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Saturday, December 3, 2011

An MRI, or a fleet of cars: High healthcare prices

Of the cars I've owned over the years, my favorite was my homely first car, a pale yellow 1976 Ford Maverick with a lime green interior, which I bought, very used, from a good friend, after it had run 113,000 miles. The purchase price in 1985: $325. The car wasn't pretty, but it was rugged, and served me well.

My mother recently had an MRI in an Atlanta hospital as an outpatient. Thankfully, the MRI helped to rule out a serious condition, and she promptly got back to 100% health after a course of antibiotics. The hospital billed her Medicare plan $3,200 for the 10-minute test! The price tag was so high that I struggled to find an appropriate yardstick: it was enough to buy a fleet of ten Ford Mavericks.

When prices are that high, something has to give; not everyone will have insurance that covers such tests, and some will go without care, usually people who lack excellent insurance.

1 comment:

B Butler said...

I am not surprised at all. As a Care Specialist, I see so many outrageous bills from my clients who have no idea on how to handle them. I would have to estimate that about 60% of the bills received have errors. It isn't the individuals provider's fault. So much goes into the bills that are never examined.

I had a situation where I was billed almost $2K for a MRA that was supposed to be covered. To make a long story short, because I knew the system and my rights, it is now gone. I had to fight it for over three years!