SeeThru Patient Stories: Mr. M.A.

Patient Story: Mr. M.A. received a surprise bill for $5000 for an ultrasound. It hurt his credit for years after he was unable to pay it.

1. Thank you for sharing your story with us and agreeing to some follow up questions! First I want to ask you, how long ago was this incident?

This happened two years ago in 2016 during the Late Winter / Early Spring.

2. A $5000 bill for an ultrasound! Did you ever expect it to cost that much going into the doctor’s?

Oh god no. It was an ultrasound, I was thinking a hundred bucks. tops and it was horrifying when it came out to be so much.

3. Were you in a position to shop around for care? If you knew it was going to cost so much would you have?

I had no idea it was going to cost so much and definitely would have if I knew it was going to. I kind of just took the doctor’s advice and went with [getting the ultrasound there]. It was part of a larger procedure.

4. How has this changed your view of healthcare prices?

It’s made me feel that it’s ridiculously unfair that insurance companies won’t release the codes for billing. We asked for those codes to compare prices, but they wouldn’t give them to us. It’s absolutely unfair that I don’t know if the doctor is charging 1000% markup or 10%.

5. What changes do you think we need to make to our healthcare system, especially in regards to pricing?

We need to have more transparency. Today with the advance of technology, there’s no reason we can’t know upfront how much things costs. When we go to the store we don’t get a bill for $7000 dollars later for the price of the thing we bought.

6. If you had a message you wanted to share with your healthcare company regarding that bill, what would that message be?

Honestly, why can’t you give more transparency? You know the cost of this Ultrasound wasn’t 5000 buck, why can’t you be open and clear about why things cost so much money?