Monday, June 22, 2009

Bills, Bills, Bills

I have a lot of medical/hospital bills that I am figuring out right now with great frustration. In my opinion, those that are sick and their family members should be able to fight for health, as opposed to fighting medical providers and insurance companies to get the correct coverage. Here are some of my examples:

1) In-patient hospital bills are 1/5th the amount of outpatient hospital bills, for the EXACT same procedure.

A)In-patient: $26
Out-patient: $130

9 inpatient: $234
9 outpatient $1170
Difference: $936

B)In-patient: $16
Outpatient: $80

9 Inpatient: $144
9 Outpatient: $720
Difference: $576

2) How a medical professional writes a diagnosis can change your bill drastically.

Routine Labwork: $62 (Covered at 90%)
Same EXACT Routine Labwork with other diagnosis: $310 (Covered at 50%)
Difference: $248
How can this be so for the EXACT same procedure? It's discriminatory.

These are examples from my medical insurance as a public school teacher, which is considered to have excellent insurance. (It's Blue Cross Blue Shield to be exact.) To top it all off, I've had to catch a few errors where inpatient was billed as outpatient or where the diagnosis was incorrect. As you see above, this can make quite a large difference in health bills. Imagine those little old ladies or people without family to help them work through all the bills, that just pay what they are told. Imagine those with poor insurance or none at all. Imagine those with mental health issues, that have no family or insurance coverage or job. They can't even begin to understand their illness, let alone the medical bills and discrepancy between mental and medical. Health reform needs to happen. Obama agrees. But what would it look like? It seems like such a big mess...where would you begin? I wish I had answers. I'm interested to see others' "answers".