In 2013, Court TV founder Stephen Brill wrote a 26,000 word Time Magazine cover article addressing the question of why our medical bills are so high. One finding, which was not surprising to personal injury lawyers, was that there was no uniform cost for a particular medical treatment or service. (Lawyers of a certain age will remember when the measure of medical damages in a personal injury case was the “reasonable value of the service”). What you pay for your MRI or knee replacement depends on who does the paying. Medical Assistance, Medicare, first party auto benefits, workers’ compensation, private health insurance, they all pay a different amount, almost always much less than the “list price” of the service. The ones who really lose out? The folks who have poor insurance, or, heaven forbid, no insurance. They pay more, sometimes orders of magnitude more, than anyone else.
Brill also discusses the difficulty of determining in advance what a particular procedure will cost. Now there are some websites that may help. These include Clearhealthcosts.com, HealthCare Blue Book and PricingHealthCare. These mainly focus on health care pricing in larger cities, and have limited use at present for folks in Berks County. However, I did find a few prices for procedures in the Reading area. Hopefully, these sites will expand their geographic coverage to include smaller communities such as Reading Berks. Until then, they could still be helpful. You shouldn’t have to pay more in Reading for a procedure than someone pays in Philadelphia. If you don’t have good health insurance, you might want to check them out.
From the desk of Edward E. Houseman, attorney for Liever, Hyman & Potter, P.C., serving Eastern and Central Pennsylvania, including Berks , Schuylkill, Chester, Montgomery, Lebanon County and other areas in the practice of personal injury law.