T Nation

Huge Bill...possible?


Could this even be possible:

My wife had an ultrasound of her breast due to a lump found on her mammogram. The bill for the ultrasound (done at a clinic) was $60.00.

Her doctor doesn't like the results and sends her to a "Cancer Center" for another breast ultrasound. The bill for this ultrasound? A whopping $730.00! My wife told me it was nothing special, just the same type of ultrasound they did at the clinic.

Does this even sound right? Any feedback is appreciated before I call them and start raising holy hell. Thanks!

BTW...my wife is OK. The lump turned out to be a cyst.


Do you have insurance? They do funny things with the billing as it relates to insurance versus cash.

My son crashed his dirt bike and spent a night in the hospital with a fractured radius and ulna and a concussion once. Being a dumbass teenager he didn't fill out the accident report they sent him and so the claim was denied. The bills started showing up. They totalled about $13K.

I asked my doc, "WTF Mary?". She said it sounded a bit high, like just over double what you'd expect...which ironically is about what I expected. I flew in a helicopter, spent three days in the hospital, had an endoscopic exam, and got released for less money. The bird cost $3500 in case you're wondering. Anyway my son called the insurance company (he's 18 and if he is too lazy to fill out the paperwork I sure as fuck wasn't paying the $13K) and got them to send him a new form. He filled it out and the bills got paid. Not $13K worth of bills though. There were adjustments and this and that and the HMO ended up writing a check for just over $4K...about what I thought it would have really cost.

I think there is some funny tax shit going on. They bill high, settle lower, and write the rest off as a loss or something. It's just a guess though.


My bill looks mighty small in comparison, but I cannot believe that an ultrasound at another outfit can possible cost over 10x more than the previous outfit.

My insurance sucks. It has a $1000.00 deductible before it starts paying at 80%...and it costs me $200.00 a month for this shitty coverage. I bitched and bitched when this plan was forced on us (all the way to the VP of HR), but nothing happened...and none of my co-workers would say a word...justlike they were all happy with the fucking they just got.

I'll let you know how this turns out. Thanks!


Ah! its so nice to live in Canada, where health care is free...


And slow. Every time I travel up there the paper has another article about cutbacks, waiting, and some services you have to travel miles to get when they finally tell you it's your turn. No thanks.

Our system isn't perfect but most of us can see a doctor and even schedule surgery with realtive ease and not suffer in pain for 6 months waiting for an OR to be available.


Are you sure that the first ultrasound was really $60? Often you will get a seperate bill from the radiologists i.e. they are charging you $60 to interpret the ultrasound, and then seperately you will get the several hundred dollar bill from the hospital for performing the ultrasound.


YES!!!! It's possible I have bill's where my insurance company still have to pay on, when I went through cancer treatments close to $28,000 and I am still waiting on the insurance company to pay for it.

In Health,




Yes. Both the Canadian and American health care systems are completely fucked, but for totally different reasons.

Socialized medicine is one of those things that sounds nice, but turns out to be kinda shitty. It also works better the smaller your country is.

On the other hand, anyone else think that it's kind of fucked up that they show ads for prescription medication on television in the US?

Dan "fucked" McVicker


Prices vary from one facility to the next. Different facilities charge different prices and it can be influenced by the area where you live,and if it is a big hospital or a small specialized clinic. The clinic probably sent her to the cancer center because they possibly have better techs and a better radiologist who are used to looking for and treating cancer specifically. Just a guess. They don't have a magic breast cancer ultrsound machine so it is basically the same procedure. $60 seems really low for an ultrasound and reading, and $700 sounds a bit high. There is only one hospital in my area and they would charge somewhere in the $300 dollar range, but it could be four or five. It just depends. Since you are basically paying out of pocket they are not goint to give you a break like they would an insurance company. They probably just think they are worth that much and thus charge it. You can try to bargain, it can't hurt. At least it's not a nuclear medicine scan or CT scan. Ultrasound is actually on the cheap side.


Our system may be slow for some procedure such as heart surgery and getting an MRI but I'll give you an example: when I went to get my elbow operated on I got to even pick the date of the surgery - just convienient enough - I was able to get the date for the day after my birthday and two days after my last exam.

Also speaking from a Nurses perspective how would you feel if there was a patient who came into the hospital but didn't have insurance and you had to be the one to tell them they would have to leave! I could never do this and that is one of the reasons why, despite endless recruitment letters and offers I will never work in the states.

I am not saying our system is perfect, Its far from it, but I am saying there is definitely advantages to public health care where we believe in equal access for all no matter where you live weather its Nunuvut or Winnipeg, and where the amount of money you make doesn't determine what place in line you get or how well your treatments will be. P-22