Here we are in a small town in New Mexico and I have been sick for three or four days with a terrible headache, stuffy nose, chesty cough, feeling exhausted and weak etc. I thought I could just kick the bug myself but I was getting worse and worse, and realised that no, I needed an antibiotic. So we found the medical center (at the local hospital) and in I went to see the doctor. He prescribed the antibiotic as he was worried it might turn into pneumonia. Then I went to pay at the desk and the bill was $180.00! OK, I was expecting it to be expensive, but that much? We don't have insurance or social security numbers as we are not from the USA. Does this have anything to do with it? Or is this just the standard price for out of town folk? They told me it would cost the same for kids. My son has a bit of a cough so I am praying madly that no one else gets this bug because we can't afford that. We have travel insurance but it doesn't cover doctors. Also, can you get antibiotics over the counter at a pharmacy without a doctor's prescription? And, is there any way to avoid paying so much for a doctor?
Posted 2011-01-25 10:42 AM (#5848 - in reply to #5845) Subject: Re: Horrendous doctor's bills = questions
Bumping the thread in case others have suggestions. We fortunately rarely get sick and never go to the doctor, so I really don't know prices or how to get them lower, sorry!
Posted 2011-01-25 2:45 PM (#5850 - in reply to #5845) Subject: Re: Horrendous doctor's bills = questions
pnk are you one of them spoiled Canadians?
Yes, I'm afraid that that is a pretty typical bill in the US. We recently went for checkups and had to pay cash in advance since we don't carry insurance. (Don't remember the exact amount but it was in the hundreds). They wanted to run blood tests but we opted out once we found out there was an additional charge and felt they were unnecessary. The doctor visit alone was odd, she saw both of us at the same time, asked some questions and sent us on our way. There was no real "exam". And then we got a bill for who-knows-what to top it off. We are US citizens so, no your experience has nothing to do with not having SS#s or anything like that. Sometimes you can find healthcare for less, sometimes more. I still think if you are reasonably healthy you are better off paying out of pocket. We do pick up dental insurance before we make dentist appointments which pays for itself and helps some of the expenses. I don't have the details though as my hubby takes care of all of that.
Posted 2011-01-25 7:03 PM (#5864 - in reply to #5845) Subject: Re: Horrendous doctor's bills = questions
Hi Kimberley. No actually we are from New Zealand. Over there you can pay $55.00 at an expensive place, but our local place was only $27.50 for a doctor's appointment. Also, kids under 6 are free! That is because they don't want people to hold back on taking their kids to the doctor when they need it. The systems must be quite different here. Lesson learnt. Our boy is still coughing a bit so I am still praying madly that he gets better without a doctor visit. I am on the mend now though, so it was obviously necessary for me to go.
Posted 2011-01-25 7:08 PM (#5865 - in reply to #5864) Subject: Re: Horrendous doctor's bills = questions
I need to move to New Zealand! Hope you all feel better soon!
Posted 2011-01-25 8:54 PM (#5866 - in reply to #5845) Subject: Re: Horrendous doctor's bills = questions
I don't know about nowadays, but it used to be around $50.00 a visit to get the good ole "pink medicine" for the kids. I have no clue if I went to an unknown doctor these days!
Posted 2011-01-28 11:00 AM (#5873 - in reply to #5866) Subject: Re: Horrendous doctor's bills = questions
Yikes! Doctor's usually charge a "new patient" charge on top of their office visits. We found that out when visiting urgent care facilities. On the road, to any doctor you visit you would be a new patient!!! Some Walgreens now have urgent cares in them and would probably be less expensive.
We dodged a huge bullet this time around. We've been back in CA, our state of residence, and so signed our kids up for their Healthy Families program. The week after we received our insurance cards in the mail, my daughter had appendicitus! Thanks to the insurance it cost me nothing. I just received our "explanation of benefits" which shows the actual cost of this little hospital trip - over $30,000!!!!!! And that does not even include some of the specialists & lab work that was neccessary. I am so grateful for the insurance. Was questioning why we were dragged back to CA and stuck here for the time being, when I am so anxious to be on the road again...maybe this is the reason. I would have been a lot more hesitant to take her to the hospital if we hadn't had insurance for her. I am thankful I wasn't. The time we arrived at the ER till she was wheeled in for surgery was only 2 hours, and that whole time was frantic with activity, blood work, exams, IVs etc. She didn't rupture, but had I waited a couple more hours she may have.
If it is a true emergency, hospitals can not turn you away. They will work out payment plans or write off a portion to all of the bill depending on your income.
Posted 2011-01-29 6:33 PM (#5887 - in reply to #5873) Subject: Re: Horrendous doctor's bills = questions
Joyfull, I am so glad that it worked out for the best for you! Give your little girl a hug from our family and hope she gets better REAL soon!
Posted 2011-01-29 9:35 PM (#5891 - in reply to #5887) Subject: Re: Horrendous doctor's bills = questions
thanks Colleen and I will give her a hug from you guys! She is fine. It was a few weeks ago and she is back to her self again. I do think she is having blood sugar issues, so once again I am grateful for the insurance. It never ceases to amaze me, how when I think something is taking me totally off the course I want to be on, it ends up being right where I need to be!
Posted 2011-01-30 2:22 PM (#5892 - in reply to #5891) Subject: Re: Horrendous doctor's bills = questions
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I ~believe~ that if you are a US Citizen and have an emergency & are hospitalized, (and have children under the age of adulthood in the household) there is (there used to be) an emergency medical assistance program, like "Medical" that you can apply for on the spot. I don't know in this day and age, and economic uncertainty if they have discontinued it, but would be worth knowing....
