As my surgical experiences come to a close, I have now begun to receive all the bills for services that were provided to me.
One bill shows what one national health care provider considers “fair payment” for laboratory testing performed prior to my surgery. I matched that bill up with my insurance explanation of benefits to determine which prices go to what tests. Click on the picture below to enlarge.
Fees for the lab testing were discounted anywhere from 70% to 90% off the provider’s published rates.
A CBC cost $8.12
PT/PTT (coagulation studies) cost a total of $10.15
A basic metabolic panel cost $8.12
Nearly $200 in “handling fees” was waived.
They accepted five bucks instead of the $16.70 they charged for drawing my blood.
In summary, it would have cost me $350 for the tests if I didn’t have insurance.
Instead, it cost me $31.46 for the tests since I do have insurance – more than a 90% discount.
Great for me, but a gouge to patients who don’t have insurance.
The thing is … if the medical provider advertised these rates to all the patients who don’t have insurance or who have high deductible plans, it would probably have lines of customers out the door waiting to have their blood drawn. In fact, they would probably still have lines out the door if they doubled the prices below.
I don’t care how much providers want to mark up their prices. That is their business and they can keep that secret.
We go to a grocery store and purchase products at the advertised price, yet few of us know how much the grocery store has marked up the price. The ability of shoppers to vote with their feet keeps prices down.
In order to decrease costs of health care, health care reform must include some form of transparency in pricing.