When you get a bill after visiting a clinic or hospital, you may or may not see an itemized list of all the costs. Let’s say you spent a couple of nights at the hospital; in this case, there is a chance that you may get separate bills for the inpatient care received and for the services rendered by a physician. The hospital bill is bound to have more items than the doctor’s bill; this will depend on the rules established by the state insurance regulator and consumer advocacy entity, but there are other costs that you may not see because they are built right into the items listed on the bill. Here are three examples of these costs:
Medical Systems Components
If your hospital visit required intravenous therapy, the costs of the needle, catheter, tubing, and fluid administered will be reflected on the amount you are being billed; these are medical systems components that may be used in various clinical settings.
Examples of pharmacy system components include vial adaptors, syringes, and mist flow regulators. Patient care components may include IV tubing, plugs, and connectors.
When you go to a specialist, whether you made an appointment on your own, or through a referral from your insurance company network, the cost of keeping medical support personnel on salary will be reflected on your bill even if it is not itemized. Some examples in this regard include front office medical assistants, nurses, technicians, and clerks.
With the above in mind, you can safely assume that hospital bills take into consideration their payrolls, which may extend beyond medical staff. Security guards, housekeeping staff and patient counselors may figure in the billing calculations. The cost of the billing process itself is rarely passed onto patients; this is an expense that medical facilities regularly absorb on their own.
Ancillary Procedures and Services
Even though surgeries are often billed as a single item, they frequently require other procedures that are not always of a surgical nature. If you undergo dental surgery, for example, a periodontal procedure may need to be performed by a specialist who may or may not be directly associated with the clinic.
If your hospital stay required physical therapy sessions, you may not get a separate bill if the therapist is on the payroll of the hospital, but the cost of the sessions will be factored into the bill.
In the end, the world of medical billing is more complex than most people think, and the costs involved in keeping us healthy will not always be itemized.