Screwing the uninsured

This was my experience, too. Hospitals gouge the bejesus from the medically uninsured.

A paradox of medical costs is that people who can least afford them — the uninsured — end up being charged the most. Insurance companies, with large numbers of customers, have the financial muscle to negotiate low rates from health-care providers; individuals do not. Whereas insured patients would have been charged about $900 by the hospital that performed Pat’s biopsy (and pay only a small fraction of that out of their own pocket), Pat’s bill was $7,756. For lab work — and there was a lot of it — he was being charged as much as six times the price an insurance company would pay.



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9 responses to “Screwing the uninsured

  1. OGRCC

    about time people wise up to this mess in our health care system.

    • christopherfountain

      ‘m just fearful the cure will be worse than the disease, OG, but then, how could it be?

  2. anonymous

    Healthcare also screws the less astute insured….sort of like private college educations….almost all doctors (like colleges) cost the same, yet perhaps <5% are truly competent in their alleged area of expertise, and outcomes data is fairly opaque for specific doctors and hospitals

    And many are uninsured by choice…they’d rather spend the money “saved” on iPhones, cable TV, gambling, alcohol, pets, etc…don’t shed too many tears

  3. pulled up in OG

    It ain’t a paradox, it’s f’n criminal!

  4. SizeBuyer

    good screw them. not all but a lot of them are the same ones that didn’t play by the rules (housing nonsense) and choose to have flat screens instead of insurance. it’s a way of life. responsible people sacrifice, they say to themselves tv or insurance? iphone or insurance? don’t worry about them the current administration is looking out for them with your dollars.

  5. Peg

    I heard Regina Herzlinger speak a few years ago. She convinced me that this would be our salvation:

    But a free market solution in this administration? Hope I don’t need medical attention after I stop choking with laughter!

  6. CEA

    I have to agree with SizeBuyer. Many, many people I know or work with, who have income, choose the flat screen over Blue Cross/Blue SHield. It is appalling. But they use the ER as their “medical care” – figuring 1 trip to the ER costs a few hundred bucks; a year of health insurance costs $4,000 (blue Cross is just over $300/month).

    I guess that is a “rational”choice if you stay healthy, but one healthcare issue and you’re bankrupt – oh, and the hospital has to pay.

    So, given that it is $4,000 vs. a few hundred dollars for the ER – and I do not agree with this – but what is the rational choice?


    • christopherfountain

      What frosted me, CEA and Size Buyer, was when I couldn’t get health insurance (I finally did, through the state – might as well recoup what tax money I can) but had assets, I paid huge sums for the same procedure that insurance companies had negotiated prices down on. The hospitals just shifted their loss from those to anyone unfortunate to be both uninsured and who had assets. The headline in the article I linked to is misleading (which is why I changed it on my post). The poor aren’t being screwed, it’s the non-poor who can’t get insurance. If I had been hospitalized duing that time of uninsurance I would have been bankrupted and then I could have received all the medical care I needed, free. I have no answer here, and I don’t want Obama care, but I would like a system where I pay the cost for my treatment only and don’t have to subsidize others.

  7. CEA

    From following the insurance companies, I can tell you the latter “dirty little secret”.

    There aren’t enough uninsureds who can pay (the people who have the ability to pay ARE insured) the full-price.

    The “full price” medical facilities charge (hospitals, labs, etc.) is a chimera, one dreamed up so that hospitals can say “oh, we’re giving you 20% off all X-rays” or “your ‘negotiated price’ on C-sections is 30% off”.

    Just like “list price” on products you see advertised on TV “if you act NOW!”. It’s not a real price. It’s a dance – the insurers know it, the facilities know it. The problem is – when the elephants dance, the uninsured grass gets trampled.