In fall 2011, my husband found a skin growth on his neck. It wasn’t overly concerning, but I encouraged him to get it checked out. He went to a dermatologist who agreed it likely was benign, but suggested a biopsy to confirm, which took all of five minutes. We later received a surprise bill for $4,500!
It turned out that while the dermatologist was in network, the lab to which he sent the sample wasn’t. And we were charged a high facility fee because the dermatologist’s office was affiliated with a high-cost hospital, information that was news to us.
Why am I telling you this? Because I’ve worked in health care, with a focus on cost and affordability, for over 15 years. This experience and knowledge still did not save our family from an unforeseen medical expense.
The cost of care is receiving more and more attention. Kaiser Health News and National Public Radio have recently begun a Bill of the Month series in which they scrutinize health care bills in an effort to shed light on costs.