3.10.2010

Health Car In America; Continued

This is one in my continuing Pulitzer Prize winning series, "Health Care After My Shoulder Got All Whopperjawed." When we last left off, I told you about going to the emergency room during the last snowfall for a separated shoulder. I received a notice from the billing department of the hospital that they were sending a bill to Blue Cross/Blue Shield for $2,027.31 (which represented the total bill of $3,025.83 less $998.52 for the "managed care adjustment.") This week I got my statement from Blue Cross. Hey, guess what? You know how I managed to have that low. low, low monthly premium of $300+ a month? I've got a deductible of $2,500! Using my Bridgeport High School math, that means I owe the entire $2,027.31. Add that to the Emergency Room Physician bill of $752.50 (that includes a 50% "early pay" discount), my current out of pocket total is: $2,779.81. Once again, this if for a three hour ER visit with no overnight stay and no surgery.

69 comments:

Anonymous said...

Skippy, just send the bill to Obammy so that he can forward it to me so that I can pay it for you.

Anonymous said...

Is your shoulder still hurting? Is your well-being worth $3,000?

The way I see it you have four options:
1. Pay it
2. Ask for a prompt pay discount
3. Ask for a payment plan
4. Don't pay it and see if they send you to a collection agency

Anonymous said...

In case of a medical semi-emergency, if one person were to suggest to you to go to the ER because, "....after all, isn't that why you pay for insurance in the first place" should that person feel a little guilty at this time?

Anonymous said...

Well anyway you have almost met your deductible.

Anonymous said...

amazing that we pay 500-600$ a month car payment, plus insurance on a $30,000 vehicle that is a peice of junk in 4 years and we dont bitch at all. yet we gripe about the best healthcare in the world when it costs less.
what is worth more?
plus we go to the frickin ER for the slightest things.
for example a sore frikin shoulder.

Anonymous said...

I will also do my part to pay when you send to Obammy, there BG. That's the least a card carry Rep. can do.

Anonymous said...

well 1209, people that can drive vehicles that cost 30 grand and make 600 per month car payments can damn well afford health care. A dislocated shoulder is a little more that a sore frikin shoulder. We sure do have the best health care system in the world, but cheap it ain't.

Anonymous said...

A three hour tour.....

Double Fake Gilligan

Anonymous said...

And to think that since I work for a large corporation that can spread the risk out...I would have paid a whopping $50 for the same visit. Amazing.

BagOfNothing.com said...

You lie!

Anonymous said...

I told you before---make sure you call the ER doctor bill collector---because he is out-of-network and this was emergency, they will discount! You must tell them this was an emergency room service. You had no choice of dr.

Anonymous said...

No worse than going to a lawyer, pay 3000 for a divorce with the promise of getting your crap, then when it comes down to it you lose everything and have to pay all. Would rather go to er, pay bill at least you get your shoulder back!!

wordkyle said...

Interesting. Everyone accepts that some people can afford a luxury car while others can't. We accept that some people live in bigger houses, wear nicer clothes and enjoy better vacations. Yet Obama & Co. would have us believe that we should all have access to the highest quality healthcare. (Which, by definition, we never will. The rich will always have access to better everything. That's what money buys you.)

While the government will regulate how much healthcare costs the end user (under the Democrat plan,) they can't control how much it costs to develop new treatments, technology and medicines. How long will it take before medical progress comes to a complete standstill?

Food for thought.

Anonymous said...

Go to Bridgeport Hospital as an uninsured and see what they do and where they send you.....Happens all the time! I'm happy to see that greedy place failing!

Anonymous said...

Barry,

You shouldn't have to pay all of the ER Doctors bill. Once you reach your deductible of 2500 everything after that falls into the Co-Insurance which may pay 70/30 or 80/20 or something like that. You take the 279.81 you owe after the deductible and figure the % you pay...the insurance company pays the rest. That is if the ER Doctor was "in network." If not then your deductible goes up and the insurance co. won't pay any of it. The good news is that for the rest of the year since your deductible is met you will only have to pay your Co-Insurance percentage. Unless you go out of network. Think of it this way...free shoulder injuries for the rest of the year.

Doc Feelgood said...

