Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Send Me Three Estimates

A couple weeks ago Mrs. Grumpy had minor outpatient surgery, and while some may say no surgery is minor, this was as close to inconsequential as surgery can be.  The whole thing took 15 minutes.  That is, the procedure took 15 minutes.  No explanation of why we were required to be there two hours before the scheduled surgery.  Or why a team of nurses had to check her vitals and ask stupid questions approximately every 8 minutes during that two hour wait.

I know, I know, it's all being done for patient safety, but there is a lot of redundancy in the system.  And every person in that repetitive process has to be paid.  Well, we did our part.  Last week the statements arrived.  One from the hospital for use of their facility, the other from the doctor for 15 minutes of his skill.  The hospital wanted a little over $5,600 and the doctor about $2,800.  Because we have insurance we didn't pay those amounts.  Actually, nobody paid those amounts.  The hospital accepts a discounted amount that has been negotiated with the insurance company and then we pay the balance out of pocket.

What stumps me is why the cost of such a low level procedure is so high and why they bill amounts they know they are not going to collect?   Why make it all so confusing for the consumer?  Better yet, why not make it competitive?  Why couldn't we shop this procedure around, somewhat like how you might get  multiple estimates for body repair on your car?   I'm sure any number of surgeons in a city this size could have done this job.  How about submitting written estimates and low bid gets the business.

Would I entrust Mrs. Grumpy's health care to the low bidder?  You betcha.


The Big Guy said...

At this point I am not sure why Mrs. Grumpy allows you to remain in your home.

Grumpy said...

I'm not sure, either.

GMoney said...


fleshpot said...

You may have a problem with Mrs. Grumpy on this plan, but your point is right: abuses of the healthcare system are rampant and appalling. my wife and I look at some of the charges and get ill, even, as you said, if we don't pay it and negotiations reduce the bills. you've seen all the articles about overcharging. Uncle Sam, as usual, wastes a lot of money.