Last month, I had an unexpected trip to the emergency room. I was pleased how quickly I was taken care of but as I left, I was afraid to see what this was going to cost.
This is what happened. While chopping garlic, I sliced my left index finger, cutting through the nail. I didn’t know how deep. As it started to spurt blood, I quickly wrapped it with a paper towel and left for the ER. I could have gone to my local doctor but when I called, the message said: “in case of emergency, dial 911”. Even though this was urgent, I didn’t need an ambulance. My best option seemed to be to drive to the ER myself.
This is where the phrase, insult to injury applies. The hospital charged nearly $8,000 just for me to walk through the door. Their pharmacy fee was $328 and medical supplies nearly $800. Today I received another bill from the doctor and that was over $1,600. The grand total for my finger came to over $10,000 and that isn’t even with a ring on it.
Let me break this down further. The hospital charged over $1,000 for “medical supplies”; a bandaid and medical-grade superglue. I spent more time being processed as a patient than I did with the nurse practitioner. The majority of the time, I was sitting alone in a room.
My responsibility for the two bills is nearly $900. Insurance said I didn’t meet my deductible but this isn’t my issue. The fees make me feel like a victim of highway robbery.
THIS is one of the biggest problems with our insurance system. How do they justify these costs?
I work part-time, fifteen hours a week and make less than $10 an hour, before taxes. In order to pay this bill, I need to work a lot of hours.
I’ve called the hospital, the doctor and my insurance company. I’m just so disgusted.
PS- the medical community should be ashamed of itself.
UPDATE: The hospital immediately responded to my letter and we found a compromise however, the doctor group did not budge. They felt justified with the proper code and informed me that “they don’t charge by the hour”. Of course, they don’t because it can’t be justified. As for the code, I think they just picked one because there isn’t a code for a procedure that required no special equipment or for a procedure less than 15 minutes. I repeat, they should be ashamed of themselves. This is a legal white color crime.
By the way, one of the reasons doctor fees are so ridiculous is due to their need for malpractice insurance. They make mistakes and yet we are paying for that twice. SMH