I Got a Bill from a Pathology for $500 but They Never Told Me It's That Expensive!

Dear OzBargainers.

So my mum came to visit us from overseas. I took her to a local GP as she's been feeling a bit dizzy for a few days. The doctor has suggested us to do a blood test, which we did. The pathologist took her blood sample but didn't tell me how much is will cost. Also, there was no price list displayed in the room. A few days later, I got a bill from the pathology for $528 and my mum's private insurance won't cover it.

My question is can I refuse to pay for the bill because they have never disclosed the price to me?

Comments

  • +17 votes

    No.

    Isn't your Mum worth $528?

    • -1 vote

      Can you please expand on it a bit? Have you experienced something similar?

      • +10 votes

        On what basis do you think you can refuse to pay? Can I take an iPhone from an Apple store and refuse to pay because it was too expensive?

  • +13 votes

    Did she ask how much it would cost?

    • -9 votes

      No. She does speak English. I was there with her but I didn't ask neither as I didn't think it would cost this much.

      • +17 votes

        Well you've learnt a good lesson. You should ask next time. As for this time, you owe them. Pathology involves medically trained professionals using million dollar equipment, it ain't cheap. Medicare just make it feel cheap for locals.

      • +4 votes

        So it’s their fault is it?

        Your mum couldn’t rustle her fingers, the international symbol for how much

  • +4 votes

    WTAF?! Why didn't you ask prior to the sample/s being taken?!?!?!?!

    •  

      I have medicare and it's a bulk bill practice. I was just used to the idea that it doesn't cost much for blood test.

      • +17 votes

        That's the problem when you take things for granted. Medicare is fantastic, however if you never think about it or delve deeper into it, then you will never have any insight into just how costly healthcare is.

        We are some of the luckiest people in the world, where our government subsidies health care for us (through our taxes). Take it as a lesson learnt and pay the $528 as you have no grounds to refuse the payment.

        • +1 vote

          Yep, thumbs up for Medicare (thanks Gough, thanks Bob).

          Many of our US brothers and sisters do it tough (thanks Don, thanks Republicans).

          • +1 vote

            @Ozpit: The private health scam began in the US under Richard Nixon. In the Nixon Tapes, you can hear him marveling at the genius of premiums received -> non-payment of claims boondoggle.

            Thanks Tricky-Dicky, and may you continue to burn in hell should such a fantasy-land exist.

      • +2 votes

        I think Medicare only covers you.
        Australia is the lucky country. Singapore, Malaysia Hong Kong Taiwan wont treat you unless you have the money, foreigner or not
        I think India and China would be the same.
        A Chinese old lady visitor without medical insurance had a stroke, her costs was enormous, borne by the hospital.
        Her student son joined our Church to get funds to send her home.
        I refuse to entertain relatives or friends without medical insurance. Not fair on me and Australia.

      •  

        I have medicare and it's a bulk bill practice. I was just used to the idea that it doesn't cost much for blood test.

        It costs a lot. Medicare is very good to us and subsidises a massive amount.

        Lesson learned. Pay up.

  • +2 votes

    My question is can I refuse to pay for the bill because they have never disclosed the price to me

    If this was possible, imagine how many free services you could get, from health to tradie stuff.

  •  

    If your mum goes back overseas what are they going to do??

  • +8 votes

    Why won't your mum's private insurance cover it?

  • +1 vote

    Probably best to check why your mums private insurance won't cover it, it may be something the doctor needed to tick/didn't tick and maybe they forgot, or would be happy to 'ammend it' if they knew. You can probably contact the pathology and ask them why it cost so much and that its so expensive etc, unlikely much can happen, but maybe they can put you in a payment plan, that way you don't feel the brunt of $500 bucks in one hit, and maybe just questioning it may make someone at the pathology look if theres a way to decrease or discount a bit. Other the that, likely you'll be out by $500, probably best in future to remember to check prices before you get anything done, even health care. Is definitely a good reminder for me.

  •  

    I think this might be a case of you should have asked first, but then again I have only learned that the hard way too. What ticks me off about this, though, is that there is no assurance you would have got an answer. I've had more than one instance where they couldn't tell me the price even after spending a hell of a long time looking for it, and ringing their 'head office'.

  •  

    It is your responsibility to make sure you know the price before going ahead. Consider this an expensive lesson.

