A week before Thanksgiving, I found myself in a Johnston Health emergency room suffering the pain of a kidney stone. Less than two hours later, I was on my way home after some much needed pain meds and a CAT scan to confirm the diagnosis.
Recently, I received a summary of the bill to be filed with my insurance company. The total for my two-hour stay was $6,828. This included $2,413 for general emergency room care and $3,875 for the CAT scan. A similar CAT scan performed by my urologist would have been $600.
I have no complaints with the care I received, but the pain of a kidney stone in no way compares with the financial pain I will experience when the final bill is due. My insurance company will no doubt determine these charges to be unreasonable and refuse to pay. I, on the other hand, do not have that option.
What began as a urological problem ended as a very painful condition better treated by a proctologist. If I were in business charging the same outrageous rates as our hospitals, I would be in jail for price gouging.