$10 copays are history in some doctor’s offices these days, as some clinics are requiring the entire out-of -pocket cost up front. But what if you get overcharged?
Yesterday, Consumer Reports noted that an anti-health reform politician is trying to convince senior citizens that they’ll be required to take lessons in euthanasia if any reform is passed. Regardless of what side you come down on with health care reform, this is flat out wrong. We care about this lie, which is still bouncing around the media, because it might interfere with the very real and useful tasks of setting up living wills and determining health care proxies—things that matter to both the elderly and the terminally ill.
An ambulance ride with American Medical Response in Topeka, Kansas will soon cost an extra $543 for folks weighing 350 pounds or more. Though AMR already owns cots that can support up to 500 pounds, they claim that because of rising demand from so-called “bariatric patients,” they now need to buy winches and “extra large and reinforced cots.”
A cancer unit at the V.A Medical Center in Philadelphia “operated with virtually no outside scrutiny and botched 92 of 116 cancer treatments over a span of more than six years.” The team even continued to perform surgeries for a year after a key piece of equipment broke. [New York Times] (Photo: OakleyOriginals)
No health insurance? The emergency room usually shouldn’t be your first stop. Here’s where you should go for help.
When Dean Health System in Madison, Wisconsin announced last week that it “planned to ‘immediately’ lay off 90 employees,” it wasn’t kidding around. One of them was a nurse who was pulled out of surgery to be told the news.
Some health insurance plans marketed as “affordable” are as affordable as buying a “cheap” car that doesn’t have any wheels or seats. While the price is low, they can offer extremely limited coverage. One plan for instance, has a max of 30 hospital days at a max of $750. I think that about covers the cost of getting pushed from your room to the OR. for what to look for when considering these plans.
Amber Joy Milbrodt waited for 19 hours in a Dallas emergency room to get her broken leg fixed without seeing a doctor before she finally left. Two weeks later, she got a bill for $162. The hospital says it was for when a nurse checked her vital signs. “She’s not paying for waiting…She’s paying for the assessment she received.” said Rick Rhine, the hospital’s vice president in charge of billing. “It should have been more like them paying me for having to sit in the emergency room for 19 hours,” Amber told The Dallas Morning News. Amber says she’s not going to pay the bill.
Confusion about what those color coded bracelets mean can cause deadly medical mistakes, but if the bracelets are standardized — is everyone going to know your business?
When insurers don’t pay the full amount of the bill, health-care providers are going after patients to make up the difference. It’s known as “balance billing,” and it’s often illegal, BusinessWeek reports. Under state and federal laws, doctors and hospitals generally need to be dealing with the insurers, instead of pressuring vulnerable patients. Have you had any success with fighting balance billing? Leave your story in the comments.
Hospitals in Los Angeles and Orange counties submitted phony Medicare and Medi-Cal bills for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of homeless patients—including drug addicts and the mentally ill—recruited from downtown’s Skid Row, state and federal authorities allege.
Police arrested Robert Farnham for “habitual criminality” and “fraud on a restaurant” after his doctor reported him for faking heart attacks to avoid paying bills. The Wisconsin resident, who has been caught pulling the same routine five times this year, most recently keeled over in Applebees to avoid paying $22.66 for a “steak, salad, mashed potatoes, a soda, a strawberry smoothie and a brownie.”
A Consumer Reports study finds that medical professionals are pushing high-interest lines of credit and financing options on patients. Credit agencies are even partnering with hospitals to offer branded credit cards so patients can finance elective cosmetic surgeries like liposuction and hair removal.
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Children’s Hospital Boston held on to the top spots for general pediatrics in the 2008 America’s Best Children’s Hospitals ranking. [U.S. News & World Report]