In the United States, no one really knows what health care costs, and too many accidentally receive thousands of dollars or more in medical bills.
Frank esposito of long island, New York, survived a back operation that left him paralyzed. But to his dismay, medical bills totaling more than $650,000 were then waiting to be paid.
▲ frank esposito
Frank esposito has been suffering from back pain since march last year. He could hardly move, an mri soon showed a lump in his spine in his back, and an expert told him to go to the nearest hospital immediately.
The emergency room doctor said he needed surgery. Doctors also told esposito that his hernia was so severe that it could cut off his nerves and put him at risk of paralysis.
The operation was successful, but the bill came in at more than $650,000.
Despairingly, the insurance company told esposito that his back surgery was not an emergency and was medically unnecessary.
"What can I choose? Is it possible to remain paralyzed for the rest of your life?" "Esposito asked rhetorically." you get these crushing bills and you say, this can't be true. How do I pay? You sit there and start crying because you don't know what you're going to do."
▲ esposito said medical bills of more than $650,000 left him feeling desperate
In a 2018 poll conducted by Kaiser health, a nonprofit news organization devoted to in-depth coverage of health policy, 40 percent of consumers said they received an unexpected medical bill in the previous year, half of which was more than $500.
Dr. Aaron carroll, a pediatrician and health services researcher in the United States, says the main reason is not enough transparency in health care.
"When a person in pain is told, 'well, unless you go to the hospital, you may be paralyzed. 'how do they become rational consumers, making complex, rational decisions? Of course they say: 'please tell me what to do, because that's your job. '" says carol.
CBS news and clearhealthcosts (from a news agency in New York, mainly public medical market price as the primary coverage) found that, even if not an emergency, some medical check cost of the project in a different city also can appear fluctuation, for example – fort worth in Dallas and San Francisco two major cities in the cash price for the medical project is very different.
In the dallas-fort worth area, a simple blood test ranges from $10 to $176. Blood tests near San Francisco range from $15 to $126.
The cost of an abdominal ultrasound in Dallas ranges from $115 to $2,459; In the San Francisco bay area, the same procedure costs $100 to $2,800.
Although not everyone pays cash, especially those with good insurance, cash prices reflect what insurance companies can accept.
"The plan will have different deductibles, different co-insured amounts and different co-payments," carroll said. Of course, it also depends on how much they charge and how much you are responsible for the price. This number is much higher than people think, and it can be an important part of people's compensation."
Carroll added: "I think the public has an assumption that, rightly or wrongly, insurance will protect them and that they will be protected. So people are shocked when they see the surprise bill."
▲ esposito's insurance company did pay some of his bills, but he still owes $220,000
After negotiations, the hospital eventually waived some of the cost, and frank esposito has set aside $49,000 from his retirement savings to pay the bill. After an appeal, esposito's insurance company, Oxford united medical, paid part of his bill, but he still owes the hospital $220,000.
"You work all your life, you work to have a house," Mr. Esposito said. "you have to save for everything. We want to be able to confirm that we can go to the doctor, that we can be healthy, that we can be taken care of, and not lose everything we have."