(Updated 2022) A friend writes:
“I have had a pain in my lower abdomen since I felt like I tore a muscle after lifting heavy boxes.
“I was referred to hernia doctors and other orthopedic surgeons who said I didn’t have a hernia. Nevertheless, the pain persisted. I finally found an expert in muscle tears that do not present as classic hernias, but he does not accept insurance.
“I paid out of pocket for the appointment, and then he referred me to get a CT scan of the pelvis with contrast. He gave me the number of an office near him to get the procedure done.
“Since I was paying out of pocket, I called ahead to see what the cost would be and was told it would be $1,800. I then called a place near me that had done my mammogram and subsequent ultrasound, which was very well run, with new machines and good technicians, and asked what their price was if I was paying myself.
“They said $340. I could not believe there could be such a difference in prices, especially since I knew that the quality of the facility that provided the cheaper price quote was very high!”
Part 2: How to argue a bill.
Jeanne Pinder is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded ClearHealthCosts.
She was previously a fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at the Columbia University School of Journalism. ClearHealthCosts has won grants from the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York; the International Women’s Media Foundation; the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with KQED public radio in San Francisco and KPCC in Los Angeles; the Lenfest Foundation in Philadelphia for a partnership with The Philadelphia Inquirer; and the New York State Health Foundation for a partnership with WNYC public radio/Gothamist in New York; and other honors.
Her TED talk about fixing health costs has surpassed 2 million views.