Health Care and Insurance Rant


VA Royal Blues
10 Years
Apr 2, 2009
Sorry in advance for the rant, but I am just so MAD that I need to vent. Please feel free to ignore this and not respond, but it feels better just to get it out.

My husband had to go to the ER a month ago because he had a severe allergic reaction to something and, of course, it was on a Saturday night. While he was actually lying on the stretcher in an examining room, a hospital employee came back to collect our co-pay, which we paid. Collecting funds while a patient is actually on the bed in the examining room???? Are you kidding me????

The bills have started coming in. To this point, we are at $549 that we are responsible for. For an injection of Solu-Medrol (prednisone), IV fluids (saline), a chest x-ray, 2 prescriptions, and a 2 minute visit with the ER doctor (no lie, the doctor "evaluated" my husband while he was getting a chest x-ray...never saw the doctor again), the bill, at this point, is over $3000.00 and I am sure more bills will roll in.

We pay $400 a month for insurance. Add to that the deductible (that we have already met this year), the co-pays for doctor visits, prescriptions, etc., and we STILL owe $549 for this bill (and I'm sure more bills are to come). Over $3000 for a visit to the ER for something this simple is just ridiculous.

This is price gouging and plain highway robbery. Our health care system is totally out of control. I don't know the answer, but I DO know that SOMETHING needs to be done ASAP.

Sorry for the rant, but this just REALLY makes me furious !!
Yea,we pay over 400 a month too plus a health savings account of 100 a week to cover what insurance does not.We keep the insurance for the *big* stuff,but I am sure they will find a way to pay little. Gald your dh is better. I have done my best to treat things on my own when possible.
I feel your pain. our deductible is 10,000. we have it in case we need an organ or something.
I keep an epipen and a bottle of benadryl with me at all times...with the understanding that I have to be blue before anyone calls an ambulance.
Go take a gander at

me, you are NOT the only one boiling about this....

Basically you're paying $400/month... $4,800.00/year for a little card that isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

Then you pay some more...

And then if after that you have a problem then MAYBE, again paying more, you'll finally get the company to pay some.

Lame... very lame. But that's what happens when suits who only care about the bottom line are in charge of health, instead of PEOPLE, doctors, etc who actually give a fig.
May I make a suggestion here? Ask for an itemized statement and haggle, haggle, haggle. My DH and I had this same issue a few years back. We pay out the nose for insurance and they basically cover nothing.
Anyway, DH had to go to the ER due to nonstop severe vomiting...saw the doctor for perhaps 35 seconds? He was started on IV fluids and given several different antiemetics (by the nurses), of which one finally one worked. We received the bill about 2 weeks later for $2,500.00. After I picked myself back up off the floor, I noted that all the bill said was we owed this amount but nothing else...oh...except if we paid in full within the next 2 days they would generously give us a 10% discount. Gee...thanks ever so. I called the billing office and requested an itemized statement so I knew exactly what I was paying for. Well, as it turns out they charged us twice for starting an IV, which should have only been the single charge as well as what I felt was an excessive amount of money for the antiemetic pills...if memory serves me I believe they charged us $240.00 per pill. So....we called our local pharmacy and asked what it would cost per pill for these magical little pills, which didn't work by the way, and I believe the actual amount was $6.00. Yes....$6.00. DH figured this up to an approximately 4,000% mark up. Now, I'm not opposed to paying what I owe and it was in the middle of the night in a medical facility so I would assume doubling or even maybe tripling would be okay...but a 4,000% markup??!! I DON'T THINK SO!! I was furious, not only that we were double billed and they were completely ripping us off, but that I was certain many people do not ask for an itemized statement and just pay it.

So, we had a nice loooong discussion with the billing lady who resisted at first until we pointed out to her that a 4,000% markup was hardly acceptable as was charging twice for something that only happened once. In the end, we got the bill down to $700.00, which I still think is excessive but was a heckuva lot better than $2,500.00. Oh, and by the way, the ER doctor was an independent contractor hired by the hospital and his bill came separately...2 weeks later.

Anyway, please ask for an itemized statement, then call the billing office and talk to someone who has the power to haggle the cost with you. It was a huge pain in the hiney and it took a lot of our time, but in the end it was well worth it. Good luck!!!
ROckn Red - Have already called the billing dept at the hospital and requested someone with authority to call back. I plan on haggling and arguing and haggling and arguing. A 4000% markup is completely UNACCEPTABLE !!! How on earth can they get by with this stuff? The nurse gave my husband a teeny-tiny tube of triamcinolone cream (which didn't work) and the cost was $127. I'm going to call the pharmacy now (good idea, thanks) and see how much this would cost if I purchased it there.

We got the same deal. If we paid our bill "today" they would generously knock 15% off the bill. I'm sure that is to keep us from haggling and questioning them. I am going to question every single thing on that bill...they don't know me...I'm the type that they will be paying ME to hang up the phone and leave them alone. LOL. We did get the bill from the ER doctor separately....he saw my husband for less than 2 minutes (more like 50 seconds) while he was having a chest x-ray and the bill from him was $475....the hospital ALSO charged $520 for the ER we have to pay the hospital AND the doctor both? For the doctor to say "Gee, you must be allergic to something." DUH !!

I think what bothers me the most about this stuff is the helplessness I feel. I know people say "vote" blah, blah, blah, but we haven't had anybody to vote for worth anything in how long now? I'm ready to start a revolution !!
I am just beginning the examination of billing process and my head already hurts! My DH had emergency surgery last March- we STILL haven't gotten all the bills. And those we have are very vague. He's more the easy going type, but I will be speaking to each and every person or department involved.

I will be polite, courteous and the most tenacious bulldog they've ever seen!

Good luck to all of us battling the medical institutions and the insurance companies. Some times you just have to stiffen your spine and become the nicest, yet worst, enemy of the corporations!

BTW, get a whole new package of file folders and a new pad of paper. You'll need it. Get the name, employee ID number and direct phone number of everyone who calls or you call. Paper trail and documentation are VERY important!

Thanks so much to everyone for just letting me rant...I feel better just having gotten it out of my system.
One of the problems is that the hospital's cost of doing business is so high, and to compound the issue so many people are completely uninsured as well as poor as dirt and have to walk away from their bills. That leaves the rest of us covering their expenses - the hospital ends up billing everyone who is able to pay extraordinarily high fees because that's the only way they will be able to exist. Plus, they give insurers HUGE discounts, leaving those without insurance with even higher bills and less able to pay them.

Ugh, it's a very frustrating situation indeed.

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