Thursday, July 26, 2012

Paying Too Much For Medical Care

I just received a thick packet from BlueCrossBlueShield with a number of Explanations of Benefits. All were generated by a visit I made to my dermatologist several weeks ago for a routine check-up..

Here are the charges:

1.Office visit: $230
2. Surgery: $360
3. Surgery: $1212
4. Pathology: $506
5. Pathology: $534
Total Charged: $2842

I will be billed $519.53 co-insurance; my insurance company paid $2078.49. Presumably lost in space: $243.98.

The appointment took about 30 minutes. My doctor examined me and found a suspicious spot. The nurse came in to ask me questions and explain the procedure. The doctor came in and injected me with lydocaine and took a small skin scraping. This was sent to pathology. The nurse called me two weeks later to say the biopsy showed melanoma and I will need further surgery. My prior post mentions that I will meet the surgeon first (translated: office visit); she will remove the spot (surgery); she will send it to pathology, probably a number of times until it shows clear margins. I estimate this will cost $3450, based on charges incurred until now for said spot.

Folks, that's $6242 to slice a piece of my skin.

Sure, I want to get rid of the cancer but how will I feed myself? 

Aside from what my husband pays for health insurance outright ($6000), we've already paid thousands more in drug co-pays and other charges. I'm applying for financial aid from Memorial Sloan Kettering to forgive over $4500 in charges from outpatient services. I owe the doctors about $2500. Our family deductible kicks in at $7000 which I'm sure we've already topped.

My husband has a good job, and I don't mind paying out-of-pocket what's reasonable. After all, having health insurance has probably saved my life. Two provisions of Obamacare matter here: pre-existing conditions won't leave me in the lurch, starting in 2014;
lifetime payouts can't be limited. I don't know when that one starts.

I should live so long.


christine said...

Its great to hear that the health insurance helped you. We must always be ready for situations like this, we never can tell how much the doctors would charge us.

toby magmire said...

For some disease, people need to pay more money and it is essential because some disease can cause serious problem and can give result in loss of eye.