A lot of doctors and hospitals are offering cash discounts for medical services; however, the lowest price is often used only if patients do not use their health insurance coverage. For example, blood tests that would normally cost $415 for an insured patient, is only $95 if paid in cash.
Jo Ann Snyder was charged $6,707 for an abdomen CT scan by a Long Beach Hospital following her pelvis and abdomen surgery. However, due to her Blue Shield of California health insurance, she only had to pay $2,336.
But, during the process, she came across a healthcare secret – if she didn’t use her health insurance, her medical bill would have only been $1,054.
Snyder, a hair-salon manager said she was shocked and upset that she got charged so much and that her insurance carrier, let it happen. She expected them to work harder on her behalf and negotiate a better price.
Unknown to the majority of patients, a lot of physicians and hospitals give steep discounts if cash is paid, but it comes with a catch – normally you only get the lowest price if you don’t use your health care coverage.
The price difference is coming under attack from people such as Snyder, who are displeased that patients who are already paying high insurance deductibles and premiums are being penalized with higher treatment rates.
The price disparity can be astonishing. For example, the Los Almitos Medical Center lists the price of an abdomen CT scan on its website at $4,423 and Blue Shield says the rate it has negotiated with the hospital is around $2,400, and when the Los Angeles Times phoned for a cash price without using health insurance, it was quoted $250.