Valdosta Daily Times

Business

September 29, 2013

Don’t let the emergency room bill give you a heart attack

Trust me, you don’t want to go back!

-- — On Tuesday, I watched an incredibly informative segment on ABC News called “Real Money” by news reporter Paula Faris. It was about saving money on emergency-room bills. For most people, when it comes time to go to the emergency room, the last thing on your mind is saving money. However, anyone that has gone to the ER, even with insurance, knows that the bill can be a hefty one.

In the case of the woman in the segment, their bill was $8,000. The woman’s initial bill was not itemized and only had three figures on it. After the retrieval of an itemized bill, they found a whole slew of problems. She was charged $298.23 for a pregnancy test that normally costs $10 in a drug store. She was charged $800 for two tests that had been given by her doctor the previous day, and at her doctor’s office, the tests were only $75. The hospital also administered medication that the woman already had at home and then charged her 90 times higher than what she paid for the exact same drug. The woman also discovered, through the itemized bill, that she had been charged twice for the same test and charged for a test she was never given.

This sounds shocking, but it happens to people every day and not just people who go to the ER with near-death experiences. My last stint in the emergency room was a year ago. My doctor had diagnosed me with strep throat, and though my doctor had prescribed me medication, that night I took a turn for the worse. My nausea, fever and lowered heart rate left me with no choice but to go to the ER. After a few hours, some anti-nausea medicine and an IV of pain medication, I was left with a $1,500 bill ... And yes, I did have health insurance.

Since life has a tendency to happen, ERs are just a thing that most people will have to face at one point or another. However, there are some steps you can take to help lessen the blow of your visit and make sure you are not being over charged or charged incorrectly.

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