Health Advice

/

Health

Her doctor’s office moved one floor up. Her bill was 10 times higher

Lauren Weber, Kaiser Health News on

Published in Health & Fitness

But after receiving a “final notice” in February, and then being threatened with being sent to collections, the Lee family gave up the fight. Esther Lee paid the bill for her mother. But she’s worried her mom will delay getting the shots now, putting up with the pain longer, as she knows they are more expensive.

The Takeaway: When planning an outpatient procedure like an injection or biopsy, call ahead to ask if it will happen in a place that’s considered a “hospital setting” — even if you think you understand the office’s billing practices. Ask outright if there will be a facility fee — and how much — even if there’s not been one before. If it’s an elective procedure, you can search for a cheaper provider.

One easy place to scout for more affordable care is the office of a doctor whose practice has not been bought by a hospital. It is the hospital, not your longtime doctor, that is adding the fee, said Marni Jameson Carey, executive director of the Association of Independent Doctors.

“This is one of the terrible fallouts of consolidation,” Carey said.

____

 

Stephanie O’Neill contributed to the audio version of this story.

____

Bill of the Month is a crowdsourced investigation by KHN and NPR that dissects and explains medical bills. Do you have an interesting medical bill you want to share with us? Tell us about it!

©2021 Kaiser Health News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.