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Old 10-22-2014, 03:10 PM
 
Location: Pasadena, CA
363 posts, read 391,384 times
Reputation: 400

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We have PPO coverage through my husband's employer, but I just found out that while it has generous coverage for in-network providers, there is no out-of-network coverage whatsoever, including emergencies. In mid-September, my 15 year-old son was transported by ambulance to LAC+USC Medical Center, because he hit his head during a high school football game. The coach made this decision, because he was unable to reach me. My husband and I met our son at the hospital within an hour.

While our son at the hospital, he had a five-minute concussion examination by one of the ER docs. There were no additional tests/scans/medication given. We were surprised to see that the doctor said that he did not have a concussion (he actually did). We thanked him and went on our way.

We have already received a $1,400 bill for the ambulance ride. Does anyone have any idea of how much that five minute examination will cost us? We have no choice but to pay for this in cash, but I'd like to have some idea of how much to set aside for this ER visit. Any help would be greatly appreciated
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Old 10-23-2014, 12:20 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles
221 posts, read 277,775 times
Reputation: 203
I have no real idea, and no baseline comparison for the LA region. If it helps at all, the ER bill for my ex-husband to get a hand x-ray, pain meds, and stitching in 2008 in Washington State was $3000. He was there perhaps a couple of hours, of which maybe 30 minutes were actually treating him.
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Old 10-23-2014, 06:34 AM
 
Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
6,203 posts, read 15,010,458 times
Reputation: 7951
Voyageuse, I don't know how much the bill will be, but sometimes there are advocates who can help you knock the bill down from, say, $5,000 to maybe $3,500. Every little bit helps!

I found this article which might help:

7 Tips For Fighting And Paying A Big Hospital Bill - Forbes

I also found this:

Advocates of Accurate Medical Billing - Get a Medical Bill Review : MBAA

Good luck!
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Old 10-23-2014, 09:09 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles
221 posts, read 277,775 times
Reputation: 203
Oh, also -- most of the time the bill can be knocked down *considerably* if you pay cash. Talk to someone in the billing department and negotiate the bill down. If you have lower income, also apply for a reduction of fees using that avenue.
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Old 10-23-2014, 10:10 AM
jw2
 
2,028 posts, read 2,485,427 times
Reputation: 3345
How about contacting the high school and see if their insurance will pay?
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Old 10-23-2014, 12:34 PM
 
Location: Pasadena, CA
363 posts, read 391,384 times
Reputation: 400
Wow, these responses are all VERY helpful! Thank you all so much.

My younger son (13) ended up in the ER back in July. He and his brother were chasing each other in the house and he got impaled on a door handle. He fractured his ribs, bruised his lung and ended ups with a pneumothorax. Two sets of X-Rays, a CT scan and overnight hospital stay later, the bill came to $17K. Since I took him to an in-network hospital, our out-of-pocket came to $1.2K.

I'm budgeting for my 15 year-old's ER visit to come in at about the same (for planning purposes), but I'm thinking that it may be closer to $5K, since no tests were run. I will absolutely heed all of the suggestions given and try every avenue to reduce the bill. Thank you again!
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Old 10-23-2014, 01:17 PM
 
Location: OC/LA
3,831 posts, read 3,491,792 times
Reputation: 2214
Quote:
Originally Posted by Voyageuse View Post
Wow, these responses are all VERY helpful! Thank you all so much.

My younger son (13) ended up in the ER back in July. He and his brother were chasing each other in the house and he got impaled on a door handle. He fractured his ribs, bruised his lung and ended ups with a pneumothorax. Two sets of X-Rays, a CT scan and overnight hospital stay later, the bill came to $17K. Since I took him to an in-network hospital, our out-of-pocket came to $1.2K.

I'm budgeting for my 15 year-old's ER visit to come in at about the same (for planning purposes), but I'm thinking that it may be closer to $5K, since no tests were run. I will absolutely heed all of the suggestions given and try every avenue to reduce the bill. Thank you again!
Impaled on a door handle
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Old 10-23-2014, 03:42 PM
 
536 posts, read 525,214 times
Reputation: 946
Check out the series of short articles below from the LA Times in 2012 about the ridiculously arbitrary way ER charges are calculated and how you can reduce the cost. Supports the negotiation of a deep discount when you pay cash. Would you mind posting the progress/results? It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

An emergency room story to make anyone ill - Los Angeles Times
The bizarre calculus of emergency room charges - Los Angeles Times
Many hospitals, doctors offer cash discount for medical bills - Los Angeles Times
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Old 10-23-2014, 08:36 PM
 
Location: Pasadena, CA
363 posts, read 391,384 times
Reputation: 400
Quote:
Originally Posted by HyperionGap View Post
Impaled on a door handle
I know, right? The door handle went right through his armpit and bruised his lung. Boys. it's like I always say, "It's fun until someone gets hurt."
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Old 10-24-2014, 08:15 PM
 
Location: Southern California
965 posts, read 1,011,255 times
Reputation: 2280
While you're at it, give the ambulance company a call to negotiate their bill. An insurance company is not going to pay the billed amount, and you shouldn't either. Even if it was a City or County ambulance, you should call them. Good luck.
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