I was getting Xolair injections once every 3 weeks at Dr. S's office. Dr. S is an allergist.
The price started out as $163. That's the price just for injecting Xolair - not for the Xolair drug itself. That's a lot. It's a little more work for the nurse than a simple injection, but not much.
But I was willing to pay $163 as a self-pay patient.
Then, without telling me they raised the price to $262 for self-pay patients. Pricing info is not available at his office. I got two Xolair injections at $262 that were in the same billing cycle before I found out about the increased price. So I was billed $198 extra.
I don't think this is fair. Three reasons:
- I should have been informed ahead of time of the price increase, especially since I get these injections repeatedly, on a schedule.
- The $262 price is far more than other allergists charge. I got quotes of $35, $115 and $179 from other local allergists. My family doctor used to give me Xolair injections for $65. And the allergist I'm currently using, includes an office visit with a PA and a brief checkup in their $115 price. Dr. S just had a nurse give me the injection.
- The allowed rate for a Xolair injection for a patient with BCBS insurance varied from $95 to $145. I know because I was briefly insured by BCBS.
So they are charging self-pay patients more than twice as much for the same service!
I repeatedly brought up the excessive charge with the doctor and told him my objections. But he didn't adjust the charge.
This seems like an unethical business practice. Perhaps not strictly illegal - but am I supposed to check the price each time before I get any service? I would be constantly bugging his billing office in that case. I didn't think they would increase the price by 60% without telling me, to much more than other doctors charge! I would like to work it out with Dr. S, since I liked his way of giving allergy shots. I complained to the BBB, maybe that will help.
Luara - sorry to hear you have to deal with this situation. Mine isn't nearly as bad financially, but the principle is equally repugnant. My doctor has a sign in his consulting rooms suggesting that anyone over 60 get a shingles shot. I asked about it, and he asked if my insurance would cover it. I checked with the insurance, and they said yes, they cover 100%. My doctor then informed me that what my insurance considered 100% in fact doesn't cover his cost, and he refused to give it to me.
That sounds like something you could complain about to your county medical association. It's unethical.
I contacted my county medical assoc. and they told me they don't get involved in fee disputes.
The BBB posts complaints online, so the complaint may be google-able and that would put some pressure on him.
What this doctor did seems unethical. His office was giving me allergy shots and Xolair shots. Allergy shots and Xolair shots shouldn't be interrupted, it will cause medical harm. It's unethical to raise the prices (at least by a lot) without notice, because it takes a few weeks to find a new doctor.
The real question in your case is...."did you have chicken pox when you were a child?" If you did not, then you are not at much of a risk because it's a retro-virus that stays in your system for life, and today's kids have been vaccinated en masse, so you are not likely to be exposed to it now.
This sounds like the "everyone needs a flu shot" craze. WHY do I need a flu shot? I rarely leave the house, I don't hang around with anyone's young children (who are most likely to pick up the latest flu at school because working parents send their sick kids to class), and so forth. I haven't had a flu shot in about 15 years, and I haven't had a single cold in all that time.
Luara's problem is more serious...and outrageous. I would complain far and wide, look for a different doctor, apply for Medicaid or some other financial help, write/e-mail her congress-critter. And that's just for starters.
If you rarely leave the house, maybe you really don't need a flu shot.
But, the recommendation for everyone to get a flu shot is very reasonable. The flu kills people, at a rate roughly similar to people dying in car accidents. It mostly kills babies and elderly people. If everyone got a flu shot, it would save a lot of lives. The flu also has a big economic impact, in sick days that working people have to take.
Also, one may be able to transmit the flu virus even without getting sick oneself. People can have subclinical infections. The reason it would save a lot of lives if everyone got a flu shot, is that being vaccinated doesn't just help prevent flu in the person vaccinated - it helps prevent flu in the people they would otherwise transmit it to.
I do get the recommended vaccinations, including flu, whooping cough, etc. etc.. It's not a big deal, the flu shot me cost $29 or so at a pharmacy.
