One guy’s time at a North Carolina hospital shows everything wrong with the healthcare system

By 01.29.14

The healthcare system in the U.S. has a lot of problems that politicians have tried to address. But the story of one North Carolina man afflicted with a snakebite shows everything wrong with the whole system.

Eric Ferguson, 54, went to Mooresvile, NC’s Lake Norman Regional Center for treatment after receiving a bite from a snake while taking out the garbage at their home.

hospital

Hospital photo by Shutterstock


Ferguson said the treatment he received at the hospital was great. But the bill? Not so much.

According to the Charlotte Observer, Ferguson was hit with an $81,000 bill for the short stay and four vials of antivenom.

But it gets worse: Ferguson’s wife searched online for the antivenom Eric received. The cost? A mere $750.

Though the hospital lowered the bill to $20,227 per an agreement with Ferguson’s insurance, he still had to pay $5,400 out of pocket for the deductible and co-pay.

The hospital defended its practices by turning the blame elsewhere, of course.

“Hospitals only collect a small percentage of our charges, or ‘list prices,’” a hospital spokesperson told the Observer. “We are required to give Medicare one level of discount from list price, Medicaid another, and private insurers negotiate for still others.

“If we did not start with the list prices we have, we would not end up with enough revenue to remain in operation. Our costs for providing uncompensated care are partially covered by higher bills for other patients.”

So basically, their defense is that they have a terrible system because the larger system is broken and basically some people have to get screwed in order for them to not screw over others quite as much. Makes total sense except for the part where it makes no sense at all.


TAGSHealth insuranceHealthcareNewsSnakesWTF

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