Originally Posted by RobMason
If you understood the way medicine works in the US, you would know that the charges have nothing to do with what the hospital collects. That bill is simply a wish, that is the maximum that the hospital wants to receive. What it gets is based on the agreement the hospital has with your insurance company, and they will likely receive less than a third of charges. One reason the fee is high is because, no hospital can turn anyone away, meaning most of who it sees has no way of paying for it. Hospitals have to make up for that by charging more for everyone else. If all people had insurance, the hospitals in theory could compete for everyones business, which would lower rates.
You haven't even received the bill from the ER physician yet.
If you were so unwise as to not have insurance , you are screwed and unless you negotiate with the hospital/MD, they will likely try to collect the full amount.
You are just beginning to realize that the health care setup in this country has gone haywire, many like you who have not needed to access the health care industry before now are starting to see how screwed up it is. Everyone is affected.
You said it exactly.
Hospital says a price - that price is negotiated down, often thousands of dollars.
The bottom line, if you didn't notice on the bill, that $551 for the "actual" stitches, that's about as much as will be obtained for the visit.
Also you have to ask, were any other studies done - xrays, CT scans, etc. Those things cost money too.
The bottom line is that it's a shitty system for people with and without insurance, and is about to get a whole lot worse.
3 hours in and out of an ER in california is actually pretty good. Remember - sickest come first and if the doctor has to resuscitate someone, you have to wait.