1216 - do you think it will be cheaper when it's free? I'm not alleging you do, I'm just asking. I believe it will cost more and we will receive less if we socialize healthcare.
And to Barry, I'll bet the total cost, including the taxpayer subsidy, of a 3-hr. court appearance is mucho more than your hospital bill, and way less technology would be utilized than was used in the hospital for most court cases, and less legal liability for those involved.

Anonymous said...

Is this your way of asking for donations? Let's have a golf tourney, change cans at gas stations, and a 5k for Barry's Shoulder Fund...Come on my MOFO, your making a brother's eyes hurt let's get back to the sex and weather.

Anonymous said...

While the health care system is not perfect, the government can't run anything on a budget. I recall just the other day the United States Post Office is considering not delivering on Saturdays due to budget issues, ie no money. Medicare and Medicaid is full of fraud, social security is going bankrupt, but hey, let's give them health care because they know what they are doing. Unbelievable. The government can't run anything efficiently.

Anonymous said...

Health Car in America???? Needs an "E"

Anonymous said...

Great point, 1:13. It's ok for the legal profession to charge for it's consultative services, but not for the medical professionals to do the same????

On a related note, Medicare reimbursement is still under consideration to be cut by Obammy's henchmen by 21% to physicians. I work with a number of them and chances are good that when that occurs, most docs will simply stop accepting Medicare patients. Now you libs tell me, how is that going to benefit the country? The elderly of this country on Medicare will no longer even be accepted by most doctors for treatment. They'll simply refuse them. This is a REAL problem that I'm not sure many are aware of. Most of the ones I work with and from what I read in health care industry literature, this proposal will force most physicians to drop this population of folks and refuse to see them at all. Now, does that Obammy change look as good as it did?

Anonymous said...

The bill is zero for those who did not slide down a hill and off a ramp, on purpose. WE are the reason health care is in trouble.

Anonymous said...

How low would your premium be if you weren't subsidizing illegals ?

Anonymous said...

Whenever the rich can't afford health care then something will be done.Untill then enjoy 2 dollar apiece tylenol and 5 dollar bandaids.

Bendover and be counted for what you are about to recieve... we are the dealers we "give" you everything you need.

Danny Boy said...

Speaking of Nobel Prize, the Internet has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize! As if the prize didn't lose enough credibility last year.

Anonymous said...

1:34 You don't have your facts straight. Wise Regional is NOT a for-profit hospital. You are totally and completely incorrect. And for your info, ALL hospitals who have an ER are obligated to follow the same federal laws regarding seeing non-paying patients. Wise Regional and B'port operate under the very same laws, called EMTALA regulations, and BOTH are equally liable for non-compliance.

Anonymous said...

1:41PM...Real simple, the Govt. will make it illegal for Drs to refuse services to Medicare patients. More Govt. staying out of our business?

Anonymous said...

Just think if you had been hit by a repeat offending drunk driver that had been released from his prior three drunk driving charges due to a legal technicality you would have had to pay the exact same amount. Al least you got a sled ride! Of course that sled ride cost you $346.28 per foot.

wordkyle said...

134 - Cite a specific poll. In general, those polls measure metrics that disfavor the US. For example, they consider life expectancy, in which the US ranks relatively low. Remove homicides and motor vehicle deaths, though, and our average life expectancy zooms up. Neither of those factors has anything to do with quality of healthcare. The American lifestyle, not quality of healthcare, affects the polls you mention more than anything else. (Except maybe politics.)

Anonymous said...

Bridgeport Hospital is a private health care facility, not the county's government subsidized hospital. They have the right to make money just as any other business, and that cannot be done if they see people without insurance that cannot pay. Wise Regional is the county hospital. They are not allowed to turn away emergency room patients for lack of insurance or money. If you choose to not have insurance, you choose to rely on federally funded hospitals. Bridgeport may be funded through public taxes but it is not funded federally. If hospitals don't make money, they can't operate. It is common sense!

Anonymous said...

What I find so "interesting" is that the problem is easily found and identified but the solution is so often obscured by the ovious.


uncle fester 2012

R and R said...

