'They're charging whatever they think they can get away with' - New York News

'They're charging whatever they think they can get away with'

Posted: Updated:
TAMPA (FOX 13) -

As patients face rising health care costs, Pasco County resident Ed Frankovitch found a way to significantly reduce some of his bills. He is battling cancer, and says he is currently swamped in around $250,000 in medical debt.

"The treatments I'm going through are depressing enough, let alone the money aspects of it," Frankovitch said.

He was particularly concerned about the cost on an injection of medicine he received each month to counter the adverse effects of chemotherapy. Copies of his bills show at one clinic, that one injection cost more than $7,000. On another bill, it cost $9,000.

Then he went to a hospital, where the price shot up to nearly $19,000.

"That's just incredible, just outrageous," said Florida Consumer Action Network Executive Director Bill Newton. "There's just no basis for this pricing. They're charging whatever they think they can get away with."

Health care providers set their own prices, and patients don't usually even see the prices -- until they get the bills.

"By law, in most states, providers can charge whatever they wish for services," said USF Health Professor Dr. Jay Wolfson. "You've seen the gross variation in charges for the exact same service in our own community."

Ed Frankovitch is on Medicaid. So our government (i.e. taxpayers) can negotiate rates and pick up most of the tab for most of his bills. But for that one injection, Frankovitch personally owed around $750 per shot.

Then, he later discovered he could get the same injection from a pharmacy, where his costs dropped to $6.

Frankovitch hopes his experience will drive others to find similar ways to cut their bills. Just as insurance companies negotiate rates, patients can negotiate with providers over the bills they owe. Some billing advocates can help them spot charges that can be disputed and removed, or reduced.

While FOX 13 does not recommend or endorse any particular organization, Medical Billing Advocates of America (billadvocates.com) and ACAP --The Alliance of Claim Assistance Professionals (claims.org) -- are networks of billing advocates that offer billing advocacy services.

The more patients learn about their prices and options, the more they can save.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • 17,000 red light camera tickets dismissed

    17,000 red light camera tickets dismissed

    Friday, August 22 2014 7:39 AM EDT2014-08-22 11:39:23 GMT
    A technical glitch in a red light camera operating system means that some 17,000 motorists in New Jersey will not have to pay a fine for running red lights. Computer problems between May 28 and June 30 resulted in motorists not receiving notices of violations. New Jersey law requires that if a ticket hasn't been served within 90 days, it must be dismissed.
    A technical glitch in a red light camera operating system means that some 17,000 motorists in New Jersey will not have to pay a fine for running red lights. Computer problems between May 28 and June 30 resulted in motorists not receiving notices of violations. New Jersey law requires that if a ticket hasn't been served within 90 days, it must be dismissed.
  • Brooklyn Bridge flags back on US soil

    Brooklyn Bridge flags back on US soil

    Friday, August 22 2014 7:25 AM EDT2014-08-22 11:25:55 GMT
    Police say the two American flags swiped from the Brooklyn Bridge and replaced with faded white ones are back on U.S. soil. NYPD spokesman Sgt. Carlos Nieves said Friday that the flags are in the United States. He did not know their exact location. Two German artists claimed responsibility earlier this month for the July 22 stunt. 
    Police say the two American flags swiped from the Brooklyn Bridge and replaced with faded white ones are back on U.S. soil. NYPD spokesman Sgt. Carlos Nieves said Friday that the flags are in the United States. He did not know their exact location. Two German artists claimed responsibility earlier this month for the July 22 stunt. 
  • Garner's family meets U.S. attorney

    Staten Island stores worried about rally

    Staten Island stores worried about rally

    Friday, August 22 2014 6:34 AM EDT2014-08-22 10:34:05 GMT
    Some Staten Island business owners say they are bracing for huge crowds on Saturday during a planned march for a man killed in an apparent chokehold during his arrest by NYPD officers. The Rev. Al Sharpton said he is estimating about 3,000 to 5,000 people to rally.
    Some Staten Island business owners say they are bracing for huge crowds on Saturday during a planned march for a man killed in an apparent chokehold during his arrest by NYPD officers. The Rev. Al Sharpton said he is estimating about 3,000 to 5,000 people to rally.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices