Friday, March 20, 2009

Healthcare- It's the Providers

My new son went in for jaundice treatment the weekend after he was born. We have insurance, thankfully, but I was shocked to see the bill nonetheless. He was admitted at about 7P Fri night, and released at 2PM Sat afternoon. His treatment consisted only of the following:
1. Use of a room
2. Use of a Bili-Light that looked to be 10-years old.
3. 2 or 3 meals
4. The nurse taking the diapers and weighing the contents
5. The doctor writing the admission and discharge orders and looking over the baby each of these times.
6. A blood draw Sat morning to test bilirubin levels.

Total cost before insurance? $3,000 dollars! Why? My son didn't need surgery, wasn't hooked up to anything, didn't have any life-threatening condition that needed constant nurse or doctor care other than laying under the light all that time. Why? And $3,000 dollars is the negotiated rate the insurance company gets! For one night! For less than 24 hours!

I am much inclined to think the insurance companies are not the villain in all of this. On the contrary, at those rates, it is amazing I don't pay more than I do in premiums. You say the insurance companies drag their feet at paying claims or approving treatments? It's no wonder when they get charged this much- I would be careful too with these kind of bills. The hospitals and doctors get to hide behind the positive view of being caretakers while on the back-end they gouge us.

A more reasonable rate? $800 to cover the room and nurse for one night. $150 for the blood draw, $45 for the 3 meals, $150 for use of the bili-light, $750 for the doctor's services. $1895 total. I can see that, even as over-inflated as THOSE prices are. $3K is highway robbery.

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