  • +4 votes

    Once upon a time We were travelling in Dubai. My wife felt ill. She visited a doctor and we paid the bill.
    I have no idea if they have a Medicare style system there. If they do I’m sure we would not be eligible. I didn’t bother asking.
    Did I mention we paid the bill?

  • +4 votes

    Who’s the pathology provider? Dorevitch always ask you to sign something and explicitly tell you before drawing blood if it’s going to incur extra fee (i.e. not covered by Medicare). Did you sign this at the pathologist?

    •  

      Some places ask for payment (or partial payment) in advance of sending results (or even taking blood).

  • +3 votes

    I’ve never seen a price list displayed in doctors rooms. Maybe except for the out of pocket fee..

    I’ve also never had a pathologist tell me the price before a blood test.

    It would be on you to flag that your mum wasn’t a citizen/PR. How is a pathologist meant to know? They are there to do their job.

    Why won’t her health insurance cover it ? Did she have travel insurance ?
    The fact is, it’s only $528. While a lot of money for some people, you didn’t get a bill for thousands like someone on here did when they called an ambulance.

    Is there a out of pocket fee + amount covered by insurance on the bill?

    I don’t think you should refuse to pay. Just pay it or ask your mum to pay and get reimbursed from her travel insurance.

  • +2 votes

    Seriously? Didn't ask for a price and then complain about the price charged?

    On what basis do you think you shouldn't pay for a service you willingly engaged?

    In all seriousness, time to become an adult and own your actions.

  •  

    Normally Private Health Insurance claim has an excess of $500 ($750 soon) so it is not worth it anyway, even if they did honour it.

  • +1 vote

    Seems an awful lot of money for a simple blood test.

  • -1 vote

    Is the real problem that you put it on your card, not hers?

  •  

    My question is can I refuse to pay for the bill because they have never disclosed the price to me?

    Overseas patients pay the full price….. Its what you get 'charged' but medicare kicks in to cover it, but your mum doesn't have that coverage.

    Pay it and move on.

  • +7 votes

    With people like your mum, the cost of the blood test is only covered by overseas visitor health insurance if they are done as a hospital inpatient, they are never covered as an outpatient.

    That is all made clear in the T&C of the policies, just like all insurance policies, the onus is on the policy holder to be aware of this when the policy is taken out.

    Drs commonly try to help the uninsured, next time tell the Dr your mum isn't insured for out patient tests, then they will order the bare minimum to be safe.

    With a symptom like dizziness there could be many causes some serious some not. The Drs don't have a clue what the cause is without having a stab in the dark and ordering dozens of tests.
    There may have only been one blood sample collected but numerous different tests performed on that sample. They usually start with the most obvious or the most serious and take it from there.
    Blood test abnormalities are indicative and steer diagnosis so they are a valuable diagnostic tool.

    That means that if the blood test results were OK it means theres probably nothing serious or anything requiring urgent treatment.
    Youre paying that $528 for that sort of piece of mind. Equally had she had a serious cause of her symptoms and it was identified $528 could've saved her life.

    Youve got to cough up the cash.
    Like everyone else is implying, we are very lucky to live in a country with one of the best healthcare systems in the world, its just not free to non residents.

  • -1 vote

    This happened to me too. Frankly I would ignore all of the negative comments here. If Medicare is not going to cover the blood tests they should be telling you ahead of time right down to the dollars and cents how much it will cost you before they draw blood. That doesnt mean they actually will though. Thank God mine wasn't as expensive as yours!

  •  

    First of all, I hope your mum is ok and the blood test results were good.

    We are lucky here in Australia that visitor or not, we get treated first before they even ask if we can pay not. In my country of origin, even if it's life threathening, they won't admit/treat you unless you have cash deposit or insurance with you.

    Please pay the bill and move on.

  • +1 vote

    Blood test are always expensive and most of gp will let you know before hand how much you might be out of pocket. Your mum must have been really sick for the gp asking her to get a blood test without asking her if she could afford it or not. You can choose to not pay it but then you might have to considerate the fact that it will your mum last trip here as she might be flagged by immigration later on. Most of pathology center will accept to ever give you a delay for paying or that you pay in bits by bits. You just need to call them. Wish your mum a speedy recovery.

    • +1 vote

      Ive nere had a g.p. tell me the costs of a procedure and Ive never heard of anyone who has

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