns to keep our attention away from what’s going on behind the scenes.

      • Joshua Oberholtzer

        “The left” would have preferred a system like Canada, the UK, or most other developed countries. A single payer system would have handled this issue, but we had to settle for this patchwork mess.

        • riseball2

          In a single payer system who pays for R&D? Is there a lot of innovation coming from UK and Canada?

      • ThEEV

        The ridiculous idea that was floated was that more people with insurance would put the burden on the insurance companies *instead* of the hospitals to pay for medical fees, reducing the need for hospitals to gap cover their expenses rung up by the poor and the unscrupulous that use the emergency room as their private physician (as an example) since they cannot be turned away by law. Of course, the hospitals ask for more because they will end up with a compromise, so they always ask for more. We all know that this imbalance will never be corrected by our government because most hospitals are privately run and are for profit businesses, meaning that creating profit is a core aspect of their business, not “breaking even”‘ like a non-profit is required to do. To answer your question: there is nothing to understand. Your brain hurts because this “solution” was not a solution at all. The true solution was that all people pay a reasonable rate and “someone else” pays for those that cannot. That’s the premise of the new laws. But the “someone else” cannot pay because that would mean the taxpayer, so you would pay twice: once for your surgery, then the second time with your taxes, paying for those that cannot afford any care at all. That is impossible, of course. Zero sum medical care. You are paying for all the poor, illegal and stupid one way or another.
        Here’s one of the solutions that the government was not interested in: national, private healthcare. Unless you work for the government, you cannot get this. You move to another state? New insurance. The government *refused* to create a competitive marketplace by forcing insurance companies to enter into this marketplace. These are all oversimplifications, of course, but those are some general ideas. We’re all screwed.

    • sam bo

      I went to the hospital last year, I was sick for weeks vomitting and I had a fever. They took an x-ray of my chest and gave me fluids and then an IV antibiotic while I was these. I was prescribed an antibiotic that I had filled at a pharmacy. The bill was 4,400$ for the x-ray and fluids. I have a hard enough time with my regular bills, I haven’t even started paying this off. I am getting calls from collections agencies every week. I try not to think about it, but what about the next time I get sick?

      • Lawlwermca Adalj

        so did you have insurance? was there a contractual write off amount for the charges? was that 4.4k for your deductible? was this an ER visit? or was the xray 4.4k

    • Bruinman86

      My question is how do we plan to fix this, or at least hold them accountable for ripping us off?

      • riseball2

        Elect Dr. Ben Carson in 2016 to truly reform health care.

        • Longbowgun

          Because… a brain surgeon knows how to run a country?

          • Afr0

            Because career politicians are doing SOOOOOOOOOOOO well at it, right?

        • Bruinman86

          He does have a good grasp of the subject.

      • llewellynh

        I had an ER room experience where I saw games being played and was amazed that neither of the 2 insurance companies or Medare who were all involved even ask on their slim paperwork if fraud might be occurring. And I went to the HHS website and it’s a non issue.

        • Bruinman86

          Why am I not surprised….. I’ve had the occasional Kidney stone removed and in the process have been billed to the 9’s by the hospital. But after learning that the insurance companies often get a discounted rate when they have to pay out money to the hospitals, we looked into it. So, with every significant bill, my wife beats on them for a lesser rate and has saved us quite a bit of money. That said, it still is stupidly expensive.

    • Longbowgun

      There is A LOT of anecdotal evidence in this article. My insurance provider only pays what they will for… I’m can’t afford a medical bill and I ensure the doctors understand this. I’ve never had a case of “This is what it actually cost.” vs. “This is what your insurance won’t cover. You’ll need to pay this on top of what they cover.”

      • riseball2

        Are you saying that you have never had to pay anything out of pocket for a medical problem?
        I am not following your point.

        • Longbowgun

          That’s correct. My insurance has always had no co-pay.

    • cha ching

      the “affordable” care act strikes again