Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Those sneaky hospital costs

A new hot button issue in the world of medical treatment are the sneak hospital costs. Hospitals and insurance companies have negotiated these rates and traditionally they have been covered by insurers. But as patients switch to higher deductible policies they are bearing the brunt of these costs.

On the hospitals side, they claim they warn patients by putting signs up through the facilities where these are charged so patients are warned. But they are not told the amounts until they receive the bill. They also say these fees pay for things like twenty four hour ER stays, research, and teaching.

Medicare allows doctors to charge overhead fees for work performed in buildings owned by hospitals. So I guess this is automatically done for us non Medicare patients.

On their side, insurance companies do negotiate with the hospitals but say they can't change the way hospitals bill. (Sounds like someone might be trying to pass the buck here.)

I can understand hospitals have costs that are not included in the fee to pay to see the doctor. They are in big buildings and they provide additional services than just doctor visits. They are also trying to cover their research costs, etc. While hospitals are there to treat patients who pay the fees to get care, you can't tell me they do not get grants to pay for research which should cover the research costs?

If we get to research costs again, aren't patients also paying for the research costs for the pharma companies by receiving really expensive brand name drugs as well?

I think that this is clearly another issue that shows how badly our healthcare system is messed up and how much more change is needed.

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