Will you pay extra doctor’s fees?

You may be able to avoid paying those extra baggage fees, but will you be able to escape doctor’s visit add-ons?

According to USA Today, doctors across the country are beginning to tack on extra fees for patients that they say insurance doesn’t cover. Although this group of practitioners is still in the minority, the trend is gaining steam (a la the airline price hikes) among doctors who say their costs are increasing.

More from the story:

The extra payments include no-show fees of $30-$50 for missed appointments, widely varying charges for filling out health forms for school, work or athletic teams, and annual administrative fees of $35-$120 or more to simply be a patient in some practices, medical associations and doctors say.

The rising cost of health care has also been prompting a few desperate patients to take extreme action lately.

Would you pay extra fees if your medical provider began requiring them? What if insurance companies began rolling those fees into your monthly payments?

– By Lauren Davidson, Atlanta Bargain Hunter

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17 comments Add your comment

madmommy

June 29th, 2011
8:03 am

Really? Oh really? Now they want to charge more money for things they should be doing anyway. Guess now they will be charging for a refill to be called in or if you use the restroom while there. Roll over into monthly insurance payments? That ones reaching a bit far.

So, when will clients get a discount or refund for waiting? How many times have you gone to the doctor and waited for over 30 minutes plus for an appointment that if you were just five minutes late to you would have to give up and rebook? Honestly, I don’t mind if it is a same day sick appointment for me or my daughter, but if I have had this set up for weeks and still end up waiting, or am seeing people walk in after me and going in before me, that really ticks me off.

More fee’s? Good luck with that one.

Retired Old Atlantan

June 29th, 2011
8:14 am

This is not just human doctors. Vets do it too. My son took his 8-week old puppy to an overnight emergency vet because of kennel cough. When the vet took the puppy out of her carrier, she peed on the floor. She got charged a $6 clean-up fee.

Angela

June 29th, 2011
8:40 am

My children pediatrician’s office charges a fee of $20.00 PER CHILD for “administrative fee.” The fee is for copies of shot records, etc.

mystery poster

June 29th, 2011
8:58 am

I switched dentists years ago when my dentist began to charge a sterilization fee. I guess it’s just me, but I assume that sterile instruments should be standard operating procedure.

old school doc

June 29th, 2011
9:45 am

Lawyers and other professionals charge you for their time, Why not doctors? My God I could be a millionaire if I charged for the time I have spent on a phone trying to get an authorization from a nurse in order to do a given procedure!

We are asked to do more and more, with less and less pay. The insurance folks are the fat cats, not us, especially primary care physicians. And many patients ask to have the same forms completed ( “I lost it”) repeatedly; the fees are also to induce the patient/family to hold onto the papers they were given.

Nunya Biz

June 29th, 2011
10:24 am

My doctor charges $10 if I want a hard copy of my blood test results, something I only get verbally otherwise. I wouldn’t mind a $1 printing fee, but $10 is too much for a sheet of paper.

Dee

June 29th, 2011
10:48 am

I had to pay a fee for medical disability forms to be submitted to my insurance. As if not being able to work wasn’t enough of an issue, having to PAY your doctor to provide proof is crazy to me. Especially when the nurses completed the two forms.

Samantha

June 29th, 2011
10:57 am

I’m so tired of all these doctors tacking on unnecessary fees! If my doctor ever does that I will complain to my insurance company and switch doctors! I will also blast them out via internet services that people go to to select a doctor! :)

FrugalPharmacies

June 29th, 2011
11:04 am

My guess is that the fee thing has a bit to do with getting around rules insurers put on providers. That’s why airlines call a lot of it fees. It has something to do with getting around government regulations on fares. Since the airlines don’t have to include fees for advertising rates, it makes them look less expensive.

I think people would be less annoyed by fees if they felt like they were getting something for their money rather than put a fee on something like the equipment sterilization that you can’t opt out of. For example, what if the offices offered to file with patients’ insurance for a fee. Patients would be welcome to do it themselves, but for say $1 or $2 the office would do it for you. I would pay that and understand that it reflected a service to me since I could do it myself if I really wanted to. Office staffs are expensive to docs and insurance is a pain so this is a definite value for people. I also understand fees for missed appointments.

You're Late

June 29th, 2011
12:03 pm

I’m in agreement with some of the others. If they charge a late or missed fee, they have to abide by it as well, same rules, same refund. I’ve never seen a poor, struggling, hungry Doctor.

Ed

June 29th, 2011
2:18 pm

So do these fees count towrd one’s donut hole or deductible with one’s insurer?

mystery poster

June 29th, 2011
2:32 pm

@ed
No, they do no.

mystery poster

June 29th, 2011
2:33 pm

oops, do NOT.

catlady

June 29th, 2011
6:36 pm

I support the waiting fee. If I am kept waiting more than 30 minutes past my appointment time, I should be reimbursed. My time is money, too. I don’t stay long with a doctor that does that a second time.

mystery poster

June 30th, 2011
8:20 am

@Catlady
I agree. I had a doctor once a say, “sorry for the wait, but I guess you expect that, don’t you?” I told him, “no, I don’t. I expect to be seen at my scheduled appointment time.” I never went back. Now, if I’m going to a new doctor, one of the things I ask when I make the appointment is, “does the doctor generally run on time?”

FrugalPharmacies

June 30th, 2011
11:18 pm

I don’t want my doctor to feel rushed by the threat of having to pay a fee to the next patient. I am annoyed by excessive wait times too, but it is not the deciding factor for how I choose my physicians. I would much rather have a doctor that is routinely late because of his/her compassion for the problems of other patients (and me!) than one that is on time and rushes through my appointment.

However, maybe doctors that are running late would be wise to apologize and make sure the waiting room has wi-fi, a good stack of magazines, and some things to drink. A pleasant wait would probably help as would an update or two about the expected wait times. I’ve known people have waited several hours only to be told the doctor was not available. That is unacceptable.

Zan

July 2nd, 2011
10:40 pm

Hell NO to extra fees! We need single payer..the Dr.’s in this country are spoiled..along with the insurance companies who have (anything goes attitude) when ever they want to raise their prices..where is the end to this madness? This can’t go on..the people are tapped out. In some European countries the Dr.’s only make $10,000 a year. Some social programs are good and Health-care is one of them.. There should not be a profit from people that are ill. Insurance Companies take a third of the money, they are the middle man..taking all the profit that should be going to Health-care of the people..not in CEO’S pockets and shareholders of said companies. Enough is enough and end to this Health-care profit at any cost madness..