Hospital Bills for a Stereotactic Biopsy

Stuart Klein
Last Modified: November 1, 2001

Dear OncoLink "Ask the Experts,"
I was diagnosed breast cancer last month. They performed a stereotactic biopsy. The hospital told me that the procedure was a minimum of $1150.00. When I received my bill it was for $2209.00. Since I do not have any insurance, I was overwhelmed by this bill.

Is this what is a normal charge for this procedure? The doctors have recommended a mastectomy. I can't begin to wonder what the charges will be for the recommended mastectomy.

Everyone I have contacted, does not have any financial assistance for a person in my predicament. Is a person supposed to roll over and die?  
Thanks for listening.

Stuart Klein, OncoLink's Administrative Advisor, responds:

Regretfully, there is currently no "normal charge" for hospital or physician services. Since there is no uniform pricing, hospital and physician charges can vary greatly by region, and can even vary within the same region. Many hospitals and physicians are willing to work with uninsured patients by establishing long term payment plans. In addition, they may be willing to offer you a "discount" since they currently collect 100% of charges from very few insurers. A good starting point would be to negotiate a discount similar to what they would expect to receive from Medicare or Medicaid.

Identifying resources to help pay for your treatment is difficult task. We suggest that you start by contacting your local branch of the American Cancer Society. They should be able to assist you in identifying local and or national resources. Also, contact your state's office, which covers the Medical Assistance Program to determine your state's eligibility requirements. We also suggest that you contact your local, state and federal legislators' office to seek their assistance in helping you with this problem.