1:46 Awwwwww.....Are you one of those people who think everything should be handed to them? You know...one of those people who walk down the sidewalk, head hung low mumbling to themselves about how it's just not fair that Johnny has a bigger sucker than you?

Just wondering. My brain does not function to understand people like that.

If I remember correctly, when I was a kid people like that were told to go eat a can of worms.

Anonymous said...

Tell me...If doctors quit seeing medicare patients, will we be able to get off medicare and get insurance like everyone else? And no medicare is not free. I pay a premium for it every month.

Anonymous said...

The Republican Party of compassion would dictate that it sucks to be you. They would watch you die because you were poor only to beat their bibles on Sunday morning proclaiming what good Christians they are

Anonymous said...

"How low would your premium be if you weren't subsidizing illegals?" Here is another way to look at it: What size of house could a builder deliver to you for $200,000 if he had to pay health insurance on the workers or at least pay them enough so they could purchase their own? Much smaller. So you folks living in your McMansions are benefiting from the cheap illegal labor. A union carpenter has health insurance. When he goes to the hospital he pays his own way. All us folks that pay for our insurance are subsidizing the people who buy houses built by illegal labor because we are paying for hospital visits by these Mexicans.

Anonymous said...

Awwww 1:46(rattle and roll) are you one of those people that can look at text and automaticly decipher all the gliphs contained within ? I am sure you and all yor family members are super successful and well off and the skyrocketing health care system will never affect you or them.. good for you.Contrary to your assumtptions I am a business owner and fare better than the average working joe.But I unlike you have family members who are less fortunate than myself and when they cant afford health care thats an issue as is with the aging members of our society.A little more than a sucker wouldnt ya think...so suck on that!

Anonymous said...

2:25 They can't mandate a private physician see a particular payer source. You don't know what you're talking about. The docs I have spoken to know more than you, and they say they'll quit seeing them. They even say they might retire first...and I don't blame them. NO one can FORCE them to see Medicare patients.

2:57. Again, you are wrong. WRHS is NOT the county hosital. Wise County doesn't HAVE a county hospital. WRHS is non-profit just as B'port is. It is NOT government subsidized. Please research your facts before writing. I have worked at WRHS for 18 years, and I know what I'm talking about. And the B'port hospital is just as obligated to treat no-pays as we are. They can be turned in and fined up to $100,000 per case for selective treatment based upon payor source, as can the physicians in the ER. You are ignorant of the facts.

Anonymous said...

Racist and Retarded, I stopped reading right here: "
Just wondering. My brain does not function"

That about explains you.

Anonymous said...

1:16 The post office was set up as an independent agency n 1970. It has not reiceved tax dollars since 1982.

1:29 yes.

1:42 Subsidising illegals comes from tax dollars, not private insurance companies, thus it does not affect your premium.

Wordkyle, Don't know about specific polls but the WHO (world health orginazation) ranks the U. S. as number 46.
Don't know the criteria they use bu maybe you could do a little research and get back with us.

Anonymous said...

12:09---

You must drive a Chevy. Our Japanese car was 17K and 4 years later it is NOT a piece of junk. It's still very nice. My truck is 11 yrs old (and Japanese) and it's still not a piece of junk.

But aren't you glad Obama nationalized GM and gave Chrysler to the unions. I bet that helps.

Anonymous said...

Just for fun, do some research on how fast our elderly population is growing, folks. If doctors refuse to take medicare patients after this health care overhaul is crammed down our throats, better go hug your elderly parents, grandparents and friends, because they will be the ones who suffer the most, and God help this country if it forgets its elderly population.

Anonymous said...

To correct my error, the W H O does not rank the U S as 46th in health care.
The U S is now 37th (we have improved since I last checked).
We are nestled in comfortably between Costa Rica snd Slovenia.

wordkyle said...

457 - Everything I saw placed the US at 37th per the WHO. Also, I repeatedly saw that the survey was last done in 2000. The editor-in-chief of that report, Philip Musgrove, calls the figures that resulted from the survey "so many made-up numbers," and the result a "nonsense ranking." A good up-to-date discussion is here. If you have more current info, share it and we can see if my previous points hold up.

Unfatcat said...