Posted 2011-01-30 5:17 PM (#5894 - in reply to #5845) Subject: Re: Horrendous doctor's bills = questions
I'm not sure. I have heard of things like that, and I am sure it is income based, but not sure. My oldest son is a full time college student and he qualified for medical, however it has not been an "on he spot" process. It has been very time consuming to get him enrolled. And medical insurance is a requirement for him to be in college. If he does not have it, he has to pay $400 a semester for the schools "insurance"!
Posted 2011-01-30 5:58 PM (#5895 - in reply to #5845) Subject: Re: Horrendous doctor's bills = questions
That very well could be. The only reason I knew anything about it, was when I was 10, my mom's backbone collapsed from toumers that were quickly diagnosed as stage 4 bone cancer. Because I was an underage minor, and my parents were self employed, she was able to get all the medical help and medicines she needed, and it didn't cost us the home, or the business, or anything. This was in So. Cal. BIG difference than a cold, but we were grateful that there was something.... Like I said, that was 1980's. LONG ago.
Since I've highjacked the thread... PNK... Are you feeling any better??? It didn't turn into Pnumonia did it?
The only way we've been able to get a lesser prescription fee is to send the prescription from the doctor to a place in Canada, but the shipping is a real challenge if it is a regularly prescribed med.
Posted 2011-02-01 10:00 AM (#5896 - in reply to #5845) Subject: Re: Horrendous doctor's bills = questions
Me too, I hope you and your soon are doing better PNK!!!
We were so fortunate, the whole time we were traveling around without insurance, we never once needed medical care. We were very careful with our diet & I made sure we took immune boosters & supplements.
Utah seems to be a place where you can get inexpensive dental care. While we were staying there, the kids an I had cleanings, exams & floride treatments- 4 of us for $105 total. They had some sort of new patient special, plus added on coupons for us. I did have 2 kids with cavities, so that cost us a bit...however the dentist gave us every discount he could, so it ended up being about half of the original quote! That has never happened in CA!
Posted 2011-02-01 4:30 PM (#5901 - in reply to #5896) Subject: Re: Horrendous doctor's bills = questions
joyfull - 2011-02-01 12:00 PM
............. I did have 2 kids with cavities, so that cost us a bit...however the dentist gave us every discount he could, so it ended up being about half of the original quote!
.............That has never happened in CA![/QUOTE]
Nor will you!!! We just ran back to Ca to see our dentist. DH had insurance until 1-31. 2 kids had 2 small cavities. I had a couple. Hubby had 1. Exams, x-rays, sealants for our 12 year old, 1 jammed baby tooth extraction, Cleanings and all... I think they billed the insurance out close to $7,000.00!!!! We paid nearly $500.00 in co pays.
I'm interested in which dentist you guys saw, because I can assure you that we simply can't go in and pay cash here unless we win the lotto. :(
Posted 2011-02-01 6:43 PM (#5903 - in reply to #5845) Subject: Re: Horrendous doctor's bills = questions
We are unfortunately not US citizens, so any benefits etc won't apply. Our travel insurance only covers emergencies (including dental) so doctors visits don't count. I still have a chesty cough and my husband now has a rotten headcold. Our eldest son also. The youngest seems to be improving and the middle is so far fine. Will keep praying as it is not much fun being sick, in the cold, in a trailer! The downside, I guess.
Posted 2011-02-05 9:29 AM (#5916 - in reply to #5845) Subject: Re: Horrendous doctor's bills = questions
Canyon River Dental
3707 North Canyon Road Suite 7D
Provo, Utah 84604
They were running a summer special, but that still doesn't account for the cavitie being so cheap. I paid less than $500 for 4 cleanings, 4 sets of exrays, 3 floride treatments & 3 cavites - one pretty big. They also let me in the room with the kids, and allowed the kids who were not in the chair to watch the others get their fillings. He heard my yunger daughter wants to be a vet, so he spent a lot of time going over the procedure step by step. Pretty cool!
Posted 2012-05-28 4:05 PM (#7468 - in reply to #5845) Subject: Re: Horrendous doctor's bills = questions
Publix (a grocery store chain in the south) fills some Rx's for free. most anitbiotics, plus a few other things, and some of the other stores are starting to do it aw well.
Posted 2012-07-27 10:34 PM (#7589 - in reply to #5845) Subject: Re: Horrendous doctor's bills = questions
I had a ruptured appendix this year. It was about 3 weeks after we bought our RV and at our first stop on the road.
My bill is $45K+. I also have all the other extra bills for the various people that aren't included. I am expected to pay 20% aka $9700! 4 months later my insurance is still trying to settle things, they have refused some charges from this hospital saying they are "excess of usual and customary."
This was in Corsicana, TX. I'd probably avoid that hospital if $$$ is a concern. )
Posted 2012-08-08 4:20 PM (#7598 - in reply to #7589) Subject: Re: Horrendous doctor's bills = questions
So sorry! We've dealt with similar medical bills I had my gallbladder removed while I was uninsured the bill was outrageous. The nice thing was the hospital wrote off their entire bill and I was able to negotiate the other bills also. Since you have insurance I would ask each place you are receiving bills from if they have any charity funds or ability to reduce your bill - especially since they have been paid something from your insurance they maybe more willing to reduce or eliminate your deductible amount. The hospital though should be the most helpful as they receive government funding for specific programs. It is alot of work and followup but if money is an issue than time well spent. Hopefully there won't be anything else anytime soon.
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