The Legal Examiner Mark The Legal Examiner Mark The Legal Examiner Mark search twitter facebook feed linkedin instagram google-plus avvo phone envelope checkmark mail-reply spinner error close
Skip to main content

Ever wonder why hospital bills are so high? Consider these: Patient Jim Bujalski complained to St. Anthony’s Hospital in Littleton, CO, about the cost of his prescription Plavix and Crestor tablets, which he was forced to "buy" while hospitalized. He could not use his own medications beause the Hospital only "administers drugs under its own control". The Plavix was $248 each, (he pays $8 at home) and his Crestor was $65($3 at home). That’s a mark-up 31 times for Plavix and 21 and 2/3 for Crestor. The medications were part of his $58,000, one-day hospital stay.

Further, Medical Billing Advocates of America, a private firm that patients can hire to help consumers sort through their medical bill for errors, over-billing or outright fraud, has reported patients bills that contain a $2 box of tissues billed as a "mucus recovery system" for $12, a piece of gauze used to wipe down surgical equipment billed as a "fog eliination device" for $57, and a Teddy Bear billed as a "cough support device" for $57.

Medical Billing Advocates of Florida estimates that as many as 80% of all medical bills contain billing errors of some type but a spokesman for Humana, a health insurance company that receives about 6 million claims a month says that 90% of the bills do not contain errors. Assuming that neither advocacy group is totally correct and the difference is somewhere in between, there are certainly many, many errors made. Call me a cynic, but I can’t help but believe that the number of overbillings greatly exceed errors in the patients’ favor.


  1. Gravatar for Mike Bryant

    Wow, those numbers, even in the middle, at staggering. The savings are there, if people are serious about heath care solutions. This should be the focus of the speeches that the Senate floor is seeing. But, that would require honesty and not obstructionists.

  2. Gravatar for Lisa Lindell

    I'm an accountant in the construction industry. My husband was hospitalized for 108 days. During this time I started to notice the insurance company was being billed for things they shouldn't pay for. Like mistakes the hospital made that resulted in more expensive treatment (I just can't call it 'care'). Whenever I saw the case manager for the insurance company I had a list for her. The insurance company shouldn't pay for this or that. She always brushed me off and said they have auditors. Then I started to notice supplies were getting billed to his room, supplies he couldn't use. For example Chevy parts for a Ford product. I came home with cases and cases of unused supplies. At one time I saw a "special" mattress cover on the nurses' station, it had my husband's room billing sticker on it. I never saw it again and it was never used on my husband. I kept telling the case manager but she always blew me off. Insurance companies carry a lot of blame for this mess. They don't care, they just keep passing costs along. I never actually saw my husband's bills, except for a few that were mistakenly sent to him to pay. I've always been curious about them, though.

Comments are closed.

Of Interest