Michigan Association of Health Plans

Opinion: The hazards of my hospital bill

Originally published by Oregon Live

Last spring, I had the misfortune of needing medical treatment for a skin rash that had morphed into cellulitis in my left leg. I have enjoyed good health and a hearty constitution throughout my life and have not needed hospital care since I was a teenager! I checked in to PeaceHealth’s Riverbend medical center in Eugene, where I spent a little short of three days.

My situation was never life threatening. The staff was friendly. They did blood tests, lab work, administered saline drips and liquid antibiotics and gave me hospital food. I was discharged with a prescription for a generic drug that cost me $4. Cool! But then came the reality: the bills.Medicare took care of $19,000 of the $22,000-plus bill. I became liable for around $2,600.

If I didn’t have Medicare, would I be faced with a $22,000 bill? That’s screwy. How come so much? Maybe it’s routine for insurance companies to fork over $20,000, but not for me. I requested a detailed breakdown of my hospital bill and discovered some amazing facts.

I was billed for $1,000 worth of physician consultations, even though none of the five visits lasted longer than 10 minutes. An antibiotic available for $25 online was billed at over $170. My saline drip cost $100 an hour. Two hours in the emergency room cost almost $1,000.

Read the full story at: Oregon Live