12:09, you have obviously never been out of the US or at least haven't been paying attention. We are very low, below average as a matter of fact, on the list of countries providing the best health care. Most of those countries have what you Red righties would call socialized medicine. It is very simple to make a bazillion bucks when you can gouge for something that everybody needs and will pay through the nose for if there is very little competition which is the situation that we find ourselves in thanks to the last few Republicans in charge that thought it was better to let the free market reign supreme but make sure that the big insurers are protected from competition across state lines and big Pharma was protected from those evil, cheap prescription drugs from Canada.

Anonymous said...

Not trying to sound negative toward your situation Greenman but shut up. I've had over 800k in medical bills over the last year and a half. I really don't want to hear about your $2700 and your whimpering. I have bcbs too and they blow seriously. Lucky for me that in my current condition I automatically get medicare also but it doesn't take effect as primary for another 18 months. All the while BCBS is trying to make all my medical providers charge medicare so guess what almost ALL of those med bills show up as being behind at the moment. Count your blessings that it's only 2700 before all is said and done that's what my monthly rx totals will be. Oh and by the way I'm 35yrs old and a white guy, considering I'm on medicare that should tell you how sick I am. Sorry for the negative vibes, I'm having a bad day but the point of this whole tirade is consider yourself lucky because you're little injury and bill would be a good day for some people.

Anonymous said...

I think it is reasonable to think that no one really is prepared for a bill for $3,000 for only 3 hours of service. Especially for an unexpected and relatively minor injury. It's not like Barry had a menu to look over when he walked in the door. I truly do not believe that an injury and a treatment that has been treated in the same manner for decades and decades should cost $1,000 per hour.

If you had the luxury of having a planned dislocated shoulder, could you even shop around for better price? What if $3,000 was the best price you found, would you pay it? Does $3,000 seem reasonable for 3 hours worth of work? With no replacement parts? The cost is always unknown.

Anonymous said...

I am a healthcare professional working with patients all day. I developed flu like symptoms and decided I should go to my Dr. He sent me to Decatur Hosp. for a flu test because he said he didn't do the test in his office.
I go to Decatur Hosp. and they check my in with an wrist band and I said all i need is a flu test. Long story short, I get a bill for $350 for a maybe $20 flu test. I called my Dr. and complained, called my insurance co., I had a $500 deductable so they paid nothing. The Hospital finally adj.$50 off the bill. I would have never gone and got the flu test if I had known what the charges were going to be. I feel your pain Barry, it just isn't right!

Anonymous said...

If you were an illegal it would have been free and your girlfriend gould of had a baby for the same price while you waited.DAGO

Anonymous said...

Wise Regional is owned by the City of Decatur that appoints the board. Medicare cuts to doctors by 20% will create a major crisis in for care to Seniors. Congress promises to fix it; but the cut is to show how Obamacare will lower the deficit. Doctors will have to refuse to treat medicare patients.

Anonymous said...

"2:25 They can't mandate a private physician see a particular payer source......" You didn't put in the word "Yet". Compulsion by force of Law is what it's all about. Wake up.

Anonymous said...

The best healthcare system in the world??????????? Get your head out of the dirt. You people are crazy.

wordkyle said...

1018 - "Best healthcare system" we likely don't have. Best healthcare? Maybe. When foreign leaders come here for treatment, that says a lot.

Anonymous said...

I hate to be a jerk, but in a way, isn't it better to have the rich, powerful, and intelligent branch of our country with better health care? Could it be any other way? In a way, we should expect the poor to have the worst health care. It may sound a bit facist, but can't we argue that Darwinian standards extend to the economics behind health care? If the poor have equal health care, then we can assume they will live longer, further adding to the burden on the rest of us...and more than likely they will continue to propogate at higher levels than socially excepted more "intelligent" people. It's a vicious cycle really.

Or I could be completely full of shit, which is always possible.

Anonymous said...

