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$900 for an Echocardiogram

Posted

Specializes in LTC, Med/Surg, Peds, ICU, Tele. Has 15 years experience.

I was walking with my nurse buddy today. She's like me, she and her husband buy their own insurance (she's per diem and he's retired early), and our policies are not comprehensive, but with high deductables. She's also like me, she has a heart murmur. But, unlike me, when her doctor suggested that she get a baseline echo done, she went along with that idea.

Well, lo and behold she got charged $900:eek: She was wondering why doctors don't know how much things cost and pressure people into doing tests like this, and assume everyone has great coverage and no financial concerns. When I went in for my checkup and said no, thinking it would cost $400 or $500 for an echo, the doctor put down money concerns as my reason for refusal. Yeah, money concerns and absolutely no symptoms, and feeling better than I have in years.

No wonder our system is going broke.

OC_An Khe

Specializes in Critical Care,Recovery, ED. Has 40 years experience.

Drs. do know the cost of tests, particularly when they are done in their offices or businesses they have a piece of. I don't think the $900 cost of an echo is out of line. I paid almost that much for a new kitchen faucet and its installation. Know whether it was necessary or not is a whole other discussion.

Multicollinearity, BSN, RN

Specializes in Acute Care Psych, DNP Student. Has 4 years experience.

Well, according to an itemized breakdown of my ER bill, I was billed $600 just to start my IV in the ER. Then more was added on top of that for the NS. The total bill was for $2300 just for six hours in the hallway in the ER. No radiology. No ECG. Nothing else but CBC and electrolytes, IV with NS, Zofran, and a potassium pill.

It's billing by thievery. It's over-billing to make up for society's malcontents who never pay.

Dexascan, echo, carotid are done at the doctors office in some cases and the insurance payment and the cost share are paid to the doctor. The tech and the equipment come to the office.

Just another form of generating revenue? (in my opinion)

pagandeva2000, LPN

Specializes in Community Health, Med-Surg, Home Health.

I'm convinced...I entered into the wrong area in health care. I need to obtain some equipment, charge ridiculous sums of money and relax than be a nurse. I remember they charged close to $100 to place a pulse ox on my son's finger. Outrageous!

Jolie, BSN

Specializes in Maternal - Child Health. Has 35 years experience.

We have a high-deductible policy as well. Most years, if everyone is relatively healthy we do not meet it, meaning that virtually everything comes out of pocket. We budget for this and deposit money in a Flexible Spending Account every pay day so that we have money set aside for health care expenses and can meet the deductible if needed.

Whenever we have a medical expense that is not emergent in nature (office visit, labs, x-rays, MRI, etc.) I ask up front if I can negotiate a price. In exchange for a significant discount, I promise payment as soon as results are received. I have never had a provider decline to work with me, and have received discounts even lower than the "insurance" discount, because I pay quickly.

Even when we've had rare ER visits, I call the billing manager the next day and try to work something out. The smallest discount I've gotten is 10%.

I would suggest that you and your friend consider this approach if there are tests that you really need to have done.

Best to you.

FireStarterRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in LTC, Med/Surg, Peds, ICU, Tele. Has 15 years experience.

Cost of a new Echo machine is $100,000

Definitely smart to drum up business to pay for it!

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20071209152015AAchCGI

The cost of an ultrasound machine can vary depending on the software packages, manufacturers, the number of transducers and whether or not its new or used/refurbished. My instructor currently has budgeted $100,000USD for a brand new machine but you might be able to obtain one from much less.

There are several manufactures of echo machines including Phillips, Agilent, Biosound, Siemens, and GE. Many manufactures have machines that are refurbished or one that are demo machines at a reduced cost. I would do a web search on these manufacturers and request quotes.

If you are looking for one that is of lower cost, my instructor says that the Biosound machines are popular in Europe and other countries because they are a lower cost pieces of equipment.

FireStarterRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in LTC, Med/Surg, Peds, ICU, Tele. Has 15 years experience.

So, with an investment of $100,000, if you can do 10 echos and day at $900 a pop, you would be grossing $9,000 daily. You would have to pay an echo tech, plus an unreasonably outrageous fee to have a doctor interpret the echos. Still, I think you could make an extremely comfortable living and afford very nice vacations.

FireStarterRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in LTC, Med/Surg, Peds, ICU, Tele. Has 15 years experience.

You could provide a nice kickback to all the doctors who send patients your way! ;) That would be a part of your operating costs. :up:

nursej22, MSN, RN

Specializes in med/surg,CV. Has 36 years experience.

A major portion of any medical bill goes to the clerical staff who process the claims/and or bills. Different insurers (including medicare/medicaid) require different forms and documentation adding to costs. This is one argument for a single payor system--to cut down on clerical costs.

DH finally went in to his family doc this year. It took 4 months, several phone calls including a conference call between the insurance company, the billing office and myself, and 3 trips to office with his insurance card to getting the claim properly submitted. The office kept submitting the claim to the wrong insurer and then kept telling me his card was invalid.

And they had the audacity to add a service charge to the unpaid balance after 30 days!

2 years ago my son needed major dental surgery. I had signed up for $4000 for my medical spending account to pay for deductibles and co-pay. Surgery was in February, hospital didn't submit bill until October (I kept calling every month!). Insurance paid at the end of December. Medical spending account wasn't going to release any money because I turned in my claim after the 1st of the year. I was able to get a "special dispensation" but only after jumping through a few more hoops.

Lorie P.

Specializes in Med/Surge, Private Duty Peds.

How about a 900.00 chest x-ray?

Sorry guys, but I can get a complete physical that takes most of the day and includes all the labs, xrays, ECG, treadmill, ECHO, pulmonary function, dental, hearing, vision, diet counseling, abd U/S, consults with about six doctors, etc for about $180 USD. I can then take all that to any doctor if I didn't like the ones around here.

So, with an investment of $100,000, if you can do 10 echos and day at $900 a pop, you would be grossing $9,000 daily. You would have to pay an echo tech, plus an unreasonably outrageous fee to have a doctor interpret the echos. Still, I think you could make an extremely comfortable living and afford very nice vacations.

'Course, the insurance co and medicare aren't paying any $900/ echo. More like $150, $200 maybe. It's the people who haven't got the coverage who get scr----. Always a good idea to negotiate ahead of time if you can, like a prev. poster said.

catshowlady

Specializes in ICU.

I had an echo done on my cat - cost? $250.

Went to the ER when I twisted my ankle at work (partly because they shafted me when I hurt my back at work) - they billed (themselves) $110 FOR AN ACE WRAP.

canoehead, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 30 years experience.

Well, according to an itemized breakdown of my ER bill, I was billed $600 just to start my IV in the ER. Then more was added on top of that for the NS. The total bill was for $2300 just for six hours in the hallway in the ER. No radiology. No ECG. Nothing else but CBC and electrolytes, IV with NS, Zofran, and a potassium pill.

It's billing by thievery. It's over-billing to make up for society's malcontents who never pay.

In my old ER billing system having an IV at all would automatically place you as a level 4 (out of 5) in the billing structure. They assume that if you have an IV you are of a certain acuity, and bill accordingly. A level 1 was $100 base charge, and with each level the charge doubled. Just for the bed, no pills, no MD exam, no tests.

A few years ago I paid $1000 for a scheduled CT, and I happened to have exactly $1000 deductible on my insurance, lucky me.

Oz2

Specializes in rehab, long-term care, ortho. Has 2 years experience.

Our system of healthcare is broken. No other "free market" business would get away with what insurance companies (and hospitals for that matter) get away with.

THAT Nurse., MSN, RN, APRN

Specializes in Family Practice/Primary Care. Has 14 years experience.

Only 900 for an Echo?

I had one done a few years ago, when I was considerably more ignorant about things, and depended on the physician referral (and, funny to look at now, I work for this company now). I really wish I had asked about the price.

It was over $2000. For an echo. Insurance considered unnecessary, and did not pay a cent. I was slightly miffed. The facility that performed the echo found out insurance was not paying, and before I even got the bill slashed the price in half, calling it a private pay discount. Still cost me over a grand (I paid it, I always pay my bills, and in this case I learned a LOT about getting prices first!)

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