There is an interesting article in todays New York Times about a service that now exists to help recovering patients make their way through all the false charges on their hospital bills. These self titled “medical advocates” charge to help you navigate the language of the insurance companies and hopefully spot instances of double billing and fraud. That’s the premise anyway. The article offers examples of such charges. For instance:
” According to some surveys, as many as 9 out of 10 bills from medical providers include errors, according to the Medical Billing Advocates of America. Often these errors have to do with billing for services that were not provided. Lin Osborn, a medical advocate in Westchester County, N.Y., says she has seen several cases in which patients were charged a separate fee for closing a surgical incision.”
In other words, one fee for making the incision. Another fee for closing it. Now that is some creative billing. Think of the financial windfalls this approach could provide for the rest of us. Restaurants: One fee for cooking your food, another fee for allowing you to eat it! Prostitutes: One fee for allowing john to enter my body. Another fee for permitting removal of penis! Writers: One fee for writing the work. Another for allowing you to read it. Okay, the flaws are too obvious there. Nothing ever works out well for writers. But my favorite part of the article details the new phrases that the hospitals have invented to help disguise the over charging.
â€ Then there are the well-publicized overcharges like $11 for a box of tissues, itemized as â€œa disposable mucus recovery systemâ€ or a $15 bag of ice listed as â€œthermal therapy.â€
“Thermal therapy” for ice is very good, I agree. That was some fancy thinking. But DISPOSABLE MUCUS RECOVERY SYSTEM is brilliant. I am so impressed.
Despite the fact that apparently our current health care set up has evidently been great for creativity in the field of billing, I sure hope congress manages to push through a health care bill. Otherwise I might have no choice but to put my 401K into mucous recovery .