Be more aware of medical billing practices

I recently had personal experience with the increasingly egregious problem of medical insurance bill padding. I can now see why American health care is widely regarded as the most expensive in the world.

In June, I visited a clinic for a simple tetanus shot. I had suffered an inconsequential scratch to my finger several days prior. This was self-treated with no persistent problems. However, the scratch had occurred while working in dirty conditions, and served to remind me that I had not gotten a tetanus booster in quite a few years.

I was pressured from the first to put this on insurance. I was assured by the receptionist and the nurse that a doctor’s visit was unnecessary for a simple booster. The doctor spent an entire three seconds glancing at this tiny scratch and assured me that a doctor’s visit was not warranted.

This three-second exam cost me $127 and the simple tetanus booster was billed to insurance for $240. In light of the upcoming changes in the national health-care insurance policies, it strikes me that practices such as I found could possibly be seen as the precursors of an increasingly blatant abuse of the system.

If all Americans are now required to carry insurance, and most are unmindful of the expenses as long as someone else is paying for them, then the opportunity for unscrupulous practices to grossly inflate the charges will always be available. This can only result in the increase in premiums for the public, while raking in increased profits for less-than-honest practices. I hope that this letter will serve to open the eyes of the public.

William J. Richardson


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