How could a patient be charged $154 for a neck brace worth $20? Or pay $137 for an IV bag worth less than $1? The answer lies in both a secret book and the history of medical billing, explains comedian Adam Conover in his show “Adam Ruins Everything.”
“American hospitals overcharge patients massively,” observes Conover in an episode titled “Adam Ruins the Hospital.” For those still willing to defend America’s health care system, it will prove a wakeup call, although anyone who has been overcharged or undercared-for has likely experienced it already.
“The Chargemaster is a secret document full of insane prices that hospitals use to charge us whatever they want,” he continues.
The Chargemaster was a byproduct of insurance companies’ rise, which made billing more “complicated” as they demanded big discounts from hospitals. Hence the enormously inflated prices.
“The rub, of course, lies in if you are uninsured,” Conover points out. “If you don’t have insurance, you actually get charged these ‘fake’ prices!”