One of the things you learn with this disease is that some days the best thing you can do is create a spreadsheet. I've kept all my medical bills so far and so have a pretty good record of what things cost - or do I?
As I read the 30+ invoices I have received since I started talking to doctors you see some interesting numbers; each bill has five lines.
- Amount billed by provider
- Amount Allowed
- Medicare Paid
- Amount paid by Supplement carrier (in my case Blue Shield)
- Patient Responsibility.
- Amount billed by providers - $76,641
- Amount Allowed - $16,727 (22%)
- Medicare Paid - $13,366
- Amount paid by Supplemental Carrier - $3,362
- Patient responsibility - $1,650
I am not in any way griping about the money I have been asked to pay. What intrigues me is that rarely in this process have I been presented with a real consumer choice like how much more effective is one procedure over another? The place where it did show was in a set of blood tests that a physician ordered where I was asked to pay for all of the tests (evidently they are not in the Medicare list of covered services).
I asked my nephew who works in health care consulting and he confirmed that the first number is made up - and that between Medicare and the supplemental carriers the amount paid is based on ultimately negotiated schedules.
Tomorrow I go for the second infusion. We will see how that goes.