Capitalism or health care price gouging?

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In all my years of being an adult in our health care system, no one’s ever told me this:

“Beware if you ever get any services done at a hospital like blood work, because even if the hospital is "in network", it can charge you literally like 1,000% more than some place like lab corps or quest and no one will warn you of this in advance of getting the blood work done.”

That’s what happened to me. Anyone else? I can’t be the only one. It’s incredulous, really. I’ve gotten blood work done many, many times in my life. The co-pays are always around $50. Never have I been presented with a bill for $3,700. Yes, you read that right. No super special tests, good old blood tests simply measuring my progress as I lost weight and got healthier this year.

The only reason I went to get the blood work done at the hospital is because it’s right next door to my current place of employment. I called Cigna in advance and told them I was planning to get blood work done at the lab in the hospital, and asked are they in-network? “Yes.” I called the hospital; blood work? network? yes, yes” — no warning I might pay 1,000 percent more because i’m getting the services done at a hospital. I’m going to guess the reps did not know to warn me of this potential premium cost; not one mention or obviously, I wouldn’t have done it.

How can it be legal for them to do this to a patient? They kind of acted like, “well, you still have $3,700 on your deductible so we can’t help that” and I’m like “what??” How does what’s left on my deductible have any bearing on what they should be charging me??

The last Cigna rep I spoke with was really helpful, nice and patient. Yet, her hands are tied; this is the hospital’s bill; the one I was expecting to be around 50 bucks.

Does a nearly 1,000% difference in price sound anywhere near reasonable to anyone??

Toni Busuttil


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