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Emergency Room Overcharges Complaints Outrageous but True

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LawyersandSettlements has received some emergency room overcharge complaints so outrageous they seem fictional: sadly they are true.

Santa Clara, CAMany emergency room overcharges complaints submitted to LawyersandSettlements are so outrageous they seem fictional. Sadly, they are true. In each complaint below, the patient’s bill isn’t even close to the “going rate”.

Ted, an Arizona man, was charged $33,000 for a visit to the emergency room that, for the most part, took place in a waiting room. He complained of abdominal pain and, after waiting for hours, had a CT scan to the tune of $18,000. (A quick online search reveals that CT scan costs in Arizona range between $668 and $6000 based on a pricing information analysis of 58 medical providers in the state. Cash patients pay as little as $220 - $595.)

He was charged over $5,000 in “emergency room fees”, when he did not even get a private room. “I am considering legal action because I don’t believe this hospital should be allowed to do this and I don’t want anyone else to have to go through what I have gone through,” he writes in an email.

Shannon also underwent an abdominal CT Scan, thinking she had appendicitis. She was charged exactly $12,002.50— just for the scan. The ER billing department won’t reveal the listed cost for this service but another ER in her city said it would charge $270 for this particular CT Scan.

Ursula’s GP ordered blood tests, to be taken at Garden City Hospital, Michigan. Her husband Ari told LawyersandSettlements that they gave the hospital their insurance information, only to be denied the claim. “We received a letter in the mail a few weeks later, with a bill for $2,000,” he says. “These blood tests do not cost more than $150 based on the pricing estimates at nearby hospitals and medical centers.”

Steven’s arm was punctured with a rusty nail and left a deep gash. Nursing care at the ER consisted of two prescriptions for antibiotics and his vital signs at discharge. Steven says the wound was not even cleaned – the MD just gave it a squeeze. For those services he was charged $1,000 (minus a $300 discount) for ER services and a separate doctor bill of $683.00.

Take another online search for “emergency room overcharges” and BuzzFeed.com also has similar “ridiculous” and “upsetting” submissions. Here are two:
"My husband ran into a wall in the dark and busted his forehead open. The cut was pretty deep, so we went to the ER. He spent 10 minutes with the doc and got three stitches. The bill? $3,000. That's $300/minute, $1,000 per stitch. WTF?"

"I was told that I had to make an appointment to get a medication refill for a med that I’ve been on for years. I had a 15-minute PHONE CALL appointment and just got a bill for $511.70. I called to see if the bill was correct, and they said that they couldn’t change the appointment tier 'because the doctor took so many notes.' Not to mention the fact that I had been unemployed for three months due to COVID. The US healthcare system is an absolute joke."

Fortunately, there is legal help available.

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