Back when I had a full coverage option at a smaller employer, ER visits were typically $150 copay, plus 10% of the final bill. Last year I started with a giant employer who, somewhat ironically, only offers higher-deductible plans for similar premiums.
Long story short, a little wooden plaque fell on my son’s head about 3 months ago. He started bleeding a little, so we feared the worst and headed over to the nearest ER, which is a brand new freestanding emergency center about 2 miles away. We saw the nurse for a couple minutes, then a PA, who put a single staple into the wound to keep it from opening back up. No stitches needed, we chatted with the doctor for about 2 minutes and we were on our way. 30 minutes door-to-door and no waiting.
Fast forward to yesterday when I got the final of three bills for the visit, totaling just under $1,200. (Had I been uninsured, it would have been over $1,500). I’m not going to debate the merits of different systems and plans, but that just seems REALLY excessive to me, given the amount of time we spent and attention we were given — about on par with a standard pediatrician appointment, which costs $60-$100.
I am so sick of healthcare — can’t live with it, can’t live without it. And worst part of the whole thing is the lack of transparency on the pricing. Would I have taken my son to the ER if I knew the cost in advance? Maybe, but I would have taken a closer look. And then he might have gotten infected, admitted, and cost the insurance company tens of thousands of dollars. As it stands, IMHO, these costs are a DETERRENT to preventive care, as well as to visiting doctors for minor ailments.