Healthcare Insanity

I just got the doctor’s bill for my back problems. The doctor’s visit was $900, which seems crazy high to me for five minutes with her, but the insurance paid for it. The X-ray was a couple hundred bucks, but the insurance covered that, too.

But the insurance didn’t cover all of the back brace (which I only wore for a day or two, after deciding it wasn’t doing me much good). It only covered $4350 dollars, and I got stuck with the bill for the other $644. Yes, that’s right; they charged five effing grand for a lumbar-support brace.

After Christmas, I’m going to raise hell. There has to be some kind of mistake. If not, I’m going into the back-brace business.

[Update a while later]

Note: I haven’t been billed for the MRI yet. I can’t wait.

11 thoughts on “Healthcare Insanity”

    1. Yeah, I looked them up, but the one I have is a Breg, and I can’t find a cost for that one. What shocked me (in addition to the price) was that Aetna seemed to think it was fine, but my coverage doesn’t allow full reimbursement.

  1. When patients are disassociated from the cost, it allows for practitioners and insurance companies to create a totally different system of exchange that isn’t reflective of the services provided to the patient or the true costs of providing care. But those Teslas wont buy themselves so…

  2. Rand, are you insinuating there might be unseen factors in the price you are shown? Hard to believe a price set behind closed doors might not be the best bargain.

  3. Doctor/Hospital charges are totally insane. I was in the hospital for a couple days a few years ago for a bowel issue(nothing major). Insurance paid the bill, but it was something like $20,000. They charged hundreds for an iv, thousands for simple scans. It’s highway robbery.

  4. Medical memories from 10 years ago, 1 overnight stay in IC after being knocked unconscious off my bicycle by a driver in West LA. Many bills slowly appeared in the mailbox over a few weeks. The total was $60,000. I laughed and showed off the bills. Each bill was titled “patient information only”. The bills were from UCLA Med to Kaiser. I assume the bills were “we pretend to bill you & you pretend to pay us, and the idiot patients won’t be the wiser.” Pretty easy to inflate prices when hospitals & insurance contract with each other that make the bills a fiction for them, but a real burden for uninsured.

  5. Every time my wife or I have gone to the doctors for anything over the last several years 2 things happen. The Doc either says lets just wait and see what happens, or they bounces me around from one specialist to another until i just get sick of paying $500 a pop in copays to tell the same thing over and over to one idiot after another. At this point i have no faith in doctors, and i’m certain insurance will try by any means possible to get out of paying for anything. The last several issues i’ve ended up fixing myself using what i’ve learned in forums on the internet, exercise, and diet changes.

  6. I’m no believer in an American NHS, but we should not fall into the trap of defending our current heavily-regulated private employer insurance system beyond a prudent concern about sweeping changes. It’s obviously a mess.

  7. If you have back pain, my advice is to first read ” Back Mechanic” by Prof. Stuart McGill.

    The second is to avoid doctors unless you think you’re going to die.

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