Healthcare: Different Costs for Different Folks

Having had a lot of experience with the health care world lately, I’ve become amazed at how pricing is set.  When trying to pick which insurance company to go with, I called my doctors and the hospital to find out what my expenses would be.  I discovered that what they charge depends on what insurance you have!

Recently our doctor billed us $1230 for a visit and our insurance company agreed to pay $291.92 and the doctor’s office called it good!  I wondered if I could have negotiated it down that much if I’d been paying without insurance.  Well, this guy did too.  He called several hospitals and asked if they would negotiate if he was uninsured.  Here’s what he found out:

# The list price varies by 75% ($1,013 to $3,970).

# The best uninsured price varies by 92% ($204 to $2,600).

# List price discounts range from 0% to 86%.

# To get many of the discounts hospitals offer the balance needs to be paid in full at the time of service or a large down payment made, to receive it.

# Some hospitals are unwilling to divulge the price over the phone and others will not call back.

The details are at HealthCare Advocate Blog � Blog Archive � The Uninsured Patient Experiment.