A woman in California received treatment for a broken foot at a reputable orthopedic facility. She was happy with their service until she looked at her bill: $809 for a plastic walking boot that costs about $80 on Amazon. She assumed it was a typo but after contacting the facility, she was shocked to learn the charge was correct.
To her credit, she raised her concerns about the astronomical 1,000% markup to senior administrators. Sure enough, there was an error: she should only have been charged $639. Really?!!
It’s no secret that the US health care system routinely gouges employers and plan members with inflated and nonsensical charges. Americans pay roughly double what those in other developed countries pay for care. But this situation demonstrates the degree to which outrageous greed has driven increases in deductibles, co-insurance payments, and ultimately, out-of-pocket costs for patients everywhere.
Since the industry won’t police itself, employers must take the lead in demanding transparent billing practices and fair market reimbursement. Employee health plans with clean contracting and pre-payment cost controls can help mitigate these abusive practices and protect employees from unexpected and outrageous charges. Employers need a plan that ensures situations like this simply cannot continue to happen.