9:31 You wake up. If they start telling physicians they have to see certain populations at a loss to them, they will simply give up private practices and go use their skills elsewhere, such as in the hospitalist setting or consulting. No one can be FORCED to see the Medicare population just as right now few will see the Medicaid population. Government can't make them do it...they will simply close their doors and make a living elsewhere. These doctors aren't owned by the government. The ones who elect to practice at a lower reimbursement rate will be those who can't make it doing anything else, i.e. bottom of the barrel practitioners. The best ones will simply retire, consult, or become hospitalists, etc. There are many other options available to them besides seeing patients they aren't getting paid enough to make it worthwhile to see. Let's see other sectors give up a huge chunk of their income and see how long those folks stay in their jobs!

Noevadeaux said...

Newsweek had a great article about health care in this week's issue entitled "This Won't Hurt A Bit" by Sharon Begley.....some points:

$33.3 billion - gratuitous medical imaging (CT, MRI, PET Scans)
$11.1 billion - ineffective spinal fusion surgeries
$2 billion - unnecessary angioplasty (with or without stents)
$1.1 billion - inappropriate hysterectomies
$550 million - needless antibiotics for viral infections

......"Somehow we manage to figure out how the very best care just happens to be the care that brings us the most money" says one doc.....

"Interventional cardiology nevertheless carries on to the tune of about 500,000 elective angioplasties a year, at $51,000 each, including in patients who should get drugs instead. Hospitals can get $20,000 from private insurers for angioplasty, almost half of which is pure profit."

I think there is plenty of room for improvement in the current delivery of medical services - perhaps enough to make a big dent in the lack of coverage for the poor.

Anonymous said...

A couple of years ago my doctor quit taking/filing or dealing with insurance, the office visit went down $25.oo and he let 4 people in his office go!! The problem is with people abusing the system, not only do the medical billers, but also the insured themselves! If everyone would make a modest amount, but most of us are GREEDY! My parents taught me a bunch of slow nickles are better than one quick dime!

Anonymous said...

11:04 So are you saying hospitals shouldn't make a profit? How do you expect them to pay their staff and purchase the equipment and supplies they use on you? If you truly believe this is so bad, then stop using them. Forego those angioplasties and other procedures and kick off...one less citizen to worry about.

Anonymous said...

#1 Wise hospital is not for profit my ass. The profit they made and the center they built was off of profit.
#2. Doctor's were refusing to take Medicare and Medicaid patients in 1986...when I worked for a cardiology group and had to work hard to find a doctor to take my elderly patients. This is nothing new. Obama is not going to create something that already exist....nice try.
#3. Many doctor's (my spouse included) went into medicine for other reason's. We make a good salary and it is an annual salary not based on procedures, labs, surgeries....just a damn good salary. He can treat his patient without concern about his salary. Two of his friends from New Zealand make $150,000 a year in socialized medicine.

Anonymous said...

There is just one problem with your theory..wealth doesnt always generate the brightest offspring in the "cesspool" oops I mean genepool.So one of the brightest lets say that could have cured cancer would have been allowed to die from complications of child birth because the mother was poor and could not afford proper healthcare!

Noevadeaux said...

Wow, 11:47AM, has your pain medication run out and your doctor won't give you another prescription? That's the only reason I can think of for your hateful, ASSuming attitude and false accusations towards me.

I was quoting text from the article in Newsweek....some of the contributors included a family physician at the University of Texas Medical Branch, who wrote an article for The New England Journal of Medicine on the topic, along with the CEO of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and various others - these are doctors saying the same things I believe - there are lots of unnecessary procedures performed every year in America, and many actually end up killing tens of thousands of citizens.......lots of food for thought for those intelligent enough to understand there is a serious problem with our health care system.

The last medical treatment I can remember is getting a shot for poison ivy. I haven't had any angioplasty, or other procedures of that level. Sorry to disappoint you.

Anonymous said...

1:12 - I see your point, but wouldn't it make for great "Cinderella" stories?! It would be yet another hurdle for people to overcome. So now, not only will "up-and-comers" be able to say that they wee poor and still made it to the "big leagues" as it were...they can further the notion by stating that they were often in a lower state of health for much of their youth! Wouldn't that make for fantastic storylines? I can just see the specials on Dateline, 60 minutes, Barbara Walters, etc. This could be huge.

