March 10, 2013

Hospital Charges and Total Bills

Some readers may wonder why I am writing about hospitals so much, but when it comes to their phobia about hypoglycemia and what they charge for doing nothing at times make them an easy target. Many hospitals deserve the target they have hung on themselves. When I wrote my blog on March 8, I did not know some additional facts that I now have and I think it deserves covering.

I had written then, “The things he told us were unreal and his advice was to avoid that hospital if you valued your life. They had used the same equipment for several patients and would not change the lancet in his presence. When his daughter had arrived to take him home, she was not allowed to see him until he was wheeled out to the car.” I was not aware that our friend had written his insurance company for a copy of the hospital bill and had gone back to the hospital for a copy of the bill from them.

Now several of us have gotten together and analyzed the two bills. We were surprised that the insurance had sent him a copy to begin with, and it was like looking at two different bills. Granted, he does not have a copy of the doctor's bill, but that will probably look much the same. The bill he had obtained from the hospital was summarized by the day and the insurance company bill was very detailed by item.

We have all heard about the $20 to $30 charge for an aspirin. Well folks, guess what diabetes supplies cost? The lancet charge was $18 each time although they used the lancet on many different patients and would not change it in from of him. The cost of the test strip was itemized at $45 for each test strip. The time for the test and recording the test result was charged out at $50 for one quarter of an hour each time. The insulin charge was truly outrageous at the cost of a vial for each injection. If we had not seen the nurse put the syringe in the sharps container, we would have wondered if they had not used the syringe on several patients. The charge for the syringe was $26.50. Like he said, he had not used any kleenex, but was charged for one box at $10 each day. The nurses were the only ones that had used any of them. He said there was a new box every day, so you have to wonder where they went.

I could go on about other costs, but this was the part that interested us. It would be interesting to see what other hospitals charge for these items. I am sure it is like aspirin and the charges do vary depending on the costs of overhead and how they are applied.

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