Anderson Area Medical Center / Price discrimination
I went to AnMed for a procedure in August, 2006. Being uninsured I had no clue what was about to happen. I received a bill for $38,725.85 for a stay of less than 24 hrs.
The stent that was used cost the hospital around $3,000 (to the best of my knowledge) and they charged me $16,919.00. Not a bad profit margin. After doing some investigation on my own and with the help of hospitalvictims.com, I discovered that medicare would have paid approx. $7,336.00 and private insurance would have paid approx. $9,170.00. We went back and forth with the CFO trying to negotiate this down. This went on for a couple of months. On November 22, the CFO wrote me a letter stating if I paid in full (sounds like extortion to me) by December 31, 2006 they would discount the bill by 30% (insurance carriers got about a 75% discount). This means its still about $15,000 too high. In a previous letter that he wrote to Congressman Barrett on November 16, 2006 who wrote to the CFO on my behalf, the CFO (in his politically correct letter)said that I had 60 days (which would have made it January 16, 2007). With that information, I sent AnMed a good faith check in the amount of $11,463.44. I indicated that this was the undisputed portion of my bill. I assumed I could contiue to negotiate the balance. My previous offers of $15,000.00 and $18,000.00 were rejected. My payment of $11,463.44 reflected the reimbursement private insurance would have paid PLUS an extra 25%. Two weeks later, they had not deposited the check. On December 15, 2006 they filed a civil action against me and then returned my check. What happened to December 31st and January 16th. I guess they just couldn't wait to sink their teeth into me. Apparently they are not going to budge, and neither am I. In fact, my physician called the hospital CEO who indicated they were holding their position and when my physician stated that AnMed was going to be alot of bad publicity, the CEO didn't care! Talk about arrogant!
Just a word of caution....if you are uninsured and need hospital care, INSIST on getting the prices first. Excluding an emergency situation, instead of doing the things you need to do to get well, you'll being stressing over the aggressive collection efforts of hospitals! There are many class action lawsuits across the country that allege that hospitals are actively practicing price discrimination and AnMed is one of those class actions. If you look at the lawsuits AnMed has filed against patients (some as little as $300), I wonder how they have time to do what they're supposed to do.....deliver health care, not subpoenas!