Luara, I will be 75 in a couple of months. My mother lived to be 87 (despite having metastatic lung cancer, and other un-fun conditions) and my diabetic dad made it to 82, although his final 2 years were sheer hell for all of us, especially for him. I have NO desire to live that long - never have.
I had hoped to check out somewhen between 50 and 65, but I goofed. I'm still looking at my options, still smoking, not checking my blood sugar, and eating what I like. Nothing is working. I've thought about jumping in front of a train or something, but that's putting a lot of strangers at risk, and I can't bring myself to do that.
Pneumonia would be perfect; I've had it before, and it wasn't scary or painful. The other option is an overdose of sedatives with airtight plastic bags over my head.
Let's face it - I'm chicken.
Yes, I was thinking that not getting a flu shot might be part of being suicidal :( I'm sorry to hear that things are so unpleasant for you. You said some things about what you have to cope with every day, and even from that little window into your life, it sounds difficult.
I guess A/N is a way to escape for a bit for you, forget. Online reality doesn't have the physical issues of reality.
I know A/N is an escape from my own health difficulties :)
Yes! You said it!
I think part of the problem is that clinical depression runs in both sides of our family. My first attempt at suicide was at age 13... I haven't seriously tried it or thought about it lately, but I did drop out of the discussion about Robin Williams' suicide because it was beginning to get me started again.
About 20 years ago I had a job working for a whistling b*tch, and I was timing how fast certain trains normally moved at local street-level grade crossings. Instead, I quit the job one lunchtime, and went straight to my doctor's office. Got tons of help, and was on state disability till I was old enough to apply for Social InSecurity.
Tried to get federal disability, but I got a hyper-conservative, god-fearing judge who claimed I was faking everything, including carpal tunnel syndrome and a badly damaged neck and back....he didn't even look at my MRIs. And "awarded" me a whopping $90 a month. The minimum at that time for people whose jobs had become obsolete. Got my lower back fixed, but the neck is still a mess. I wear a MedicAlert bracelet that says in large letters, "DNR"...among other things. I don't want some half-trained clown trying to give me CPR and ending up in a wheel chair, on life support. THAT is my own idea of hell.
Having the cats helps...something furry and purry to hang onto. Pumpkin is getting old, and sleeps a lot, but still looks like an adolescent, and will sometimes play with the Red Dot. Sometimes. He much prefers chasing a Cat Dancer...best cheap cat toy ever invented!
One of my cousins, R, was the black sheep in his family - my uncle kicked him out of the house when he was 15. Very harsh.
It's a very tormented family, not as bad as mine but in its own way, very messed up. I couldn't stand my uncle, especially his leering sexual advances.
R got into a lot of car accidents, and messed up his back. So now he can travel only in a specially-equipped van.
He can walk with a cane - he joined us at a lunch and sat apparently normally during it.
He's very overweight, and it would probably help his back and help him be more mobile if he lost the weight. It's a vicious circle - disability causing weight gain causing disability.
He's also very depressed - apparently he spends a lot of his time holed up with his girlfriend.
I am so sorry that you had such a difficult childhood.
you have no idea ...
Sometimes people say they "wouldn't have survived" without something or other - some kind of support. They don't mean they would have died, so when I hear that, I wonder what they mean by "not surviving".
But there is such a thing as "not surviving", while not physically dying - where one ceases to have meaningful contact with reality. It's a dissociative way of coping with trauma. Both one of my brothers and I described our childhood that way.
It's funny, I don't think of myself as feisty. I just say what I think and try to avoid personal attack.
Most likely the abuse is a big part of the cause of my health problems.
I did inherit a tendency to allergies from my mother and a tendency to autoimmune diseases from my father. Allergies and autoimmune disease may be a bad combination, in ways that are not well understood.
But I think the abuse made it a lot worse than it would have been otherwise.
I used to go to a 12-step group for abuse survivors. It was remarkable how many people there had severe health problems. Not necessarily as young people, but later.
I have never heard of a shingles shot before now; what good is it if you had chicken pox as a kid? It's a retro-virus that stays in your system for life.