But seriously, at some point we will all have to face the notion that the population will be too large for everybody to get good healthcare. At some point, we will have to admit that people are not meant to live forever. I read a comment on here earlier tht said something about "saying goodbye to your elderly loved ones" (not an exact quote) but I find that most elderly people are absolutely miserable for the last few years of their lives. The bruise so easily because of blood thinning medication, they can't get around anymore, they break bones and can never recoveer their strength, they sit and rot post stroke in hospital beds because we won't say goodbye. These things drain the federal government of money. We expect the government to pay for it, and then criticize that the government is too big. You can't have it both ways. Wow..I'm rambling.

Anonymous said...

12:17 Let me educate you a tad. Wise Regional MAKES a profit, or tries to, because ANY business has to make money or they die...hello, this is just common sense. However, it is NOT a for-profit hospital. A for-profit hospital is one which is owned by a corporation who are in it for their own profit. Whereas WRHS is "owned" by the city of Decatur, a for-profit is owned by a corp such as THR or other big conglomerate. Whereas WRHS staffs to a ratio of 1 nurse per 5-6 patients, for-profits staff one nurse to 8-10.

As for the medicare/medicaid deal, your hubby may be a doctor, but you obviously aren't because your ignorance of these issues demonstrates that. I work with local physicians and was in a meeting with 3 local practitioners yesterday who ARE planning on closing to Medicare patients if this comes about, and these are the main physicians used by the elderly in this area.

Glad your hubby went into med for altruistic reasons alone, but most of the world wants to make as much money as possible with their careers so they can provide the lifestyle they want and are able to retire and enjoy it at a decent age. I see nothing wrong with that. If you want to work with socialized medicine, move to New Zealand with your buds.

Anonymous said...

Don't know about the richest being a good or bad gene pool but thank GOD the U. S. is not staking it's future on the Wise County gene pool!

Anonymous said...

1:42 What gene pool is the U.S. staking its future on as far as I can tell so far it has been non discretionary....look in the white house!

As if your from some prominent place in the U.S.

Anonymous said...

1:29, you sound just like Obama, just let the elderly die...do you want to tell YOUR grandparent that or would you like to have your grandkids deem you "unnecessary" or a "drain on the government" because you are in the last few years of your life? Really????? People like you scare the crap out of me, for lack of a more eloquent way to put it...

Anonymous said...

2:02 Where I come from is prominent only in the fact that it is not Wise County. Re-read every post in this string, or any other string on here and realize that this is the only contact with Wise County some folks have. What do you suppose they might think. I'll sit back and wait for the barrage of intelligent and logical responses to this.

Anonymous said...

8:21 I think you will be waiting for a long time not from lack of intelligence or logic but from the fact that your substance lacks cohesion:)

Anonymous said...

Playing in the snow with a friend ------priceless!

Anonymous said...

4:00 - You can continue to live in this fantasy world where everybody should recieve as much medication and service they can stand until they ultimately wither away and die. Eventually, you have to understand that this system cannot perpetuate itself. I have no desire to tell someone they have to die, I don't want them to die, and I would love to help them. But at some point, the natural world should be embraced and appreciated. People live and people die. That is the natural world. People are not supposed to live forever, so we should quit trying to facilitate this.

I know it is easy for people to stand up and proudly declare that they don't think people should be taken off life support, that the elderly should live as a vegetable and not remember anybody from their lives for 3 years before they die, or that terminally ill people should receive every bit of medication possible until inevitably, they too die. But often times, the easiest decision is not the correct one. We have cultured a society of people expecting to live forever and it isn't ever going to happen. Natural progression needs death, needs decay, and needs reproduction. And our quantitative version of this is the economics behind health care. Though my previous posts might have been perceived as humorous or lighthearted, I assure you I take this seriously and feel the views are valid.

Anonymous said...

12:12 I wholeheartedly agree with you. I have been a nurse for many years and have seen monumental suffering and pain due to continued efforts to prolong life when the quality simply wasn't there. My parents chose to have no resuscitative measures, no feeding tubes, no IVs, and to LET NATURE TAKE IT'S COURSE, which means death. I choose the same for myself. To continue to perform surgeries, give chemo, etc. on elderly and ill patients is NOT humanity...allowing death is the kind thing to do and often families only prolong their loved ones suffering by not getting a grip and allowing them to die.