Doctors, Hospitals Stinging Patients With New Charges
They get creative to offset falling insurance payments
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 27, 2014 3:34 AM CDT
Hospital visitors are being caught off guard with a host of new charges.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – With insurance companies cutting back on payments to health care providers, the providers are stinging patients—and thwarting efforts to keep health costs down—with multiple new and unexpected charges, Elisabeth Rosenthal at the New York Times finds in the latest of a series on health care costs. Among the people she spoke to:

  • A father who was surprised to find the $100 charge for his daughter's visits to a hospital psychologist paired with another $100 charge for use of the room she was treated in.

  • Parents who were charged a $1,400 "ER fee" for a brief visit to a room where they filled out some forms before the birth of their child.
  • A woman who was charged a $2,457 fee for "noncritical activation" of a trauma team after taking her stepdaughter to the hospital after a bicycle crash.
Other new fees often not covered by insurance include hefty "refraction fees" charged by ophthalmologists to assess vision, new charges for things like splints and surgical braces, and "administration charges" that can run into the thousands. A spokeswoman for the American Medical Billing Association industry group says providers may be "forced to charge" the extra fees because ObamaCare "has shifted so much responsibility for payment from insurers to patients."