Like most Americans, each year I am shouldering more of the cost of my healthcare and the lack of transparency for the cost of services can be frustrating.
This past summer during my annual physical my new primary care physician talked me into getting a test. Despite not knowing how much the test would cost, he successfully (albeit unintentionally) scared me into making an appointment to see a specialist. Fast forward 18 weeks later, and I received a bill for the visit totaling more than $475. I was bullshit so I called my physician’s billing office and while the person was very helpful they indicated this was my share of the cost and suggested I contact my health insurer if I had more questions.
In years past, I probably would’ve just paid the bill but the cost and timing – just weeks before Christmas – ticked me off enough to make me call my health insurer. You know what I learned? My physician’s office overcharged me by more than $150. Their response, “Oops!”… Curious that when I called my physician’s office I was treated very nicely but told “I’m sorry but this is the cost. Perhaps you can talk to your health insurer.” Yet when my health insurer called changes were made immediately.
This isn’t meant to be a politically charged post nor is it meant to point fingers at any one group since I firmly believe our healthcare system is a mess from top to bottom. The reason I wrote this is because I wanted to suggest that before you pay any of your medical bills you make an effort to contact both your provider and insurer since neither seems to be particularly trustworthy or competent when it comes to billing.