Quote:Remy is libeling the health insurance industry. There are different hospital charges because so many patients are both uninsured and unable to pay their bills in cash (unlike you: you are rather unusual--in a good way) that hospitals would all go bankrupt immediately if they could not make up the difference somehow. Because our health care system has been broken for so many years, it has come down to a constant battle between insurance companies and hospitals/doctors haggling over the billing amount so uninsured/unpaying patients can continue to get care (which is mandated by law: an ER cannot turn away an uninsured patient). Recent health care legislation has been an attempt to address that brokenness. I hope it works.
Quote:...I follow all patients that receive intervention for cardiac services including open heart and heart catheterization procedures. Last week, I followed 5 patients out of 10 without insurance. All 5 were charity and 2 of those were homeless. The hospital takes care of them the same as anyone else who comes in the door with insurance and then applies to Medicaid and hopes for reimbursement. ...
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Quote:I recently spent 9 days in hospital (doing fine now, thanks).
I am uninsured but pay all my bills in cash. The bill I received was for $83,210.11, but because I pay in cash I was charged only $6016. When I asked the hospital about this the only answer I received was that they charge cash customers only that amount they would have received from an insurance company. That sounds perfectly fair to me and I have no complaint. But it begs another question:
If the hospital bills the insurance company $83,000 yet settles the account for $6,000 what is the purpose of the higher number? Why bother to even have the $83,000 number in the first place?
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Quote:I thought you had to have insurance for any major hospital care???
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Quote: ... In every case I paid only what an insurance company or Medicare would have paid so my question still stands mostly unanswered: What is the purpose of the huge number on the bill?
Quote:The fix for all this is not so easy because expectations probably have to change. I've seen studies that compare the quality of care in the US with Canada and countries in Europe. It puts the US down on the list but very high on the cost. The problem with those studies is that it's not a level playing field. We see and treat everyone nearly immediately. There is no wait time for even those without financial resources. In Canada, my mom waited 18 months to have a hip replacement. Her care was excellent but she became an invalid during that period of time. I had a sister in Canada with a cancerous brain tumor that was told to wait 6 months to see the neurosurgeon. If you put people on a wait list that long, there are some that ultimately do not require the care and don't become part of the outcome statistics.
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Quote:A flip side to the "no profit" model is a dearth of innovation. At one point I saw a study that said that just the five largest medical centers in the US conducted more clinical trials in a year than the entire continent of Europe. MOst of the innovations in pharmacology and medical technology have historically been US based in large measure because companies can patent and profit from them. Over time that's important; just delivering medical care is only part of the equation. You also need to experiment and progress, and unfortunately if you convert the last free market health care system on the planet to the Canadian or European model, there will be no one left to develop the next wonder drug or imaging system.
Quote: A flip side to the "no profit" model is a dearth of innovation.