Sticker Shock Jolts Oklahoma Patient

Oct 2018
Dan

Yet another example of hospital patients experiencing excessive billing following a procedure where insurance carrier didn’t cover all costs. Aside from having no leverage against a health insurance provider covering the costs, the excessive bill, once itemized, revealed staggering costs of equipment including screws. This lead to uncovering the lack of regulation around medical device markups from manufacturers to hospitals passed on to consumers. With Medxoom, she would have known the historical price and quality ratings of this surgery at all area hospitals before selecting a hospital.

From Kaiser Health News:

Companies can charge big prices for small surgical supplies and hospitals can mark them up at will.

If you want to know exactly why your bill is so high, ask for an itemized list of charges. Since patients have no ability to shop around for different screws before the surgery, it’s important to complain loudly to the hospital, your insurer and your employer if you see charges that seem outrageous.

John Schmieding, senior vice president and general counsel for Arthrex, declined to tell Kaiser Health News exactly how much his company charges hospitals for the type of screws implanted in Young’s foot. But he did offer ballpark figures: ‘Our sale price for screws used in foot and ankle procedures would be below $300 per screw, with the most expensive around $1,000.’

As for what the hospital charges, Schmieding said, ‘We do not direct or control how a facility bills for their procedure.’ Based on the numbers Schmieding provided, the hospital markup on Young’s screws could range from roughly 275 percent to upward of 1,150 percent.”

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