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Medical pricing headache

Published: Friday, July 26, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

After my recent yearly checkup, I had this question to ask: why is it that I can go to my chiropractor, ophthalmologist, dentist, podiatrist, or dermatologist at any time, receive a total for the service or procedure that was just done, and pay for it on the spot with my health savings account, but I cannot receive a total after a visit from my primary care physician or obstetrician-gynecologist?

I requested a total as I filled out paperwork in the office, but the receptionist didn’t know and said only the doctor knew.

I asked the doctor during the exam, and she said she didn’t know the prices; only the office ladies knew.

We don’t accept unpublished or unposted prices when we seek services from other people or companies.

Why do we, as patients and consumers, seek medical services from doctors without knowing how much we have to pay or our insurance company will be billed?

The office told me that it’s impossible to know what the doctor will do during the visit. True, but I’m not there to lead a book discussion or talk about world peace. I am there for an exam which should cost “x.” If I need a lab test done on a urine sample, it should cost “x” amount.

This secretive pricing is a major red flag that we all should be concerned about and address. Quality care from hospitals and doctors must include transparent pricing at the point of service.

Wendy Karamagianis


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