The insurance or the hospital?

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By The Staff

Dear Editor,

One does not usually pay much attention to the absurdity of the health system until the insurance stops covering the bills. Some time ago, the company I work for switched to a less-inclusive health insurance plan because the increasing costs of the original coverage. As a result, a 50-minute visit to the LAMC emergency room with a sprained ankle last month cost us more than $900.

The visit included an X-ray, the application of a splint and a pair of crutches. Just for being there, we were charged close to $300. The application of the splint, which is a plastic device with Velcro straps that takes anybody less than a minute to apply, cost $133.

We were very pleased with the treatment, which was very professional and courteous – until we got the bill, that is. It would have been inappropriate if I had been asking the doctor the price of various items and procedures and yet I wish I had, which would have made it look like I had come there for shopping.

I am not sure whom to blame – the hospital or the insurance company, but I am sure this is not right. I can’t even imagine how people with even worse or no insurance coverage, lesser income and bigger families deal with the health system in this country.

Michael Barkhudarov

Los Alamos